SUNRISE, FL – The South Florida chapter of the Professional Hockey
Writers’ Association (PHWA) announced today that center Serge Payer is
the Panthers’ nominee for the National Hockey League’s Bill Masterton
Trophy, given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities
of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Payer, 21, is in his rookie season with the Panthers, having been signed
as a free agent on Oct. 2, 1997. The 6-foot, 203-pound native of
Rockland, Ontario, has played in 40 games this year, scoring four goals
and adding an assist. On Nov. 29 vs. Carolina he became only the second
rookie in team history (Jaroslav Spacek) to score a shorthanded goal.
Payer was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome in 1998, while playing
junior hockey with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.
The disorder is a rare acute type of nerve inflammation. The
inflammation damages portions of the nerve cell, resulting in muscle
weakness or paralysis. He lost more than 40 pounds while he battled the
illness during a lengthy hospital stay. Upon his release from the
hospital, he hadn’t strength enough to even climb a flight of stairs.
Shortly into his recovery from Guillain-Barre, Payer developed a severe
case of mononucleosis, which prevented him from participating in the
1999 Florida Panthers Rookie Camp. He was unable to skate until November
of 1999, when he rejoined his teammates in Kitchener and finished fifth
in team scoring with 36 points, despite playing in only the last 44
games of the season.
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As the 2001 season comes to an end for the New York Rangers, they must yet again gear up for another draft rather then a return to the post season. This however is not necessarily a bad thing as the Rangers will once again have a top ten pick. But before I get into that I would like to add that while not many rookies have played this year Ron Low and Sather are not to blame for this nor should they be.
First off Ron Low has given ice time to those who earned it. Manny Malhotra is a decent player but even I will admit at this point that he was oversold coming out of junior hockey. He wasn’t putting up great numbers in the AHL and he’ll never be a point producer at the NHL level. He figures to best be used as a third line winger who nets maybe 10 goals, 20 points and 100 PIM. It’s a harsh reality but it is true. Ron Low is giving Kloucek nearly 20 minutes a game, because Kloucek is earning it. Not to say that Malhotra deserves only 4 minutes a game but I don’t know exactly everyone is expecting to see if he does. Why is it possible that two coaches now haven’t been impressed with Malhotra? They are seeing something we don’t and perhaps we should leave it at that. Well, now that I got that out of my system I am ready to get on with the prospect talk.
Pavel Brendl is slipping folks. His attitude is going south again and so is his game. Regardless of whether he is bored or not he isn’t helping his case this year at all. He’s been offered in the trade talks with Phoenix and don’t be too surprised if he gets traded there soon. His skill level is great but h Read more»