Editor’s Note: I’m sure you noticed last week’s version of The Panther Prowler was titled ‘The Panther Prowler 11’ but I miscalculated the amount of Panther Prowler articles I had written. I fixed that mistake this morning renaming last week’s edition ‘The Panther Prowler 10’. Sorry for the mistake.
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES! It’s finally October! Today is October 1st. The Twitter hashtags in hockey nation are changing from #IsitOctoberYet to #IsitOctober12Yet but for Panther nation the hashtag is #IsitOctober13Yet. We have survived the long summer wait. In just 13 days, the Panthers will play a meaningful hockey game for the first time since 11:10pm ET on April 24, 2016 when John Tavares dashed the hopes of the Cats first Cup in 2015-16 with a beautiful wrap-around… [Rest of sentence deleted because it is too painful to say]. Anyway let’s start the month of Orange and Halloween and hockey with the 11th edition of The Panther Prowler.
1st Week of Preseason Recap
The Panthers went 1-2 in the 1st week of preseason.
Tuesday September 27 vs. Nashville (Game 1) W 4-1
Jonathan Ang had a great performance in his only preseason game of 2016 putting up 1 goal and 1 assist. James Reimer was sharp in his Panthers debut stopping all 12 shots that faced him in 30 minutes of play before Sam Brittan came in. Dryden Hunt, Greg McKegg and Jonathan Marchessault scored the other three goals for the Cats.
Tuesday September 27 vs. Nashville (Game 2) L 1-2
Nashville got off to a hot start in the 1st period scoring two goals on Roberto Luongo. The 37 year old net minder made 11 saves on 13 shots that he faced in his half-game. Paul Thompson who was acquired in the Marc Savard trade scored Florida’s lone goal in the 2nd period.
Thursday September 29 @ Tampa Bay L 0-2
Lightning goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis had a fantastic game turning away all 21 shots that he faced. Jeremy Morin scored a goal and the Bolts got insurance late in the game from Panthers prospect Dryden Hunt’s teammate in juniors Brayden Point. James Reimer made 18 saves on 19 shots and Reto Berra made 9 saves in the third period. The powerplay was a big headache for Florida all night as they couldn’t convert on any of the 6 chances they had.
Ekblad had Whiplash, cleared to play, Panther nation sighs a sigh of relief
Florida Panthers fans were able to take a sigh of relief after team doctors cleared 20 year old stud defenseman Aaron Ekblad to play. Ekblad had whiplash from a big hit by Leo Komarov in the World Cup of Hockey. This is good news because if Ekblad did have a concussion it would have been his third and he isn’t even at the legal age to drink in the United States. Ekblad as I mentioned in The Panther Prowler 10 had suffered two concussions prior. His first in 2014 at the World Juniors and his second in January after a dirty boarding hit from behind by Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Hendricks. Ekblad’s mentor and former Panthers Captain Willie Mitchell just recently retired after suffering 7 concussions in his career. So, Ekblad’s concussion count is back at 2. Ekblad has not played in a preseason game yet this year.
The Panthers have narrowed down their roster to 35 after a series of cuts. Here are the players who got cut and where they will be going:
Springfield (AHL): F Chase Baisly, F Graham Black, F Juho Lammikko, D Josh Brown, D Michael Downing, D Linus Hultstrom, G Sam Brittan, G Colin Stevens, F Jayce Hawryluk (As soon as he is cleared to play after suffering hand injury)
Tryouts for Springfield (AHL): F Rihards Bukarts, F Anthony Greco, F Zac Lynch, D Ed Wittchow
Waivers: D Jonathan Racine, D Brent Regner, G Mike McKenna
Juniors: F Jonathan Ang, F Adam Mascherin, D Riley Stillman, G Samuel Montembeault
PTO Releases: F Justin Fontaine, F Ryan Horvat, F Stephen MacAulay
Biggest Surprise: F Justin Fontaine- I was surprised we cut Fontaine because he has had success at NHL Level and would solve the 13th forward dilemma.
Week 2 Preseason Games
Sunday October 2nd Dallas (London, Ontario) Budweiser Gardens 3:30pm ET
Tuesday October 4th Dallas (Dallas, Texas) American Airlines Center 8:30pm ET
Thursday October 6th Tampa Bay (Sunrise, Florida) BB&T Center 7:30pm ET
Saturday October 8th New Jersey (West Point, New York) Tate Rink 7:00pm ET
Coverage for Games
TV: Oct 8 NJ 7pm Fox Sports Florida
PANTHERS ON YOUTUBE
The Pucking Panthers are finally back and here is what they had to say:
See you next week!