AP Source: Panthers owner to meet with Rivera


AP Source: Panthers owner to meet with Rivera

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has scheduled a meeting with Ron Rivera Saturday morning to discuss the coach's future with the team, said a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because the meeting has not been publically announced.

It's uncertain if Richardson will inform Rivera whether he will remain Carolina's coach at the meeting or gather input from Rivera and then make a determination at a later date.

Rivera has two years remaining on a four-year contract.

He's 19-32 in two seasons as the Panthers coach.

Richardson hasn't spoken to the media since firing GM Marty Hurney after Carolina's 1-5 start. Rivera said that's when Richardson informed him the Panthers needed to be ``trending upward'' for him to keep his job.

The Panthers went 6-4 the rest of the way closing the season by winning four straight games, which would seem to bode well for Rivera.

However, Richardson has not said anything definitive on whether or not he'll bring back Rivera, a former Chicago Bears linebacker who won a Super Bowl ring playing alongside Walter Payton.

The Panthers went 6-10 in 2011 and 7-9 this season under Rivera.

Richardson's Panthers have not been to the playoffs since 2008 and have not won a playoff game since 2005.

``What I was told is Mr. Richardson and I will sit down and discuss things and we'll go from there,'' Rivera said at his season-ending press conference Monday. ``I can't tell you anything more than that. I do look forward to the opportunity to meet with him and discuss this.''

The person who spoke with the AP said Richardson has spent the week lining up potential candidates for the team's vacant general manager position and is expected to proceed on a coaching decision without the input of the new GM.

Those interviews with potential GMs are expected to begin next week.

Richardson hired former New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi to serve as a consultant for the GM search and the team has already received permission to interview two members of the New York Giants staff - college scouting director Marc Ross and senior pro personnel analyst Dave Gettleman - and others are expected to meet with him as well.

Rivera didn't discuss his future with his players during their brief 10-minute meeting Monday morning at the team's facility.

``He didn't mention it,'' offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner said. ``He just said thanks for the hard work this season and finishing the season on a strong note. That's kind of where it was left.''

Among the Panthers five wins in their final six games included a convincing 30-20 victory over the NFC's top seeded Atlanta Falcons. Carolina's four-game win streak to close the season came despite having five starters and 14 players overall on injured reserve.

``I like where we are and I like the things that we have done,'' Rivera said. ``I believe we are better now than when I first got here. And it's a job that I would like to have.''

Rivera was hired to replace John Fox in 2011 after a coaching search led by Hurney and team president Danny Morrison.


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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings


3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings


Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.