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Heat’s Udonis Haslem gets NHL playoff Panthers – The Denver Post

Those times have been tense for Udonis Haslem, sweating those playoffs, the stakes raised, the countdown.

Oh, and he was also involved in the Miami Heat’s championship chase.

Consider the playoffs squared for the South Florida icon, because the veteran Heat captain also can’t get enough of his Florida Panthers.

“It’s exciting, really exciting,” Haslem said amid his own playoff chase, with both teams now advancing to the next round. “The way they’ve been able to play this year has captured my attention.”

In some ways, Haslem is a typical (sorry, UD) middle-aged commuter caught in the NHL, with FLA Live Arena in Sunrise a short drive from his Southwest Ranches estate.

“They keep me on the edge of my seat,” he said. “It’s really something.”

However, the connection to the game and the Panthers goes beyond proximity.

It is also about fraternity, fraternal communion, the ability to see themselves in those who have put their careers on ice.

In addition to his friendship with Panthers forward Anthony Duclair, he forged a bond with Brett Peterson, the NHL’s first black assistant general manager.

“As I started taking things for retirement and property and different things like that,” Haslem, 41, said, “I just wanted to line up with like-minded people who can teach me things. So I’m a sponge.

Peterson said there was an instant connection.

“You look at UD’s career and the fact that he’s an undrafted player and all the success he’s had, a three-time champion, and I’ve been undrafted as well,” said Peterson, who has spent five seasons playing minor league hockey after four seasons in Boston. College then became a player’s agent before taking his current role with the Panthers.

“We had some mutual relations. But then we did a program with the Panthers called 28 Days of Black Excellence and UD participated in those 28 days. And the whole idea of ​​28 days was to showcase the diversity here within our community and shine a light on what we do.

Peterson said the goal was for himself, Haslem and Duclair to serve as beacons.

“As players,” he said, “we emulate our favorite player and we know who he is and we aspire to be that player. And one of the things I wanted to highlight is that there is another path for all of us, and I think there is a lot of untapped excellence.

By bringing the light, Peterson also opened a special pair of eyes.

“I love hockey,” Haslem said after a practice session.

Still, the Panthers’ first-round victory in the series led to a national dispute.

“It’s been a very nervous time,” Haslem said with a smile. “My wife is from DC Obviously she is a Capitals fan. So it’s a little internal rivalry.

This made Peterson laugh.

“You have to live somewhere,” he said. “So I feel for UD.”

The goal, Peterson said, is as many simultaneous Heat and Panthers playoffs as possible.

“I grew up in Boston,” Peterson said, “and we were blessed with great sports teams that were all united and all successful at the same time. I watched the Red Sox shoot for the Bruins, and the Bruins shoot for the Patriots, and the Celtics shoot for the Patriots.

“And we had the experience that it was basically our city as a sports team, as a whole. I think that’s important, because it pushed each franchise to be the best version of themselves. .

Stylistically, the Heat and Panthers displayed contrasting approaches, the Heat with their defensive bent, the Panthers with their record scoring.

“It’s really exciting, really exciting. Teams don’t score at the pace of the Panthers,” Haslem said. “It’s crazy how they score goals and come back.”

Peterson said the common thread is organizational drive and championship vision.

As for Haslem, who already has three championships, it’s all about broadening his horizons, with Mr. 305 having chills of what’s going on in the 954.

“It’s part of my overall growth as Mr. Florida,” he said with a smile. “I go from Mr. Miami to Mr. Florida. It’s a good time to be in the city of Miami. But it’s also a good time in the state of Florida.

IN THE WAY

EVERYONE WIN: When it comes to playoff awards, the NBA has it covered like never before. In addition to naming trophies for playoff conference champions, the Bob Cousy Trophy for the winner of the East and the oscar robertson Trophy for the winner of the West, there will also, for the first time, trophies for the MVPs of each of the two conference finals. the Larry Bird Trophy will go to the Eastern Finals MVP, the Magic Johnson West Trophy. What the ruling doesn’t address is that voting for the annual awards still doesn’t include the playoffs. So the league MVP (Nikola Jokic) goes out in the first round, while the other main contenders continue to play. Play well in the NBA Finals or Conference Finals, get a prize. Play well in the first and second rounds, and it counts for nothing (other than, of course, moving forward). To take Jimmy Butler, for example, it would seem that his play in the playoffs should have a greater bearing on All-NBA or other awards. Instead, this clock ends after the first 82, games with far less meaning.

BEST WAY: Because he made his way, James Harden was with the 76ers for their playoff series against the Heat, as helpless as he turned out to be. But he also got his way by essentially quitting the Brooklyn Nets and forcing his midseason trade. In his playoff recap, Sean Marks, the former Heat center and current Nets general manager, said last week: “I think when players’ decisions are made, I think it’s foolish to try to change their minds. If it doesn’t work for you and you pay a man over $30 million and it doesn’t work, you have to make a decision. I think that’s something we did. We pivoted quickly. Or a player can honestly and fairly play his contract. That, among all the NBA’s ongoing personnel issues, is a commissioner Adam Silver must settle as soon as possible.

BACK: Mario Chalmers, who received a 10-day contract from the Heat but never saw action during the team’s mid-season COVID outbreak, returns to the Big3 summer circuit in half court – with a twist. Chalmers is expected to coach 3s Company, and the three-man squad is expected to add, according to ESPN’s Andscap site, Chalmers’ former Heat teammate. Michael Beasley as co-captain. Chalmers finished last season with Heat’s G League affiliate Sioux Falls Skyforce.

CONNECTED: Heat shield Kyle Lowry is among those scheduled to compete in the American Championship Celebrity Golf of the Century July 10-16, even at Lake Tahoe in July. This is a field intended to also include Justin Timberlake, Charles Barkley and former heat guard Ray Allen.

REALITY CHECK: With the Heat’s defense also surging in the second round, that meant the Atlanta Hawks guard Trae young having to deal with clips of how the Heat choked him out in the first round. Of his team’s hangover falling 4-1 in the first round against the Heat, Young told the Atlanta Journal Constitution: “It’s more about the mind and what I was at the moment, remember the game but also some of the times where they’re always showing bad plays that I’ve made, some things like that, and bragging about their defense against the Heat, you know what I mean? It’s little things like that that I still see. It feels like I could improve and I know I will.

EH?: Despite everything that went wrong for the 76ers in the second round against the Heat, perhaps nothing was as, uh, jaw-dropping as the 76ers executing their offense in the third quarter of their Game 6 loss to win or to do. . . Shake Milton. “We were looking for whatever we could get at that time,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers mentioned. “It’s not a good place to be, but it was where we were and you’re just trying to do what you can to push your attack forward.”

NUMBER

22-5. Heat record, regular season and playoffs, with Max Strus as the starter this season.

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