A couple months ago it was revealed to the world that Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen and Baseball Hall of Fame third baseman Wade Boggs were tangled up in a bromance. They spent their time fishing; just two dudes bonding over Donald Fehr in a boat.
It’s possible, and wow would I be excited to see Wade Boggs sitting in BB&T Center enjoying a tune and being featured on the jumbotron. Fewer things give me such joy than seeing a grown man dance – squirm in his seat– like grandpa after a few too many drinks.
Now that the season is gearing up (finally) that bromance is going to have to take a back seat to more important things like, coaching the Panthers to and through the playoffs. In order to build on last seasons success, the next step will have to be making it through the first round, and the expectation is certainly there. So what’s going on with the Panthers now that this lockout is behind us? Some noteworthy things.
Jacob Markstrom: He’s had a terrific season with the San Antonio Rampage. His stats are quite solid for a goaltender of his age (22). 25 games played with a record of 11-12, (2 shootout losses included), a GAA of 2.75 and SV% of .913. All in all, not too shabby for a very young goalie, who also garnered playoff experience with the Rampage in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. He could prove to be a very bright spot moving forward.
Alexei Kovalev: Not a bright spot. This is Kovalev’s swan song. He wants to make a comeback after leaving for the KHL and finish his career in hockey as an NHL player. I’m not cool with it. The Panthers don’t need a 39 year old who might put up points, and might just go through the motions. For more on Kovalev, read Jameson Cooper’s post here.
Wade Boggs: Guys I’m really clinging to the possibility he has more embarrassing moves in his arsenal that we can all enjoy.
Jonathan Huberdeau: The kid is impressive. He’s the captain of his QMJHL junior team the Saint John Sea Dogs, and is putting up impressive numbers there. The performance of Team Canada at the 2013 WJHC was dismal, and yes, disappointing. That shouldn’t be an indication of his ability, and he should be able to crack this lineup at least for the first 5 regular season games.
Dale Tallon: You can tell he puts a lot of trust and energy into carving a team and staff around him. His approval and encouraging words about his staff reinforce the idea that these are the people who are going to make the right choices and bring this team closer to a championship. Unlike other NHL teams, the relationship between all aspects of Panthers hockey members seems to be smooth and working like a well oiled machine. All the pieces are in place, now it’s time to utilize them.
I’ve risen out of my NHL hibernation, and much like Kristen Wiig, I’m ready to party with the best of them.