At some point, the Florida Panthers will realize that digging a two-goal deficit is not the way to win hockey games. Seven times in twelve games this season, the Panthers have found themselves in a 2-0 hole (or worse) and have compiled a record of 0-5-2 in those games. The latest came Sunday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Lightning as the Panthers dropped a 4-3 shootout decision.
There’s not too much recap here as the Florida Panthers had a team put up a touchdown on them for the second time in three games. This time, the culprit was the cross-state Tampa Bay Lightning, who took advantage of a sloppy effort from the Cats at both ends of the ice in a 7-2 thrashing.
With the Panthers and Lightning set to kick of their first of four games during the 2013-2014 season tonight, it looks as if the two Sunshine State foes will be battling for more than just wins and losses this year. In an act taken right out of a college football rivalry, the in-state hockey rivals will now be playing for a unique piece of hardware, the “Governor’s Cup”.
From the Lightning’s team site:
The winner of the annual season series between the two Atlantic Division and in-state rivals will be awarded the Governor’s Cup following the final matchup of the season and each team will make a donation to the other team’s youth hockey initiatives. In addition, both teams will provide tickets to local students for Governor’s Cup games and select players will take part in local reading programs throughout the season.
Governor Rick Scott said, “The Sunshine State is a national leader in sports, and the creation of the Governor’s Cup is great news for Florida hockey. This competition is an excellent way to highlight the opportunities that Floridians, and our visitors, have to enjoy all of the wonderful activities that our state has to offer.”
The winner of the Governor’s Cup is determined by the team with the most points during the four Governor’s Cup games (two points for a win, one point for an overtime or shootout loss, and zero points for a regulation loss). The first tiebreaker is goal difference.
With the introduction of the Governor’s Cup, a rivalry that has been mostly dormant for the past 20 seasons will receive a shot in the arm as both teams strive to make their mark on the NHL scene once again.
FLORIDA PANTHERS: 1-2-0 (2 PTS) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: 2-1-0 (4 PTS)
Game Day Song: “I Can Change” – LCD Soundsystem
In the last leg of a grueling four game road-trip to begin their 2013-2014 campaign, the Florida Panthers will get their first taste of the Sunshine State rivalry this season tonight as they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning before heading home to take on the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. Not suiting up for the Panthers tonight will be starting goaltender Tim Thomas who suffered a “slight groin pull” in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers. However, fans should still have reason to feel optimistic as youthful goaltender Jacob Markstrom will get the start in net tonight after stopping all 25 shots he faced in relief against the Flyers. Though it is reported that Thomas’ injury most likely won’t keep him out for an extended period of time, Markstrom could still grasp this opportunity and use it to earn more starts down the line as he still looks to prove himself as an everyday NHL goaltender early on in his career.
While you may think that losing their starting goaltender three games into the season would be the Panthers’ biggest cause for concern at this point, that is sadly the least of their worries. Heading into tonight’s game in Tampa, the Panthers have still yet to register a power play goal – going an astounding 0-16 with an extra man this season thus far. Although the Panthers’ power play has proven to be formidable in the past – 6th in the league last season – it is possible that the arrival of so many new faces has disrupted the Panthers’ once potent chemistry on the power play. For example, Tom Gilbert, who joined the team right before the season started, has clocked the 2nd most power play minutes on the team this season. Hopefully for the Panthers’ sake, once the team is given more time gel, the power play will start to click once again.
The Florida Panthers are just a few hours away from taking the opening face-off to kick off the Rookie Camp games at Saveology Iceplex in Coral Springs. For tonight’s podcast, we did things a little differently. This past week, we’ve been asking you guys to ask us hockey related questions, which would be answered tonight on our podcast. So here it is…Enjoy!
Host: Paige Lewis
Guests: Frank Rekas, Dave Lasseter and Jameson Cooper
- Olympic Goalies
- Projected lines for opening night
- Who could switch to the wing?
- Goalie dilemma
- Favorite Panther of all time
- Rookie Camp
Click the link below for today’s podcast!
We welcome and encourage comments and feedback!
Follow the Panther Parkway crew on Twitter: Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530. Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.
(Editors Note: This piece is meant to be taken as satire. All facts, quotes, and reports are fabricated. Enjoy!)
Earlier this year, the NHL announced that it would be adding five more outdoor games next season to accompany the already immensely popular Winter Classic. While games in New York and Chicago were welcome with open arms, the announcement that a game would be held in the warm climate of Los Angeles was met with some skepticism. Well, the skeptics are going to need to get their sunscreen ready as the NHL announced today that the league will also be adding one more outdoor game in the tropical hockey capital of the world – Miami, Florida.
But, before I discuss the details behind this exciting announcement, let me first take you back to where this all began.
With the 2013-2014 NHL season fast approaching, the Florida Panthers released their full 7- game pre-season schedule today, kicking things off with a double-header against the Nashville Predators on Monday, September 16th. In what looks to be one of the most intriguing pre-season groups in the entire NHL, the Panthers and 2nd overall draft selection, Aleksander Barkov, will have the pleasure of facing off against 2 of the other top 4 picks from this year’s entry draft - Seth Jones of the Nashville Predators and Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
With 3 of their 7 total pre-season games set to take place at the BB&T Center, Panthers’ fans will get a great opportunity to see some of their favorite skaters prior to the start of the regular season. Listed below is the Panthers’ full pre-season schedule, including dates and locations.
Panthers’ 2013-2014 Pre-Season Schedule
|Mon., Sept. 16||vs. Nashville||BB&T Center||2:30 p.m.|
|Mon. Sept. 16||vs. Nashville||BB&T Center||7 p.m.|
|Wed., Sept. 18||@ Dallas||American Airlines Center||8:30 p.m.|
|Fri., Sept 20||vs. Dallas||AT&T Center (San Antonio, TX)||8:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Sept. 21||@ Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay Times Forum||7 p.m.|
|Thurs., Sept. 26||vs. Tampa Bay||Germain Arena (Estero, FL)||7:30 p.m.|
|Sat., Sept. 28||vs. Tampa Bay||BB&T Center|
*Dates & Times Subject to change without notice*
**All Times Eastern**
Are you feeling disoriented? Groggy? Perhaps don’t know where you are? If you are currently suffering from any of these symptoms you either just woke up from a long night out, or possibly fell victim to a right hook from Panthers’ defenseman Alex Petrovic.
Selected in the 2nd round (36th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, 21-year-old Petrovic has already begun to bring his own special blend of talent and force to the NHL. With his imposing frame and lovable insanity on the ice, the Panthers’ youthful defenseman made his first jump to the NHL last season – leaving a lot of cuts and bruises in his wake.
As the Panthers trudged through an injury laden season, Petrovic, as well as other top-prospects, were given the chance to make their mark with the pro club much sooner than expected. While making a mark would have been considered a success in its’ own right, the mark Petrovic left was a bit more forceful – and may have left a bruise. In 6 games last season, Petrovic recorded 10 hits and a whopping 25 PIMs, including 1 game misconduct. Although he didn’t record a point, the fact that Petrovic was able to establish a strong physical game early on at the NHL level should pay off greatly heading into the upcoming season.
“He got a little taste last year. He’s a big lanky guy who can really skate and move the puck, it’s rare.” said Panthers’ Manager of Player Development, Bryan McCabe, when asked about Petrovic. “He’s got a little edge to him, plays with a little grit as you guys saw at the end of the year in Tampa. He’s really coming into his own here, becoming more of a leader.”
Tampa hockey fans were thrown for a loop on Thursday as the Tampa Bay Lightning announced they would be using one of their top cap compliance buyouts on their Captain, Vincent Lecavalier. Even though this will be an emotional day for the city of Tampa, it’s hard to blame the Lightning for dumping such a cumbersome contract. The fact that Lecavalier’s contract still has seven years remaining and carries a cap hit of more than $7 million per season should have made this an easy decision for Lightning management. By using one of their buyouts the team will have to pay him $32 million of that contract over the upcoming years, but he will no longer count against their salary cap.
Another reason why the Lightning decided to pull the trigger on this shocking move had to do with Lecavalier’s age and fears about him possibly retiring in the near future. Under the terms of the new CBA, there are penalties for players who retire early with front-loaded deals, like Lecavalier had with the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the team had decided to hold on to him only to see him retire 2-3 years later, the Lightning would face heavy repercussions against their cap in the following seasons.
It truly is the end of an era in Tampa as Martin St. Louis now remains as the only skater still on the roster from the 2004 Stanley Cup champion squad. However, with free agency set to begin on July 5th, there will be no time for mourning as Lecavalier will soon find himself on a new team with new challenges. Given his already lengthy tenure in the Sunshine State and the life he has created here, I find myself asking a simple question when pondering Vinny’s future …
Why not the Florida Panthers?
As fans eagerly await the arrival of the next generation of talented skaters at the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry draft, General Managers and scouts from the bottom 3 teams of the 2013 season are working overtime evaluating this year’s projected top 3 picks - D Seth Jones, C Nathan MacKinnon, and C/RW Jonathan Drouin. After finishing the regular season with the worst overall record in the NHL, the Florida Panthers bad luck continued as the Colorado Avalanche (who finished with the 2nd worst record) leap frogged them in the newly revamped NHL Draft Lottery.
After the dust had settled at the draft lottery, the top 3 picks went to the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, and Tampa Bay Lighting in that order. In other words, the collective destiny of both the Panthers and Lightning now rest in the hands of the Colorado Avalanche as their course of action with the first overall pick will surely shape how the rest of the first round plays out.
Luckily for both the Avalanche and the Panthers, the current players slated to go #1 and #2 in this year’s draft could both make an immediate impact on their respective clubs. Although, while each team could potentially grab a bona-fide NHL ready player, each team’s specific needs could play a huge role in their selections as both teams look to build a future Stanley Cup Contender.