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Former Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma is among six front-runners the Florida Panthers will be sitting down with this week to discuss the vacant head coaching job, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Geronimo Allison Super Bowl Jersey . The Panthers braintrust is in New York City to interview Bylsma for the first time this week, while the other five candidates have all met or spoke to general manager Dale Tallon about the position. According to the paper, this weeks interviews will also include team co-owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu, as well as CEO and President Rory Babich. As mentioned by TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger last week, the other leading candidates are believed to include Ron Wilson, Canadiens assistant Gerard Gallant and Red Wings assistants Tom Renney and Bill Peters. The Panthers fired interim coach Peter Horachek in April after Florida went 26-36-4 under him this past season. Horachek had no previous NHL coaching experience before replacing Kevin Dineen on Nov. 8. The Sun Sentinel also reported on Tuesday the Panthers were leaning toward selecting OHL Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad with the first overall selection in the NHL Draft on June 27 because hes considered the most NHL-ready of the prospects.  "Ekblad is this years player most likely ready to step in and play in the NHL, Scott Luce, the Panthers director of scouting, told the Sun Sentinel last week. "Hes physically mature and has lots of mileage underneath him at the OHL level. The Panthers finished 29th in the standings and had an 18.8 per cent chance of winning the lottery, behind only Buffalo (21-51-10), which had a 25 per cent shot. The draft will be held in Philadelphia on June 27-28. Rashan Gary Super Bowl Jersey . -- The Florida Gators are first yet again this season. Darnell Savage Jr. Super Bowl Jersey . Got Jacks? Pulling off a comeback for the ages, feisty Stephen F. Austin became the latest No. 12 seed to pull off an upset, tying the game on Desmond Haymons did-that-just-happen four-point play with 3. OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- His voice cracking with emotion, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice acknowledged Friday that he "failed miserably" and apologized for the actions that led to his arrest on assault charges. Rice was arrested following a Feb. 15 altercation in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in which he allegedly struck fiancee Janay Palmer. The couple married in late February, and both went to the stage at the team training complex for their first public comment since the arrest. "I failed miserably, but I wouldnt call myself a failure because Im working my way back up," he said. Wearing a light grey suit and striped tie, Rice spoke for just over six minutes and didnt take questions. His speech was not prepared, but he often referred to notes on his cellphone. "I know many of my supporters, sponsors, dont want to be in partnership with me. Thats my fault," Rice said. "I take full responsibility for that. One thing I do know is that Im working every day to be a better father, a better husband and just a better role model." Rice was accepted Tuesday into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the charges being expunged. "I want you to know Im still the Ray Rice that you know, or used to know, or grown to love," Rice said. "Im still the same guy. As me and Janay wish we could take back 30 seconds of our life, we definitely sit here and tell you that we are better parents, we are better lovers and also better friends." Among those in attendance were Rices mother, Janet, and his father-in-law, Joe Palmer. Rice was only 5 when his father was shot and killed, and he referred to Joe Palmer as the" father I never had. Mason Crosby Super Bowl Jersey. quot; "Thank you for teaching me how to be a man," he told Palmer. "I know it wasnt easy when you saw everything that happened, but I just remember your words: Youll get through it. Those words will always stick with me, because one thing you gave me is trust." The 27-year-old Rice has played six years for the Ravens. He is the teams career leader in total scrimmage yards and ranks behind only Jamal Lewis in total yards rushing. "My job is a very powerful job, and Im blessed to be playing at the highest level of sports," Rice said. "But the job I did was more than scoring touchdowns. It was getting out in the community and helping out. So when this thing happened with me and my wife, one thing I can say is, sometimes in life you will fail." Rice is eager to put this behind him, but its possible that a suspension from the NFL looms ahead. His focus now, however, is clearly on his personal life. "There were a lot of tears shed, but me and Janay can truly say were in a better place," Rice said. "We just hope to one day gain back everyones trust. Were still the same people and Im still the same person." After Rice was done speaking, he turned toward Janay, who enforced the couples united front. "I do deeply regret the role I played in the incident that night," she said. "But I can say that I am happy that we continue to work through it together. I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself not only to you all, but to the community, and I know he will gain your respect back in due time." ' ' '

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Added Mar 31

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