Saturday, July 30, 2011

Florida Panthers Preseason Schedule

Sept 19th is not that far away...(click for larger view)

A Look Back at Some Goalie Love

Those of you who have followed me for a while know at least one thing about me...I love "goalie love." That awesome moment after your team has won the game, and everyone goes out to congratulate your goalie...they show him some love! And the best part of that scene? When the non-starting goalie congratulates the winning goalie...that's the stuff I live for. It was so much fun seeing that between José and Backs this past season, and I did my best to capture the love by screen capturing those moments.

So today I was trying to clean out our DVR. I have too many hockey games saved on there. I have to get them cleaned out before the new season starts. I miss the days of VCRs when you could save the VHS tapes FOREVER! This DVR business...I can only keep so much, and it's annoying to have that stuff kept in there. Progress...grrrr. ;o)

So I watched the January 25th game when the Wild beat Chicago. Backs played the game, and there were no shots of José even on the bench. Until goalie love. And for some reason, I hadn't screen captured that moment (probably because I couldn't watch the game online live on NHL Gamecenter Live, because of the Chicago blackout. And it would've been 48 hours before I could watch it, so I bet I just got busy with other games and didn't go back to the love.) So I did today, and here it is. Enjoy this during this long off-season!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Such a Happy Photo (and a few others too)

This was a pleasant find much happy in this photo set!

Inside the inset photo is Stephanie's sister, Veronique, and her husband Louis. Then that's Stephanie getting a big hug from someone. Must've been a happy moment at a Habs game.

And I realize this is a blog about José, but Stephanie is certainly a big part of his life. And I thought these were cute pictures of Veronique and Stephanie (they were on Vero's Facebook page.)

Stephanie is in the middle and Veronique on the right.

I think she said these two were from 1986.

And then here's one with Veronique and Sebastien Benoit from Aug 2002. I know Sebastien had a TV show...maybe Veronique was on the show with him? José made more than one appearance with him (see bottom photo.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Florida Panthers' José Theodore Wants to be Starter Again

From the Miami Herald

By George Richards

After a frustrating season as a backup for Minnesota, Jose Theodore hopes to be the No. 1 goaltender for the Panthers, his new team.

When Tomas Vokoun turned down the Panthers’ final contract offer June 30, the team made it clear they would be moving on.

Vokoun spent four seasons as the starting goalie after Jacques Martin made a draft-day trade in 2007 with Nashville. Vokoun was Florida’s first option for next season, with a three-year deal having been offered. When he turned that down, the Panthers kept their word. One of the first players Florida signed when the free agency market opened July 1 was veteran netminder Jose Theodore.

When training camp opens in September, Theodore will come in as the starter. It’s his job to lose.

“I was put in a role last year that I don’t think I should have been in,’’ said Theodore, who will compete with Scott Clemmensen and possibly Jacob Markstrom. Theodore was a backup in Minnesota last season. “I accepted the role because I am a good teammate.

“But last year I could have played 50-55 games. I want to return to playing at a high level. I’m just going to do my stuff, do my thing. If you want to play, you have to be the best guy. If Scott Clemmensen outplays me, I expect him to play. If I play better, I expect to play.’’

Vokoun left the Panthers expecting to find riches somewhere else. When the free agency period opened, Vokoun was the second-rated available player by Canada’s TSN. It was thought if he didn’t end up with the Panthers — and once Theodore was signed, that was over — he would get a big contract with Colorado or Phoenix.

But Colorado made a big trade with Washington and secured Semyon Varlamov, and Phoenix signed former Tampa Bay starter Mike Smith.

The market for Vokoun quickly dried up. Instead of waiting around, Vokoun signed a one-year deal July 2 with the Capitals for $1.5 million. Now that things have settled, this might turn out to be a great move for Vokoun. Yes, he lost out on short-term money and he only has a one-year contract. But, with the Capitals, Vokoun gets to play for a winning team, one some believe is poised to make a run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Similar anxiety
Theodore knows what Vokoun was going through in the first couple of days of being a free agent — because he went through a similar situation just last year. A free agent after not re-signing with Washington, Theodore found himself with no job. Unlike Vokoun, the wait was long.

When Theodore finally found a team, it was just before the season started. The Wild needed a backup for Niklas Backstrom after Josh Harding hurt his knee and was lost for the season. Theodore, who was 30-7-7 for the Capitals the season before, had to wait until the last minute to get a job.

“After the last year I had in Washington, I really thought on July 1 I would have a lot of calls to be a No. 1 goalie,’’ said Theodore, who will be 35 by opening night. “It didn’t happen. This year I had plenty of options. It’s just key to sign July 1. You can get everything out of the way and then you can start training again and turn the focus toward the season.’’

Theodore played out his year with the Wild last season, winning 15 of the 32 games he appeared in. Theodore’s play in Minnesota was enough for the Panthers to decide on bringing him in. Theodore was given a two-year deal worth $3 million.

The Panthers said they are fine with Theodore and Clemmensen as their likely tandem moving forward. Goalie coach Robb Tallas said he was watched plenty of tape of Theodore’s past few seasons and believes he still has plenty remaining.

Benefit of a duel
Theodore and Clemmensen both agree that competition is good and should keep both goalies sharp. Even though Vokoun was challenged by Craig Anderson and Clemmensen during his time with the Panthers, he never really felt his job was in danger — mostly because of the large salary he drew.

Florida’s current situation is different, however, as either goalie could be called upon to start. And Markstrom, 21, is a wild card. Markstrom was recently at Florida’s prospect development camp, although he didn’t participate as he continues to rehab a knee injury sustained last season.

Markstrom, a second-round pick by the Panthers in 2008, is Florida’s goalie-in-waiting. After a slow start in the minors last season, Markstrom was playing strong before injuring the meniscus in his knee. He will be at training camp this year, as well. As he said, he’s not coming to work on his tan.

“I’m a lot more confident on and off the ice,’’ Markstrom said. “I know what’s waiting for me here. Last year, everything was new. I feel a lot better being around here now.’’

Last Man Standing: How Will the Florida Panthers' Netminders Fare?

This was posted on The Litter Box at SB Nation.

by Ryan Meier on July 17, 2011

Perhaps one of the biggest stories this offseason for the Florida Panthers is the loss of Tomas Vokoun, who has departed for greener and likely playoff-bound pastures after signing with the Washington Capitals. As Panther fans and those around the league know, Vokoun was perennially a top-ten goalie, capable of stealing games for a team that really had no business winning on a regular basis. His numbers were often impressive despite the roster in front of him: since joining the Panthers in 2007, Vokoun averaged a .923 save percentage, a 2.57 GAA and almost six shutouts per season. Let us not forget too that he saw a lot more rubber than most netminders, as the Panthers have led the league in shots against two out of the last four seasons. There's no question that Vokoun earned his money in his time as a Panther, and it was a shame he wasn't rewarded with a playoff berth for all his hard work.

Alas, "Vokie" is gone, and a new crop of goalies have stepped forward to carry the torch into the 2011-2012 NHL season. We're all familiar with Scott Clemmensen, who played in relief of Vokoun over the last two seasons, albeit in limited time as Vokoun received majority of the starts. The other major player is Jose Theodore, one of the big free agency signings by Dale Tallon and Mike Santos on July 1. A former Hart and Vezina winner, Theodore has seen better days as an NHL starter, but has still posted some very solid numbers during his tours in Washington and Minnesota. Tallon and company likely brought Theodore on board as the primary starter, but Clemmensen has shown some real flashes of brilliance in his short NHL stint, and will likely compete hard for a chance at the starting gig.
The real question is: Which one will be "The Man" in Florida?

Experience: Theodore has started almost five times as many NHL games as Clemmensen, and is almost a year older. He's got a lot more wear on the tires, as majority of Clemmensen's career has been as a backup. Theodore has shown he has the skills and tenacity to handle a full workload, as he has started over 50 games in a season six different times in his career. Logic would lend itself to Theodore getting the nod as the go-to guy then, as he has proven in his career he can handle the load. It's very likely head coach Kevin Dineen will choose to rest Theodore as he sees fit, and with a vastly improved Panther defensive corps and a new puck possession-oriented system being set into place, the number of shots against will most likely be down from last season. I would expect Theodore to get the majority of the starts, but knowing the wear and tear, he should again see around 50-55 starts this season.

Stats: Comparatively, Clemmensen and Theodore are not too far apart, aside from the larger sample size of games Theodore has started in the NHL. Both have a career .909 save percentage, down from Vokoun's .915 career average. Theodore has a lifetime 2.69 GAA; Clemmensen a 2.66. What's important to note is the statistical analysis related to the teams they've both played on. Theodore faced significantly more shots during his earlier seasons in Montreal and later in Washington, playing behind more offensively-oriented teams, while Clemmensen, playing in relief of an injured Martin Brodeur, played behind one of the best defensive teams in the league during the season where he turned heads with his solid play off the bench. In the end, statistics won't tell us too much here, except for the fact that Theodore has had a lot more experience as a starter (read: proven), and on teams that were less defensively-oriented than the New Jersey Devils.

Playoffs: There's absolutely no question who has this category in their favor: Theodore has started 51 NHL playoff games. That being said, he's only won 19 of them. There's a bit of a perception that Theodore tends to lose his composure in the playoffs, and that was obvious during his time as a Capital, where he was yanked from two straight postseason series in favor of youngster Semyon Varlamov. However, anyone who watched those games knows that Theodore was not the only one in a Caps jersey at fault. Conversely, Clemmensen has played (not started) in a single NHL playoff game as a member of the Devils, and obviously hasn't had a whiff of the postseason since he left New Jersey. Pretty safe to assume that if the Panthers make it that far this coming season, Theodore will be the man in the cage for the Cats.

Shootouts: As we all know, the difference between a playoff spot and a tee time can come down to a single point, and so shootouts are a very, very important category. Both goalies have similar numbers. Over the last three seasons, Theodore has posted an 8-7 record, while Clemmensen has posted a 6-5 record. However, it's worth noting that Theodore had guys like Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom in his shootout lineup, while Clemmensen was looking at a supporting cast featuring Rostislav Olesz, Cory Stillman and David Booth. Little bit of a difference, no?
Intangibles: Theodore has shown a lot of resiliency the last several years, dealing with the passing of a child off the ice, and his new role as a backup/mentor on the ice. As hard as all of those issues have been, he has still acted professionally in each organization he's been a part of, and posted solid numbers to boot. He'll have a chance in Florida to step back into a featured role and be a leader on a team that is still coming to terms with its new identity and character. Clemmesen has been here for several seasons now and, in the final year of his current contract, will be playing not only for a chance to be a starter this season, but a chance to continue his career in the NHL, possibly even with another team. There's no question Clemmensen has had to work hard to earn what he's gotten in his career, and that will have to continue into this season if he's going to have a shot at the starting role in net.

One of these guys has won a Hart and Vezina. The other has been mostly a career backup. Should that matter? Not in the slightest. There will be a solid battle in camp this season between these two, and no matter what happens in camp, Dineen will ride the hot hand throughout the season, resting them only when necessary. Still, there's a lot in favor of Theodore being the main netminder throughout the season, and if he is able to have a renaissance season in South Florida, the Panthers and their fans will be able to quickly forget Vokoun and hope for an end to the postseason drought.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Another Article About José and His Signing

Been There, Done That: The Jose Theodore Saga
By Bill Whitehead

Newly acquired Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore knows all too well about the current goalie market. It’s about as kind to money-seeking netminders as a Steven Stamkos one-timer on the power play. He also considers himself lucky to be a Panther, knows what former teammate Tomas Vokoun is going through and understands his role.

“What I’ve been looking for is consistency, and I’ve had it the last few years,” Theodore said last Friday at BankAtlantic Center. “The last two years in Washington we had a great team. My last year in Washington I felt really confident.”

Theodore, now 34, expected to cash in on a big payday after going 30-7-7 for the President’s Trophy-winning Capitals in that final season in DC. He ended the regular season strong, posting a 20-0-4 mark, but he was pulled in Game 2 and never returned as the Caps were upset by Montreal.

Surely the body of work he authored in the regular season would outweigh the quick, disappointing postseason showing and guarantee him a hefty contract, right?

“I thought when July 1 came I’d get offers as a No. 1 guy, but you could see the way the market was going,” said Theodore, who signed with Minnesota last season to back up starter Niklas Backstrom. “Sometimes the offers are not coming. Last year was a great opportunity for me to show people that you can put me on any team and I can do my job. I finished with a winning record (15-11-3). I just want to show people what I’m capable of doing.”

The goaltender market did change for the financial betterment of one player, former Phoenix Coyote Ilya Bryzgalov. The Philadelphia Flyers, plagued for years by schizophrenic play in net, signed the 31-year-old Russian to a nine-year, $51 million deal. Writer Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News reported last week that the Flyers began floating goalie Sergei Bobrovsky out on the market after signing Bryzgalov, but there were no bites. A similar situation faced Vokoun, whom Theodore played with in 1996 in Montreal and Fredericton of the AHL.

“You could see what happened to Vokoun,” Theodore said. “My take is what happened to him right before. If you get available on July 1 as a No. 1 goalie, you’re looking for No. 1 goalie money, just like I was when I had 30 wins and seven losses. Then the teams start signing guys at $1.5 (million), 1.2, 1.6, and the next thing you know there’s no opening.

“From what I could see, after July 1 I was just wondering where would Tomas go. Philly had Bryz. All the teams where he had a chance to go — Denver, Phoenix — they all signed goalies. So you’re like, ‘Well, he’s a great goalie, really a top goalie, but if there’s no room there’s no room.’ I was kind of surprised. It just seems like now a lot of guys are getting signed for 1.5 or 1.7.”

When faced with his second July 1 free agent decision almost two weeks ago, Theodore didn’t hesitate. The 2002 Hart and Vezina trophies winner said he wanted to play in Florida, where his parents vacationed in nearby Boca Raton, and contacted his agent about the possibility of playing in Sunrise.

“When July 1 comes, a lot of times it’s a gamble,” he said. “You have a quick call and it’s like take it or leave it now or they’re going to sign another guy. You can’t wait for the next offer. I know for myself that when Florida called, that was my No. 1 choice. That’s the truth. I told my agent, ‘If you can make something happen with Florida, forget the rest.’ It was my No. 1 choice.”

Ultimately, Theodore said he expects to play well, and his numbers over the past four years in the NHL have been strong — 105-56-15. Also, he realizes his mentor’s role with young Swedish goalie Jacob Markstrom, the Panthers’ highly touted phenom who is recovering from a knee injury.

“Markstrom’s a top prospect. And like I did with (Semyon) Varlamov and (Michal) Neuvirth in Washington, I’m a team guy at the end of the day. And if I can help these kids out to have a good career and show them a trick here and there, I really enjoy that part of the game now at that point in my career. I’m looking forward to meeting him and just trying to help him the best I can. If he can be dominating for the next 10 or years, perfect. I’m looking forward to meeting the kid.”

If a Florida fan were arguing as to who might be the most important piece of the possible/potential postseason puzzle that GM Dale Tallon has been assembling, a convincing discussion might center around the Laval, Quebec, native and his right-handed catching success between the pipes. Without it, Florida likely won’t get very far. With it, the Panthers could be playing meaningful games in late March and maybe in April, too.

But for right now, let Jose Theodore enjoy the moment. He’s just happy to be here.

By Bill Whitehead
NHLHS Florida Panthers Credentialed Correspondent
Twitter: @BillWhiteheadFL

Monday, July 11, 2011

More Interview Video

Another bit of José interview showed up over at GrowlTV (that's what the video channel is called at the Panthers' website.)

My favorite part was when he was asked the difference between Scott Clemmensen and him:
A big, big difference between me and Scott…I’m far from a Jimmy Buffet fan! I used to skateboard a lot when I was young, so I really like hard music, punk music, and heavy metal music. So it’s far from Margaritaville.

And his smiles when talking about it were just adorable!!

José with Guillaume Latendresse

Guillaume Latendresse (formerly with the Montreal Canadiens and currently with the Minnesota Wild) has an annual golf tournament in the Montreal area. This article showed up online, and in the photo it seems José is autographing some items for the auction portion of Gui's tourney.

Thanks to Joanne for this translation:
“They don’t play for the Canadiens anymore… But they did wear the Red-White-Blue jersey for many months! José Théodore signed a piece of equipment for Guillaume Latendresse yesterday afternoon in Brossard. Has Gui-Gui-Gui become a true fan of Théo? No! Latendresse is organizing a golf tournament for today in Longueil. Like usual, there will be an auction where they will sell souvenirs and autographs.”

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Text of Interview Posted Earlier

This seems to be the text of one of the interviews done with José after the press conference. Here's the link to the video that shows two of these questions.

This interview was done by Josh Luecht over at The Rat Trick:

Talking With Jose Theodore About Joining The Panthers

Jose Theodore was drafted 44th overall by the Montreal Canadians in 1994, Theodore played eight seasons in Montreal, where he won the Vezina and Hart trophies, both in 2002. In 2006, he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche, where he played two full seasons. Internationally, Theodore has won a gold with Team Canada at the 1996 World Junior Championships, winning the tournament’s Best Goaltender award. He also started for Team Canada at the 2001 World Championships and was a backup for the 2004 World Cup.

The Florida Panthers signed him to a two year deal worth 3 million dollars on July 1st, bringing him in to be the starting goalie for the Panthers.

On Friday I got a chance to chat with Jose and talk a little about his journey to South Florida.

Josh: What’s it like taking over the net for Vokoun, kind of switching roles as he goes to one of your former teams in Washington and how is your goalie style going to help this club?

Jose Theodore: As a goalie what you want to bring is a lot of saves and you want to win games. It’s not an easy position, but the last three or four years my level of play has been pretty high. Washington had a good team, but it didn’t work out as anticipated, but last year in Minnesota was a good stepping stone for me to show people that I can play lots of games and be consistent. I know it’s not going to be easy, and what I learned most last year is that I have to earn my ice time. I’m sure Scott Clemmensen wants to play as much as I do, but I’m 35 and I can still contribute, I want to win, and I want to play. And show you what I’m capable of.

Josh: Are you ready to play, are you healthy, ready to put up some good numbers?

Jose Theodore: I haven’t missed too many games in my career due to injury, I only average maybe 4-5 games per years that I’m out injured, so “knock on wood” my body is pretty good. My last year in Washington I finished 31-7 which are pretty decent numbers. I really thought, after that season in Washington, come July 1st I would have plenty of offers, but as you can see the market is just not there, just like this week with Tomas Vokoun, sometimes the offers are not coming. This last year I showed people I’m capable of winning. I’m excited, and I feel like with this group of guys we are going to be a really good team and going to have success here in Florida.

Josh: Are you going to wear number 60?

Jose Theodore: You know my first NHL game when I was 20 years old I wore 37 because they called me up from the juniors, but after that in my first season as a pro I wore 60, and still wear 60. It fits good, feels good and I’m gonna keep it here.

Josh: Have you heard much about Jacob Markstrom? He was drafted high for this organization. Are you looking forward to having a mentor relationship with him? Help him develop his game either this season or next season?

Jose Theodore: I’ve been helped when I was the upcoming guy, when I was in Montrael, by Jeff Hackett and others along the way. I know Jacob is a top prospect, and just like I did with Varlamov and Neuvirth in Washington I will help these kids out if I can. I’m a team guy and if I can teach them little things and show them tricks and help them with that, that’s great, I’m at that point in my career. I’m looking forward to meeting him and helping him if I can. I appreciate this organization very much and if I can contribute, helping him dominate for this franchise for the next 10-15 years that would be great.

Thanks for talking to me, Jose!
…and thanks for reading!

You can follow me on Twitter @joshluecht and the rest of the Rat Pack…Frank Rekas@TheRatTrick and David Lasseter @davidlasseter.

Another Interview with José from "Press Conference Day"

I don't know who was conducting this interview, but the questions were a little awkward. But José was professional and smooth as always. And I know Florida is the Sunshine State, but the sun in the background really messed up the possibility of getting good screen captures! ;o)

Friday, July 8, 2011

And Another Interview!

Poor guy looks tired. But oh so handsome. And I'd like to point out that the report from right after he signed that said he already had a house in Florida was not true. He addresses that here. His parents have a house there where they spend the winters. In fact, he said he has fond memories of playing against the Panthers, because his parents would usually come to the games. But José himself does not have a house there yet. He said they are looking into that.

More photos from today

Here are a few more screen captures and photos. Sorry if I duplicate, I'm getting confused what I've posted where already. This is from the NHL video, and they ask him one question.

This was his question and answer:
Question: Mr. Theodore, you’re coming here to south Florida to take over the net that Vokoun gave up. Can you tell us a little bit about what attracted you to south Florida?

Theodore: Everybody’s been saying - I saw that the direction the team was taking was a big step forward and I really believe that with the signings and where the team was with a place on when to play, it’s a place I think I’m going to have a chance to play. It’s just up to me to live up to the way I expect myself to play. It’s always fun to be a part of something new and with so many new players, it’s definitely something new .We’re all looking forward to gelling together and having fun and winning.

Interviews with José

Talking about his durability (I like how he says, "My body's pretty good." Haha...probably not what I mean when I say that. Tee hee.)

Talking about Florida goalie prospect (MUCH talked about) Jacob Markstrom:

Better photos of the New Panthers

Matt Bradley, Scottie Upshall, José, Brian Campbell, Ed Jovanovski, Tomas Kopecky, Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg, and Nolan Yonkman.

I'm so pleased he'll be able to keep #60 through his whole NHL career.

And with the team brass.

Video of the New Panthers Being Introduced

This video might be better quality (official NHL video.)

Press Conference Introducing the New Panthers

They haven't come out with many photos yet. And these look to be from a cell phone. I'm sure there will be more and clearer ones later. But I have to go to the doctor. Will update when I can.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Florida Panthers Press Conference Tomorrow

I learned on twitter that there will be a Florida Panthers press conference held tomorrow, beginning at 11:00 am to welcome their new players. I asked if José would be there, and the writer for the Miami Herald said he thought he would be. We might actually get to see him presented with his Panthers jersey!!! So excited! We were robbed of that opportunity with Minnesota because he was signed so late. :(

I know José was still in Montreal today and visited the Habs Development Camp.
I guess he knows he can't go anywhere in Montreal without someone tweeting it. Three different people tweeted they saw him at a Weezer concert on Monday night. Two different people tweeted they saw him at restaurants. I'd say he'll have a little more anonymity in Florida.

George Richards said the press conference would begin around 11:00 and it should be online (at the Panthers website?) by 4:00. I'll keep my eyes out, although I'll be out of town for the morning and early afternoon.

Anyway, here were the tweets from tonight:

I asked him if he thought José would be there. His response:

Then another tweeter mentioned the press conference.

Hearing from José's Goalie Partner in Florida, Scott Clemmensen

Sounds like Clemmensen has a good outlook on the situation, and hopefully there won't be any tension about who starts, etc. We know José doesn't cause waves, and it seems Scott doesn't either.

Florida Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen embraces change

Scott Clemmensen, one of the few holdovers from last season’s team, is eager to meet new teammates, including goalie Jose Theodore.


Scott Clemmensen did not hear about all the new teammates he will have this season until late Friday night.

It’s not that the Panthers goalie did not care about the many moves his team made. Clemmensen was on Florida’s Gulf Coast, soaking in a little vacation time before he and his wife Vanessa welcome their second child in the coming weeks.

As excited Clemmensen is about the new addition to his family, it seems like he is just as ready to get to know all the Panthers’ new additions.

“No doubt, the team is going to have a completely different complexion,” Clemmensen said, referring to the Panthers adding players through signings or trades since June 24.

“The entire team feels new. We have a new coach, a majority of the players are new. It’s going to feel like a whole new organization come training camp. I’m excited about it, excited about getting the season going. We have a new team, new players. It’s an exciting time.”

Of course, one of those new players is a goaltender.

Veteran Jose Theodore was signed as a free agent after Tomas Vokoun — whom Clemmensen had backed up the past two seasons — tested the free agent market.

Vokoun’s signing with Southeast Division rival Washington has many wondering who will start for the Panthers. Theodore, who signed a two-year deal worth $3 million, is expected to have the upper hand on the competition when training camp opens.

Clemmensen is fine with that. A career backup who spent eight seasons shuttling between the NHL and the minor leagues, Clemmensen refuses to shy away from competition.

“Even though I have a new goalie partner, I’m looking at this as I have in years past,” said Clemmensen, who has appeared in 54 games with the Panthers during the past two seasons. “I’m preparing to play, be it every game or every other. I’ve been around the block a few times. I know how quickly things change — both good and bad. All you can do as a player is prepare yourself. When you get the chance to play, take advantage. Play the best you can.

“There are no guarantees thrown my way. Never have been. I just want a chance. I’m a guy who has had to battle, scratch and claw to get into the league. I wasn’t a first-round pick, haven’t been handed anything on a silver platter. I’ve had to work for everything I’ve gotten. That won’t change.”

Theodore was signed with the thought he would be the starter, but Florida would be fine with Clemmensen if he plays well in training camp and the season.

Even though this is mostly a new team, Panthers management and the team’s fans know Clemmensen. After a rough start during the 2009-10 season, Clemmensen finished strong.

Because he is a free agent next summer, Clemmensen is expected to have a strong camp and push Theodore for playing time. The Panthers are banking on it.

Clemmensen, 33, is one of a handful of holdovers. Clemmensen, Stephen Weiss, David Booth, Keaton Ellerby and Dmitry Kulikov are the Florida veterans now, the only regulars who have been with the team more than a season.

Two years ago, the Panthers finished last in their division for the first time in franchise history. Last year, the team sunk to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Clemmensen said although that was painful to be a part of, fortunes appear to be changing rapidly.

“All of the players on the team were frustrated because of our win-loss record and the way the last few years have transpired,” Clemmensen said. “You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t frustrated. It was felt throughout. I think that frustration level is normal. But with [general manager] Dale Tallon and [assistant GM] Mike Santos here, there’s a fresh outlook. Almost everyone is now detached from past struggles that have plagued this team. There is a separation from the past 10 years.

“The Panthers are moving forward, starting from management on down. There are so many new faces. It’s a good thing.’’

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Look at How Things Worked out for Goalies in Free Agency

This article at discusses the goalie signings after free agency began. I'll post the parts about José and you can make the jump to read about all the rest.

Three right-handed catching goalies also obtained quality opportunities. Josh Harding, Mathieu Garon, and José Theodore all signed low-salary deals right out of the gate Friday afternoon.


The other big winner to obtain a potential starting gig was Theodore. Although he's certainly capable of handling that role in Florida, he also struck gold in the sense that the Panthers spent millions of dollars to improve their defense.

Playing behind the newly acquired duo of Brian Campbell and Ed Jovanovski certainly will make Theodore's life a lot easier. For Florida, they should benefit from completely reversing their goaltending situation, as they go from a costly workhorse in Vokoun to a cost-efficient and experienced tandem in Theodore and Scott Clemmensen.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

José's Contract has a NTC

I didn't realize until today that José's contract with the Panthers has a No Trade Clause. Excellent.

Thought it was Time for a New Look

New look to the blog. Even though I like the "library look", it doesn't really suit a hockey player blog, so this is more plain and suitable I think. Does anyone see any problems with it?

The only thing I'm not sure about is if I like the dark background. I'm afraid it might make it harder for some people to read. Let me know if it's not easy for you to read.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Panthers GM Tallon on Changing Goalies

For some reason I can't get this to embed, so I'll just post the link.

Part of José's RDS Interview

Thanks to fellow José fan, Joanne for providing me with part of José's interview on RDS. It was in French, so she translated for me:

"I'm really happy and it's fun when it happens before July 1st because it gives more time to organize everything with the family.

It's weird sometimes what happens in the NHL. Last summer, I thought I would get a number one spot pretty easily because I had a great season with the Caps. In the end, I didn't get many calls and I only signed with the Wild in October. This season, my role was more erased and I wasn't expecting such great interest from teams during free agency.

The Panthers were my number one spot because I wanted the chance to play more and it's more pleasant for my family.

I never accept a number two position, no matter what, although I am realistic. My goal is to be number one and I think I am still capable of it, without playing 60 to 70 games like before. I find this opportunity great!"

Audio Interview from Hockey Night in Canada Radio

Thanks so much to exitghost (longtime José fan and owner/operator of the José Theodore Fan Listing) for providing me with this link! I knew he was interviewed there but couldn't find it...

I'll transcribe this one later as well, but I found it interesting that he says his parents and Stephanie's parents all winter in Florida. We now know he wants to retire there and family is important to him, so it all fits together. Makes me even happier for him.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Portion of Russo's Blog About José

From Mike Russo's blog tonight:

Theodore was great talking about Harding as you can see in the main story, but he loved his one year in Minnesota. After not signing until Oct. 1 a year ago despite a successful regular season in Washington, Theodore wasn't messing around this time.

He knows how easy it is to get shut out of the NHL as a goalie. Only 60 jobs, and a few openings. So when six calls came from teams early Friday, he pounced. In January, before his shutout against Pittsburgh, Theodore called me over for a long conversation about Florida. He asked me about the neighborhoods in Boca Raton -- my hometown -- and every single detail about the organization.

You could see the wheels were churning in his head. He wanted to still be a No. 1 and he knew Tomas Vokoun may very well be gone. So that's why I had been predicting for some time Theodore to Florida. It was "tops on my list, so when they called, it happened quick. It was an easy decision.

"I think it'll be pretty easy to adjust to going to practice in shorts in December. Enjoy your fur coats and parkas," he said with a laugh.

Then here was the bit more in his main story he  mentioned:

So the Wild jumped on Harding before free agency began, and Theodore became the first Wild free agent to sign elsewhere. Theodore, who plans to retire in Boca Raton, Fla., signed a two-year, $3 million deal with the Panthers -- a team he had been eyeing since January.

He was ecstatic for Harding, saying: "Hards had probably the worst injury a goalie could get at the worst timing. I feel he would have played, this year he probably would be a No. 1 somewhere. Now he'll come back strong. It's a great signing for Minnesota, especially at that money. It's a great bargain.

José Had 6 Teams Call Him

The New Florida Panthers (So Far)

Florida was BUSY today, on this first day of free agency. And I hear they aren't quite done yet. But here's the list of players they signed today:


Opening night age: 32
Hometown: Strathroy, Ontario
Contract: Five years, $35.7 million
NHL experience: 10 seasons

Opening night age: 27
Hometown: Koprivinice, Czech Republic
Contract: Four years, $18 million
NHL experience: Six seasons

Opening night age: 27
Hometown: Calw, Germany
Contract: Three years, $5.1 million
NHL experience: Six seasons

Opening night age: 29
Hometown: Ilava, Slovakia
Contract: Four years, $12 million
NHL experience: Five seasons

Opening night age: 35
Hometown: Windsor, Ontario
Contract: Four years, $16.5 million
NHL experience: 15 seasons

Opening night age: 35
Hometown: Laval, Quebec
Contract: Two years, $3 million
NHL experience: 14 seasons

Opening night age: 28
Hometown: Fort McMurray, Alberta
Contract: Four years, $14 million
NHL experience: Eight seasons

Opening night age: 25
Hometown: Lethbridge, Alberta
Contract: One year, $3.1 million (restricted free agent after 2011-12)
NHL experience: Four seasons

Opening night age: 30
Hometown: Punnichy, Saskatchewan
Contract: N/A
NHL experience: Two seasons

Audio of José Saying Good-bye to Minnesota

The Pondcast folks talked to José on the phone after he signed with Florida.

I'll finish the transcript of it tonight, when I'm not at work. ;o) At the end it sounds like his daughter in the background. Made me go :D

Kevin Falness: José, congratulations, man.  This is great to see. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

José: Yeah, thanks. I'm obviously excited. Last year it took a lot more time to get a deal done. But this year it seemed like a lot of teams were interested, so it's fun to see that people around the league saw last season, and I was able to sign the deal in a nice city, a good organization.

Miami Herald Article about José Signing

For those interested, @onfrozenpond is the Panthers' beat writer on Twitter (George Richards.) (And I already tweeted him that he put the wrong pronunciation of Theodore. Dear God, here we go again.)
Here's his first article about José

The Tomas Vokoun Era Ends: Florida Panthers Sign Jose Theodore

Tomas Vokoun opted for free agency on Friday at noon and the Panthers quickly pounced on a replacement.

Jose Theodore, who went 15-11-3 with the Wild last season, signed a two-year deal worth $1.5 million per season.

With this goalie tandem, the Panthers are going cheap in net.

Theodore -- he pronunces his name Joe-Zay Tee-o-dore -- and Scott Clemmensen will make $3 million between them next season. Clemmensen's cap hit is $1.2 million, but he'll be paid $1.5 million.
Tomas Vokoun made $5.7 million last year all by himself.

Theodore spent nine seasons with the Montreal Canadiens before going to Colorado. Theodore also was with division rival Washington for two seasons before going to the Wild last year.

He's definetely been around.

More as we go.

Article from the Panthers' Website

Posted on the Panthers' website.

Panthers Sign G Jose Theodore

Vezina & Hart Trophy Winner Joins Cats

 SUNRISE, FLA – Florida Panthers Executive Vice President & General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to terms with G Jose Theodore (joh-SAY, THEE-uh-dohr) on a two-year contract.

Theodore joins D Brian Campbell, F Tomas Kopecky and F Scottie Upshall as new Panthers signings over the last week.

“Jose is a veteran goalie who has won both the Vezina and Hart Trophy,” said Tallon. “He has played in more than 500 games in the National Hockey League, earning more than 250 wins, and adds depth and experience to our team. Paired with Scott Clemmensen, we feel that we have a solid goaltending tandem for the 2011-12 season.”

Theodore, 34, ranks sixth among active National Hockey League goalies in games played (580) and eighth in wins (260). The Laval, Quebec native earned a Vezina and Hart Trophy during the 2001-02 season while playing with the Montreal Canadiens, posting a 30-24-10 mark with a 2.11 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

For his career in the NHL, Theodore has played in 580 games with Montreal (1995-2006), Colorado (2006-08), Washington (2008-10) and Minnesota (2010-11) going 260-232-55 with a 2.69 GAA and a .909 save percentage. He has appeared in 51 post season contests with a 19-28 mark and a 2.82 GAA.

Throughout his 14-year playing career, Theodore has recorded four 30-plus win seasons, including back-to-back 30-plus win seasons with Washington (2008-10). He was originally drafted by Montreal in the second round (44th overall) in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.

José Signs with Florida

José signed a 2-year, $3 mill contract with the Florida Panthers. Mike Russo told me in an e-mail this morning that Florida was José's first choice, so I'm soooo happy for him!!! And he'll be the #1 guy. Russo also said José has been looking at Florida since January. He wants to retire down there, so this is his transition.

Gosh, I am just so happy for him, I can't stand it!

More later...I'm having trouble focusing right now.

Oh, and he was trending worldwide on twitter for a while. He's still trending in the U.S. and Canada. I can't keep up with all the tweets about his signing.