Tim Thomas Leaves Practice, Markstrom Called Up


Dec 10, 2013; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas (34) blocks a shot by Detroit Red Wings left wing Tomas Tatar (21) as Panthers defenseman Mike Weaver (43) defends in the third period at BB&T Center. Robert Mayer USA TODAY Sports

Tim Thomas left Florida Panthers’ practice yesterday with an injury. The severity of the injury is unknown but just to be safe, the Panthers recalled Jacob Markstrom from AHL San Antonio.

Thomas, who returned to the NHL this year after sitting out last season, has been essential to any Panthers’ successes this season having been in net for nine of the teams 10 wins. Thomas, 39, has already suffered through two minor injuries this season but has looked pretty healthy recently starting 15 of the Panthers last 16 games.

We will forward any updates on Thomas’ status when we hear them but for now it looks like he will not be in net when the Panthers take on the Washington Capitals tonight. With Thomas out, the starting job will go to either Scott Clemmensen or  Markstrom. Markstrom received most of the time during Thomas’ previous injuries but struggled to a 1-5-3 record. He has a 3.36 GAA and a .877 Sv% in 11 NHL games so far this season.

The Panthers sent Markstrom to the AHL in November after Thomas returned from his second injury stint. With the Rampage, Markstrom, 23, has complied a 4-5-1 record, a .924 Sv % and a 2.46 GAA.

With Markstrom going up to the Panthers, San Antonio has called up Michael Houser, 21, from ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones. At the moment, Houser is the only goalie on the Rampage roster as San Antonio announced this morning the trade of Dov Grumet-Morris to the Hartford Wolf Pack in exchange for future considerations. Morris, 31, has spent the last three seasons between the pipes with the Rampage.


Attendance Numbers Down

According to James Mirtle, attendance numbers throughout the NHL are down an average of 3%. Attendance in Florida is down 18.3%.

The comparison between this season and last year’s lockout shortened season may explain some of the big decreases but regardless, an 18.3% dip in attendance is not a good sign. Last years numbers benefited from fewer games and early season playoff expectations for the Panthers while this season has been full of moments that make fans think twice about coming to the stadium. Things like failing to re-sign Weiss, a quiet off-season, an ownership change, a coaching change, and the Versteeg trade, all paint a picture of an organization in transition. Florida fans are a fickle bunch, and when it is 80 degrees everyday the prospect of going to a cold hockey arena to watch a rebuilding franchise is not all that enticing.

Canucks Ugly Sweater Perfection

The Vancouver Canucks wore some ugly Christmas sweaters in the name of charity and as you would expect, the results were pure gold. Check ’em out over at Puck Daddy.

Stephen Weiss Tribute

Here is the Stephen Weiss tribute video that was played the other night during the Panthers-Red Wings game.