Before The Puck Drops in Florida

Florida Panthers Rat on Hat

(Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports)

There seems to be a lot of housekeeping to do before the Panthers 2013 season gets started on January 19th at BB&T Center against the newly remodelled Carolina Hurricanes.

There are new campaigns to bring excitement and fanship to the city of Sunrise, Florida such as the “Get It On”┬ámovement. Since season tickets start at $7, which includes free parking and a red Panthers home jersey, there really is no excuse to not be a part of the “Red Rising”.

So what’s new with the Panthers? Let me enlighten you.

Versteeg’s Mo – Kris Versteeg is a backbone of comic relief for his team. Always good for a laugh, and apparently experimenting with a few different looks. Last season he grew some luscious locks that really over stayed their welcome by the end of the season. This season, he entered camp with something gracing his upper lip. A compadre, surely for media day.

“Hubeydoobydoo” – The kid is in Florida, and Jonathan Huberdeau has garnered quite the hilarious nickname for himself. I’m pretty sure if he had to choose he would prefer not to be related to Scooby Doo, but that’s just me. Of course, it’s exciting to see what Huberdeau is going to do and if he will be able to stick with the Panthers this season.

Sean Bergenheim – Back in October Bergenheim sustained a groin injury playing in Finland during the lockout. He was unable to gain medical clearance to join camp this week and has been suspended without pay. Being unfit to play, Bergenheim joins two other Panthers on the injured suspension list which include Erik Gudbranson who dislocated his shoulder wake boarding in September, and Marcel Goc.

Alexei Kovalev – His chances are heightened with the suspension of Bergenheim, which puts Kovalev one step closer to a final season to cap off his career. As Bill Lindsay said “It’s either going to be really good, or really bad.”

The Fans – It seems that the cheap tickets are a driving force in getting fans attention. And free parking, because who would ever complain about free parking? Jameson Cooper saw first hand the amount of fans packing the practice facilities all week to catch a glimpse. This is a great sign for Panthers hockey, and a good omen for the excitement created from last years playoff run.

There’s lots of upside to the new season, more importantly that there is a season to watch. Could it be more of a crowd pleaser to see the Hurricanes on opening night, though? Two Staal brothers, a team poised for success, and what should be a great test for the Panthers.

And I’m still holding out hope I’ll see Wade Boggs in the house… Is it too much to ask?


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