It was a perfect day for outdoor hockey as the Florida Panthers
took to the ice Saturday afternoon at Central Park's Lasker Rink for a little bit of classic pond hockey.
"It was unbelievable," rookie Erik Gudbranson
told NHL.com, "Sometimes (outdoors), this is where you have the most fun playing hockey so it was awesome."
The Florida Panthers
skate for a practice outside at Central Park's Lasker Rink. (Photo courtesy of Kate Cochran)
The Southeast-Division leading Panthers, who play Sunday evening against the New York Rangers
at Madison Square Garden, opted to hold their practice at Central Park as a treat for the players after playing in back-to-back road games Thursday and Friday night.
"We felt that there's no place more special to be than New York City around the Christmas holidays and we wanted to do something special so we came out here to Central Park," coach Kevin Dineen
said. "You can just tell how much fun the guys are having; we're having a tough time getting them off the ice."
Rather than hold a typical mid-season practice, Dineen organized a round-robin, three-on-three tournament for the team. The rink was split into three sections with four-foot wide goals made of cones at each end. Panther netminders Jose Theodore
and Scott Clemmensen
skated out with the rest of the players as no goalies were allowed in the tournament. Coaches even joined in the fun as members of the three-on-three teams.