Worst. Call. Ever.


Panthers coach still 'disappointed' over official's ruling in game against Leafs


It was an interesting media day for Florida Panthers head coach Peter de Boer on Wednesday.

One moment, de Boer was doing his best to bite his tongue when asked about a bad call that led to the Panthers’ 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. The next minute, he couldn’t stop gushing about Panthers prospect Erik Gudbranson.

First, about the game. With the score tied 1-1 in the third period, Maple Leafs heavyweight Colton Orr crashed into Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen. Then, with Clemmensen on his way down, a shot deflected off Orr’s skate and into the net for what proved to be the game-winning goal.

The reaction from everyone was unanimous. Worst. Call. Ever.

According to de Boer, referee Stephen Walkom said Clemmensen was fair game because he was outside the crease. Panthers general manager Dale Tallon spent part of Wednesday trying to get an explanation from the National Hockey League officials, but none of that helped the Panthers in the standings.

“I’m disappointed in that I thought all 40 guys on the ice, both teams, there was full effort out there,” said de Boer, whose team takes on the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place. “It was a good hockey game, a 1-1 game through 55 minutes, and it’s just disappointing for a game to be decided that way. The video speaks for itself. I think it’s obvious. It was a missed call and again, for us, where points are critical. It’s something where we have to move forward and get ready for the Senators now.”

Asked whether he was surprised a veteran official such as Walkom could make such a decision, de Boer chuckled.

“You guys are really pushing. I’ve got three kids and a mortgage. I’m not going there.”

On the subject of Gudbranson, de Boer was more talkative. The Ottawa resident, drafted third overall by the Panthers in June, had an outstanding training camp, but was returned to the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs after a dispute over contract bonuses meant the two sides couldn’t agree on a contract before the NHL regular season began.

“(Contracts) out of my control,” de Boer said. “My only disappointment with Gudbranson not being here is, when you see a kid with that kind of skill and character and a kid that wants to be a difference maker at the NHL level, you want to get your hands on him as quickly as possible and start to work with him as quickly as possible because he was that impressive.

“You’re disappointed you don’t get to see him on a hands-on, daily basis. I coached junior for 15 years, so (he knows) this is the best development league in the world outside the NHL, and I don’t think it will ever hurt a kid to come back and play. I think it’s a mental setback, but it depends on the kid, and this kid is as mature as anyone. He’s 18 going on 30, so I don’t think it’s an issue for him.”

Power play looking up

After two goals in five power-play attempts against the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night, the Senators are 4-for-12 in the past three games and have climbed to 16.7 per cent overall, ranking 12th in the 30-team NHL.

“We know better what the other guy is are doing, we’re supporting each other and shooting the puck a little more,” defenceman Sergei Gonchar said. “You have to learn (about) the guys, there is an adjustment period. We’re doing a lot of good things. Our power play was good and our penalty killing was good (against the Coyotes), but there a few things we have to work on.”

Peter Regin, media star

Senators forward Peter Regin has been followed for several days by a Danish TV crew working on what will become a 30-minute show about the new wave of NHL players from Denmark.

Back home, Regin says, NHL players receive little attention.

“It’s good for Denmark and Danish hockey to see what it’s all about, to see how big it is,” he said. “I don’t think many people back home realize how big hockey is here in Canada and that we have 20 (media) guys in here after practice. That’s pretty neat, and it’s fun for me to let everybody back home know how it is.”

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