Despite the chaotic last five months, it seems as if Panther fans are more excited than ever to finally watch the talented and dynamic 20-year-old, Jonathan Huberdeau. Since the lockout has been lifted, most of the players have reported back to sunny South Florida, including Huberdeau who made a surprise appearance at Saveology Iceplex yesterday morning.
Over the past few days, my boss Frank and I have been trying to muster up the perfect term to describe the Panthers newest addition, Jonathan Huberdeau. In lieu of Johnny Manziel (“Johnny Football”) given the honor as the first freshman to ever win the Heisman, Frank thought it was appropriate to keep it simple and name our very own rookie, “Johnny Hockey”. Unfortunately for us, “Johnny Hockey”, has already been coined by Huberdeau’s fellow hockey mate and Team USA rival, Jonathan Gaudreau.
Just like any sport, there will always be that one rival whom you are always compared to. So we decided to create a rivalry between the Panthers very own Johnny Hockey (Jonathan Huberdeau) and the original Johnny Hockey (Jonathan Gaudreau). Both of these young talents are exceptional athletes who have been given a gift, the gift of good hands, good feet, and intelligence. But it’s up to the fans to decide who will be named, the REAL Johnny Hockey.
The NHL Lockout officially ended this past Sunday, and by Monday January 14th, teams will begin holding their first official training camps. Just a few short days later on Saturday January 19th, the NHL will open their (abbreviated) season. The Florida Panthers have been holding informal workouts at the Glacier Ice Arena in Pompano Beach, and yesterday switched to the friendly confines of the Saveology Ice Plex in Coral Springs.
Since the new CBA agreement hasn’t been ratified by the players yet, the Cats will continue to hold informal workouts in Coral Springs, and the first official practice with coaches will be Monday after taking their physicals Sunday. My guess is that as usual, these workouts will be open to the public, so I expect to see you there.
Moving ahead the Panthers as you know will be inviting some non roster players to try out for the team. Marek Svatos, Alexei Kovalev and Andrei Kostitsyn all have invites and are expected to be given an opportunity to make the squad. Hampered by injuries, and needing scoring, any one of these three veteran players can help, provided that they are in game shape, and ready to produce. Don’t expect great things from them, but if any or all of them can play well consistenlty, it will be a breathe of fresh air. The most intriguing addition could be Kovalev, who is an extremely gifted player even at 39 years old. He can be helpful on both the power play as well as in shootouts.
In an effort to quickly re-energize and promote ticket sales the Florida Panthers have announced their new ticket campaign for the start of the season. The slogan for the campaign will be “Get It On”, and will coincide with the organization dedicating the season to you “The 7th Man”.
Here is the official announcement from the Florida Panthers website.
As the announcement indicates, the Panthers are coming off one of their most succesful campaigns in their short history, and the abbreviated season due to the lockout, will create some intense excitement for all. The hope is that fans take advantage of this offer, and fill the BB & T Center to create a playoff like atmosphere every night. Whether there are 48 or 50 total games, each game will be important, and a quick start is needed, and your support is wanted.
There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming days and weeks as we all prepare for the start of the season.
* New Podcasts from the gang here at Panther Parkway are in the works!
* Practices are slated to start as early as this weekend. Will we see you there?
* The formation of this season’s roster, which will include some new faces, as well as the return of some of last season’s hero’s.
* The tentative date for the start of the season is Saturday January 19th.
* You heard of Johnny Football haven’t you? Well we can look forward to “getting it on” with “Johnny Hockey“, as Jonathan Huberdeau is expected to make his NHL debut.
Thank you for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
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