He takes over in Florida for Dale Tallon, whose contract expired when the Panthers’ season ended last month. But when Kekalainen — whose brother is a scout in the Panthers’ organization — convinced Caldwell that his recommendation was real, sealing it by revealing that Zito is a godfather to his children, Florida knew it was making the right call. NOTES: The game was Panthers first as the “home” team since 4-1 win against Montreal at Florida on March 7. The Panthers will make the announcement on Wednesday. Unique perspectives on the daily sports topics that matter most. He shifted to the Blue Jackets in 2013, was candidates for other GM jobs in recent years and served as general manager for USA Hockey’s bronze-medal-winning team at the 2018 IIHF World Championships. The Islanders responded with Pageau scoring with 3:34 left in the second period. Otherwise, teams are 56-1 when winning the first two games of the NHL’s best-of-five series overall. Tallon had been with Florida since May 17, 2010, coming in at a time when the Panthers were 10 years removed from what had been their most recent playoff appearance. “He’s got character, he’s got values,” Caldwell said. Florida has not won a playoff series since its first postseason appearance in 1996, when the team reached the Stanley Cup Final, where it was swept by Colorado. Inside access. Panthers coach Joel Quenneville also was involved, Caldwell said. … The Islanders made no lineup changes from Game 2, while Panthers D Mike Matheson was scratched after picking up four of the Panthers 10 minor penalties this series. “He brings great experience to our club and possesses a strong business acumen.”. Florida was ousted from the NHL's restart bubble in Toronto on Aug. 7. From Edina, Minnesota, Bowlby, had 21 goals and 45 points in 84 games in three seasons, and received the ECAC Hockey Commissioner’s award in having the team’s highest GPA last year. … Panthers signed undrafted free agent Harvard forward Henry Bowlby to a two-year entry level contract earlier in the day. Zito was announced Tuesday as the new Panthers’ general manager, coming to Florida after seven years in the front office of the Columbus Blue Jackets — where he most recently was senior vice-president of hockey operations, associate general manager and alternate governor. Caldwell said he formally interviewed at least two dozen candidates, including former GMs, hockey analysts and those like Zito looking for the next step up the ladder. Greig on Kadri comparison, rise in NHL Central Scouting list, Trade Bait: The NHL's 31 teams fit neatly into three buckets this off-season, Anderson’s time in Ottawa comes to an end, Bill Zito They went to the first round of the playoffs twice in the decade that Tallon spent with the club, plus made the qualifying round this year, but haven’t won a playoff series since the franchise’s lone run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1996. TORONTO (AP) — Mike Hoffman and Brian Boyle scored 2:07 apart in the opening minutes of the third period, and the Florida Panthers avoided elimination with a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders in Game 3 of their preliminary round playoff series on Wednesday. What helped seal the deal for the Panthers was the recommendation that Zito got from Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, who was so effusive in his praise that Caldwell got a bit concerned that he was overselling. Help | Press | Advertise With Us | Jobs | FOX Cincy | RSS | Site Map NOTES: The game was Panthers first as the “home” team since 4-1 win against Montreal at Florida on March 7. “Our team has great potential and I look forward to start working together in building something special in South Florida. The 10th-seeded Panthers trail the best-of-five series 2-1 with Game 4 at the NHL’s Eastern Conference hub city of Toronto on Friday.