The first five games of the season that we’ve all been waiting to start could tell us a great deal about this Florida Panthers team and their ability to not only reach the post season, but repeat as division champions as well. It was confirmed on Saturday that the home opener will be against the Carolina Hurricanes and the “Staal Brothers” on Saturday January 19th in Sunrise at the BB & T Center. Carolina has always been a difficult opponent for the Panthers in the past, and with their off season additions of Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin, this year promises to be more of the same. We’ll delve more into the home opener later this week after each team has had a few days to round out their roster. One glaring weakness that has always been an issue for the “Canes is their defence. They rely way too much on goaltender Cam Ward to bail them out. Ward has been a workhorse for Carolina and unfortunately for opponents he’s actually pretty good at keeping the Canes close in games that they should lose, and he’s been known to steal a few as well.
The Panthers who will play five games in eight nights will travel to Canada after the home opener to face the Ottawa Senators on January 21st and the Montreal Canadiens on January 22nd. The the Cats return home to face the Ottawa Senators again on January 24th and host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday January 26th. From all angles that’s a tough opening, however it will be a good measuring stick to start out the season. If the Panthers can be 3-2-0 after these five games it will set a much needed positive start for their season.
Today is a day that we have many things to be thankful for, and we should all take a moment and appreciate what it is that we do have. While things are not prefect for many, I’m sure we can each find at least one thing that we are grateful to have on this day.
Take today and enjoy your friends, families, and some good food and spirits.
I’m sure that I speak for all of us here at Panther Parkway when I say that we appreciate your loyalty to us, your following of our posts, and the fandom that we share.
Thank you for sticking with us, and while we have taken a few days to “regroup” and clear our heads, we will be back to normal shortly.
Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Josh Luecht@joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis @RatTrickLewiz Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Adam Reid@AdamReid Chrissy Parente @chrissaay44, Justen Rosenberg @justenrosenberg, Kris Eberwein @RatTrickKris, Lori Carpenter @lmcangel13, 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.
With the announcement on Friday that the NHL is cancelling all NHL games for the month of November (over 300 games in all have now been cancelled), it is beginning to sink in how devastating the lockout is going to be to a team like the Florida Panthers. While not alone in this saga, the momentum that was created by last season’s division championship is beginning to lose it’s luster. Don’t lie if you’re a Panther fan, you know this is true.
After not appearing in the playoffs for over a decade ( I am waiting to never have to say that again), the Florida Panthers finally tasted post season hockey, and did it by winning their first ever division championship. The team which in previous years fought very hard to put fans in the building, and did it many times by virtually giving seats away (remember when you had to buy a Subway BLT sandwich to get a free ticket?), no longer was faced with such a challenge. Last year’s season started out positively, and continued for the entire year as the Cats either flirted with or were in first place for the whole season.
With the lockout seemingly in full force, and more games expected to be cancelled within the week, we’re left wondering if there is any hope for any games this year.
We can see many players going overseas to play in Europe, most notably names like Evgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Claude Giroux and Alex Ovechkin. There have been rumblings all around Twitter and Facebook that a deal is far from being settled, giving the impression that it’s going to be awhile before any games are played.
Since the lockout is in full effect I wanted to update the readers on how some of our beloved Florida Panther players are doing overseas. Many players have been seen working out at the Saveology Ice Plex over the last couple of weeks; some of those names have included Roberto Luongo, Tomas Vokoun and P.K. Subban.
As for former Panthers, I just so happened to stumble upon Nathan Horton at La Fitness in Coconut Creek last week. I asked him a couple of questions and he responded with what seemed like a hopeless look on his face when asked if they were going to get back to work anytime soon. I also asked if he was enjoying Boston and he gave me a hesitated answer which was, yes, but replied “You have to love the Florida weather though”.
So giving some updates to you guys.
According to Eurohockey.com:
Tomas Kopecky has signed with the Slovakian Club Dulka Trencin on October 15th. Looks like Kopecky is going to be at home for a while.
Jack Skille signed with the club Rosenberg IHK from Norway on October 14th.
Brian Foster of the Cincinnati Cyclones from the ECHL (affiliated with the Florida Panthers) has signed with GKS Katowice in Poland.
None of the above mentioned players have appeared in a game yet.
Some players that have already played are Marcel Goc, Sean Bergenheim, and Dmitry Kulikov
Marcel Goc has been red hot in the German league. Playing alongside his brother Nikolai Goc, Marcel has 2 goals and 5 assists in 8 games playing for the Adler Mannheim. Another notable NHLer on his team is former Panther Dennis Seidenberg. Marcel is native of Germany so he has to be considered one of the vocal leaders on his squad, and considered a prefect role model since he has played at the highest level and captained Team Germany at the 2012 World Championships.
Sean Bergenheim was one of the first Florida Panthers to head Europe. He signed with HIFK Helsinki in the SM-liiga league back in September. He has only played in two games and has one assist to show. He was playing along side former Florida Panther, Ville Peltonen. Peltonen spent 3 seasons with the Florida Panthers accumulating 88 points. Bergenheim was injured in the second game that he appeared in, and has returned to the states to recover.
Dmitry Kulikov, the young Florida Panther defenseman is playing in his home country Russia for the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL. Kulikov has appeared in 6 games and has 1 goal and 1 assist. Kulikov is playing with Artem Anisimov who was just traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in part of the Rick Nash deal to New York. Niklas Hagman a player drafted by the Florida Panthers in 1999, is also on Dmitry Kulikov’s squad. Also Semen (in Russian) Varlamov from the Colorado Avalanche is playing goalkeeper for Lokomotiv.
As we can see, there are a handful of players from the Panthers spending their time playing in the European leagues, due to the lockout. There are hundreds of other players throughout the league doing the same.
Most NHL players playing overseas:
Red Wings (10)
There will probably be a little more movement if indeed if more games are cancelled so we’ll try to keep you up to date with all transfers involving any of the Florida Panthers.
Until next time.
Thank you for reading.
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Follow Me : @davidbub_2 Frank Rekas: @TheRatTrick David Lasseter: @davidlasseter Scott Mullin: @GreatScottsMan Paige Lewis: @RatTrickLewiz Gabrielle Kiger: @gabbykiger Chrissy Parente: @chrissaay44 Adam Reid: @AdamReid_Justen Rosenberg @justenrosenberg Kris Eberwein @kriseberwein Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530
As each new season approaches, we begin to look forward to that first moment when the games begin and count for real. You circle the date on your calendar months in advance, and you might even put a reminder a week before in your cell phone. Some of us get one of those countdown widgets too since we like to antagonize ourselves about how far away it is, yet get excited the closer it gets. No plans can be made on that date other than watching or being at that opening game. Your team has a bright outlook to start out, and has high hopes to compete and perform better than the season before. You too have the feeling that there might be something different about this year’s group that gives hope that it’s going to be a special year. Many teams begin their season having to deal with all the prognosticators announcing that fans have nothing to look forward to other than another season of ineptitude, broken hearts, or promises that will not be fulfilled. Another year of high hopes, ending with shattered dreams, and I told you so’s. There comes a time however when teams use that as a catalyst to have a season that no one saw coming. Not even you.
You’ve seen it before I’m sure. A team who is expected to finish last in their division or conference just seems to have “it” as the season begins, and doesn’t seem to lose “it” the longer the season goes. New faces bring a fresh attitude, and an energy level that seemed to have been missing from seasons past. Some of these players are wily veterans making one last go of it as they chase either their first, or one more championship. Or they are journeymen who never had the chance to show what they can do if given the right opportunity in the right setting. Something about them allows them to have their “career year” at just the right time. Sprinkle in a few rookies to add that youthful feeling of not knowing any better, and before you know it, things seem to be looking up.
The inevitable has begun. This afternoon the NHL announced that a total of 82 games have been cancelled from opening night through October 24th. Your plans for seeing the Florida Panthers raise their first ever championship banner have been put on hold. The announcement shouldn’t have come as a shock, however I question the date that was chosen. Maybe I should be impressed that the 82 games actually symbolizes that an entire season could be cancelled.
Here’s a statement from NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly:
“We were extremely disappointed to have to make today’s announcement.
The game deserves better, the fans deserve better and the people who derive
income from their connection to the NHL deserve better.
“We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an
agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams and good for our
“This is not about ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ a negotiation. This is about
finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the
League and the game.
“We are committed to getting this done.”
Yes, Bill I’m sure you are. (Insert sarcasm).
I have been trying for some time to see if there’s any silver lining in the black cloud of the NHL lockout. Looking for something, anything that would provide a moment of pleasure, or relief in knowing that something good just might come out of all this. As the NHL and NHLPA meander their way to a resolution, which doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight at the moment, I have taken solace in determining that finally, the rumors of ex Florida Panther goaltender Roberto Luongo making a return to South Florida have not only been quieted, but hopefully “sqaushed, and possibly for good.
Removing himself from the Canadian hockey hot bed of Vancouver has admittedly been a desire of the netminder all summer, however in an article that appeared in the Vancouver Province by Jason Botchford it seems to indicate that Luongo may now feel otherwise. It’s no secret that talks between clubs are now off limits, as no player trades can be made during the work stoppage. Thankfully the current labor strife gives both sides (Vancouver and Florida) a rest period from the situation, and allows the Panthers to hold on to what they have, and not make a financial mistake. I applaud Panther general manager Dale Tallon for sticking to his guns and not mortgaging the future for a goaltender that is likely on the way down, and looking for an “escape”. Players need to know that coming to South Florida isn’t just about the weather, beaches and golf courses. Dale Tallon is here to win hockey games, and each and every player who walks into that dressing room better be prepared to do the same. The country club atmosphere is over.
Let’s face it. You like hockey. No, you love hockey. Don’t try to deny because you know that I’m right. By watching videos like the one above, we all know how we yearn for the excitement of the game. With the NHL lockout in full swing, and the threat of the season not starting for quite some time, you can still get your “hockey fix”, and it’s literally right in your own backyard. The FAU Owls who are coached by former Florida Panther tough guy, Peter Worrell, and play all of their home games at the Saveology Iceplex in Coral Springs where the Florida Panthers practice.