When speaking about the beginning of the season, most coaches will stress the importance of getting off too a great start. And there is some truth to that. The Toronto Maple Leafs 0-7-1 start last year doomed their season before it even really began. If you asked Pete DeBoer the ingredients for his recipe of a great start, a Western Canada road trip to start would probably not make the list. But that is the hill the Panthers are going to have to climb to their great start.
The numbers are not on their side. The Cats hold a 8-15-7 (ties and/or OT losses) all-time in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. And things won’t be any easier this time. All three teams (Oilers, Canucks, Flames) won in the Bank Atlantic Center last season. The Oilers, last year’s worst team, looks to be improved offensively with the rookie trio of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Markus Paajarvi. The Canucks are picked by some to win the Stanley Cup, even with Luongo in goal. And the Flames were in a tailspin last season, but still managed a win against the Panthers.
The challenge is a double edged sword, and this club doesn’t have a recent track record of rising to challenges. But if this Panthers team wants to show that they are a different breed, they couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.
Odds N’ Sods
- Mitch Phillips did ok as the new PA announcer for the Bank Atlantic Center, but I still wish Bill Murphy had the gig. This is partly because I won Metallica tickets back in 1989 from him when he was the weeknights DJ on WSHE.
-Was disappointed to find no new player merch in PantherLand after Friday’s game. No Gudbranson or Kulikov player tees but plenty of leftover Horton shirts on clearance. C’mon guys!
-I think Jason Garrison is going to have himself a nice little year here. Most of the Panthers best chances (and the goal) on Friday came with his involvement.
-Player movement thus far, according to the Miami Herald’s George Richards has Jacob Markstrom being sent back to Rochester. Andrew Peters, Michael Grabner and Joe Callahan have been waived.
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