The Florida Panthers take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight in a game that will feature a number of familiar faces. The Canucks feature a lineup full of ex-Panthers: Roberto Luongo, Mike Santorelli, Chris Higgins, David Booth, Jason Garrison. With all the former Panthers in the Vancouver lineup, tonight’s game is required viewing, even with the 10:00 p.m. start time.
More importantly than checking in on old friends, this game is a must-watch because the Panthers have a chance to continue the upward trajectory that they began with their wins over the Anaheim Ducks and Colorado Avalanche. Those two wins got me thinking that a turnaround this season is a real possibility but as a long suffering Panther fan, I am always reticent to get too optimistic too soon. That is rule number one when rooting for the Panthers, never get too optimistic too soon or else this team will rip your heart out….
On that note, here is the latest from Panther-land:
- The 82-game regular season is a grind and occasionally players and coaches need to take a moment to enjoy some light-hearted fun. Thats precisely what the Panthers did at Monday’s practice in Vancouver, according to George Richards.
- When the Panthers drafted Aleksander Barkov over the summer, GM Dale Tallon talked about being big down the middle. Florida’s radio announcer Randy Moller thinks the Panthers are getting closer to achieving that goal.
- Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel reports that one of Tim Thomas main reasons for returning to the NHL was for the chance to play for team USA in the upcoming Sochi Olympics. Thomas may seem like a long shot but if he is playing well enough when the time comes, he will certainly get his chance. Nashville Predators and Team USA GM David Piole said of Thomas, “If he’s one of the best three goalies, he’s going to Sochi.”
- Over in San Antonio and the AHL, the Rampage split their two games over the weekend beating the Iowa Wild 5-2 on Friday and losing 4-2 on Saturday to the Rockford IceHogs.Vincent Trocheck scored two goals and one assist over the weekend bringing his team leading point total to 15 (8 goals, 7 assists).