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Florida Panthers shuffle their front office
Mike Keenan has that uncanny ability to find his way back with an NHL team every few years. But returning to a team he was fired from about a year ago raises a few eyebrows. The Florida Panthers fired Rick Dudley from the GM post and hired ex-coach Mike Keenan to the position. Followed with this (re)hiring was the announcement of Jacques Martin as coach of the team. There is a lot of speculation that Keenan's firing last year was likely part of a power struggle and that he can probably thank his good friend Jacques Martin for bringing him back to Miami.
Lightning and Flames to face off in the Stanley Cup finals
The scene is set for the 2004 Stanley Cup finals - the Tampa Bay Lightning
will take on the Calgary Flames
. The Lightning were the part of the initial NHL expansion of the 1990s, joining the league along with the Senators in 1992. They have certainly come a long way from those early days, putting behind a bunch of ownership problems and on-ice growing pains. They have put together a highly skilled and cohesive team with a combination of good amatuer drafting and savvy trades.
Down to the final four
The National Hockey League playoffs are now down to the conference finals. In the Eastern confernce we have the Tampa Bay Lightning taking on the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bolts have had a relatively easy go of it, dispatching the Islanders and Canadiens with ease. They are well rested and have no signidicant injuries. On the other hand, the Flyers had to go through the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Devils in the first round and the Maple Leafs in the second round.
Alexander Perezhogin - Another black eye for hockey
Marty McSorley and Todd Bertuzzi have been guilty of the two most violent acts in recent hockey history. But Alexander Perezhogin might now be near or on top of this infamous list with an extremely violent attack in an American Hockey League (AHL) playoff game. The incident happened as the Cleveland Barons were taking on the Hamilton Bulldogs in game 5 of the North Division playoff semifinal. Barons defenseman Garrett Stafford and Bulldogs forward Alexander Perezhogin were tangled up in the front of the net, Stafford was knocked down and took a swing at Perezhogin, missing the Hamilton forward. Perezhogin turned around an lay a vicious two handed swing at Stafford's head, hitting the defenseman in the face with his stick, causing severe lacerations and a third degree concussion as Stafford lay convulsing on the ice. Stafford was attended to by paramedics as a melee ensued on the ice.