We enter now the second weekend without hockey. So my first question is how are you? I hope you and your families are okay, and that no one is ill. I also hope that you’ve been able to keep yourselves busy and occupied. As much as it might make sense to do, please don’t binge watch an entire series of anything on Netflix in one sitting. You need to keep from becoming a slug on the sofa.
Today we go way back in time. And by way back I mean 1999! I enjoy going back into the long history of the Florida Panthers. It’s interesting to see some of the players that not only played for them, but the opposition. There have been some names that I’m sure many of you have forgotten, and many of you never knew.
In the 1998-1999 season, the Panthers finished the season with a 30-34-18 record with a 2nd place finish in the Southeast Division. Terry Murray was the coach, and Scott Mellanby was the captain. The roster included players such as Kirk Muller, Johan Garpenlov, Robert Svehla, Rhett Warrener, Dan Boyle and Panther legend Chris Wells!
On this particular night the Panthers were in Anaheim to take on the Ducks. The Ducks had some names too. Travis Green who’s now head coaching in Vancouver, Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, future ex Panther to be Matt Cullen, and the grim reaper himself, Stu Grimson.
The Panthers won by a score of 5-2 as Oleg Kvasha opened the scoring early in the game. Teemu Selanne scored his 40th goal of the year about 4 minutes later and the first period ended at 1-1.
The Panthers erupted for four unanswered in the third period. Goals came from Radek Dvorak, two by Ray Whitney and the 4th by Rob Niedermayer. The last Whitney goal and the Niedermayer goal were scored 12 seconds apart. Ted Drury added his 5th of the year to cap off the scoring.
Early in the first period, a young Peter Worrell decided that it was time to tussle with veteran Stu Grimson. Two big boys who can each throw some punches. While I think Worrell might have gotten the worst of it at the end, he hung in there against Grimson. Grimson would fight anyone and since most were not bigger than him, he often took on some of the best fighters in the game at that time. I’ll bet you didn’t know that Grimson is a “Thespian”, and has a law degree! He’s most recently been on the NHL network as an analyst and has done a really good job.
Worrell spent much of his retired career coaching teams in Florida such as Florida Atlantic University, and North Broward Prep. Now he’s assistant coach with the Fayetteville Marksman according to Wikipedia.
Here’s a replay of the fight between Grimson and Worrell.
The Panthers ended up with a losing record mostly because of a late season losing streak that lasted 7 games. They did win however the final three games of the season giving some hope for the year that followed. 41 players dressed for the Panthers that season. It was Pavel Bure’s first with the team, however only played 11 games after suffering a knee injury. Sean Burke and Kirk McLean were the goalies, and really should have been good enough to help the Panthers have a better record than they did.
But when you ice players like Alex Hicks, Peter Ratchuk, Dwayne Hay and Herbert Vasiljevs, you can’t be expected to win many of your games.
I’m on a hot streak. Haven’t missed a day yet!
Thanks for reading.
You can follow along with Panther Parkway @pantherparkway on Twitter! You can also follow our writers: @FrankRekas, @Josh_LOPanthers, @JacobWinans8, @prudentia0, @Spencer_hoag, @Mister_Joester! Make sure to follow and listen to our podcast @LOPanthersPod All images unless otherwise noted are courtesy of @KimSmithImages