Panthers’ fans are very excited to see this new team take the ice. Their first taste of some action will be a rare double header against the Nashville Predators at the BankAtlantic Center on September 19th. The first game will take place at 3pm with the second taking place at 7:30. This will all be part of a bigger event, Hockey Day in South Florida. More on this event will be released soon.
The dates of the Panthers’ Rookie Camp and Main Camp will be announced halfway through August.
Meanwhile, lets examine the matchups and current rosters.
Note: All rosters and probables are tentative, especially in the preseason.
Many of you know this by heart, but here are links if you haven’t been keeping up to date.
Nashville Predators at Florida Panthers
Monday, Sept. 19th BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida. (Doubleheader) 3 and 7:30
Opposing coach: Barry Trotz
Goalie Probables: Theodore vs Rinne / Clemmensen vs Lindback
Centers: Dupont, Fisher, Legwand, O’Reilly, Smithson, Spaling, C. Wilson, K. Wilson
LWs: Dumont, Erat, Geoffrion, Klasen, Kostitsyn
RWs: Bergfors, Halischuk, Hornquist, Mueller, Stortini, Tootoo
D: Weber, Suter, Lebda, Laakso, Klein, Bouillon, Blum
What to expect: The new look Panthers will have their work cut out for them against this formidable Western Conference opponent. The Predators advanced to the second round of last seasons playoffs before being eliminated by the Canucks. Be on the lookout for Niclas Bergfors in his return to Sunrise in a different sweater. Bergfors was not a Panther for long; Tallon couldn’t justify giving him a raise after a mediocre performance. It’s possible Bergfors will want to show his old team that they made a mistake, but I’d be more concerned with Fisher, Legwand, Erat, and Weber. Panthers center Marcel Goc will face the team he has spent the last two seasons with.
Florida Panthers vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Friday, Sept. 23 St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida 7:30
Saturday, Sept. 24 BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida 7:30
Opposing Coach: Guy Boucher
Goalie Probables: Theodore vs Roloson / Clemmensen vs Garon
Centers: Lecavalier, Stamkos, Thompson, Moore
LW: Malone, Picard, Harju, Ouellet
RW: St. Louis, Downie, Purcell, Hall
D: Bergeron, Hedman, Brewer, Kubina, Ohlund, Gervais, Clark, Vernace
This cross state rivalry will heat up. I just think it is more likely to happen on October 15th, when the Panthers play their first regular season home game of 2011-12. That doesn’t mean this should be ignored. This will be an important test for many young prospects on both teams. Sean Bergenheim will face the team he scored 9 goals and 2 assists for in the playoffs to reach game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals just months ago.
Dallas Stars vs Florida Panthers
Tuesday, September 27th BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida 7:30
Thursday, September 29th American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas 8:30
Opposing coach: Still looking for a coach as of today.
Goalie Probables: Theodore vs Lehtonen / Clemmensen vs Raycroft
Centers: Ribeiro, Ott, Morin, Sutherby, Petersen, Vincour, Wandell
LW: Eriksson, Morrow, Benn, Brunnstrom
RW: Ryder, Segal, Dvorak, Sawada, Burish
D: Robidas, Grossman, Goligoski, Fistric, Larsen, Skrastins, Souray, Woywitka, Daley, Blindenbacher
Even though Brad Richards has decided to call Madison Square Garden home, don’t count out the Stars. This will be the best gauge for how ready the Panthers are for the start of the season. This is where the kinks have to be worked out now that four preseason games have passed. More ice time for the veterans who have taken it easy thus far. Our old friend Radek Dvorak will suit up for the Stars, as well as former Panthers defenceman Karlis Skrastins.
October 8th on Long Island against the Islanders will be the first regular season game, 8pm start.
Thanks for Reading. Comments are appreciated. Which match ups interest you the most? How will the Panthers fare?
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Topics: Bank Atlantic Center, Barry Trotz, Brad Richards, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Guy Boucher, Marcel Goc, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Niclas Bergfors, Preseason Schedule, Radek Dvorak, Tampa Bay Lightning, Training Camp