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Matheson's Mailbag: Lessons Learned, Redhead Pride

The Florida Panthers defenseman answers Twitter questions

by Mike Matheson mmatheson19 / Florida Panthers Defenseman

Throughout the entire 2016-17 season, Florida Panthers rookie defenseman Mike Matheson will be answering all of your questions about life on and off the ice his monthly mailbag for

Have a question you want answered? Tweet them using #MathesonsMailbag!

Tweet from @M34M93N39: How did the World Cup of Hockey prepare you for your upcoming NHL season? #MathesonsMailbag

I'd say it was a combination of the playoffs and the world championship that really helped me get ready. But, obviously, being able to play with the players that we had on Team Canada certainly helped a lot, so I learned as much as I could from them. When you're playing against some of the best players in the world it definitely prepares you for the skill level of the NHL. 


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In the Pipeline: Storybook Start for Springfield

Springfield wins sold-out home opener, college Cats put up numbers & more

by Mike Lewis /

The story of the Springfield Thunderbirds inaugural home opener couldn't have been written any better. 
In front of a sell-out crowd of 6,793, the Thunderbirds defeated the St. John's IceCaps in a 5-4 overtime thriller at the MassMutual Center.

Forward Dryden Hunt scored the first T-Birds goal on a sharp angle shot to tie the game 1-1 before the IceCaps jumped ahead to a 3-1 lead. In a wild third period, Paul Thompson got Springfield within one, but St. John's was able to pull ahead 4-2. 

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Jagr featured on

A look at Jagr's milestones, contemporaries and more

by Staff /

Jaromir Jagr made history last week, becoming the third player in NHL history - joining Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe - to hit the 750 goal mark.

That's the first milestone he's hit this season - and there are a few more on the horizon - to add to a long list of notable statistical marks he hit last season with the Panthers. But the question remains; how high can Jagr climb on the charts?

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Cats and Coffee: Panthers Hitting the Road

by Jameson Olive JamesonCoop /

Good morning and welcome to "Cats & Coffee," a weekly segment presented by Community Coffee in which we get you caffeinated with an exciting look at the week ahead for the Florida Panthers.

The Florida Panthers embark on their first multi-game road trip of the season this week, brimming with confidence after a dominating 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche at the BB&T Center on Saturday night.

"It was a big win," said Panthers forward Jonathan Marchessault, who leads the team with seven points in five games this season. "Last game, it was unfortunate that we didn't come out hard in the third period. But tonight we did a really good job playing a good three periods. It was a good win.

"I think all of our group should be confident right now. We're doing a really good job of playing all three periods and keeping the puck out of our net. I think our defensive zone has been good, but there's always room to improve."

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game recap

Shane Harper leads Panthers past Avalanche

Rookie forward scores first two NHL goals in win

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Nine days after making his NHL debut at the age of 27, Florida Panthers forward Shane Harper scored his first NHL goal Saturday. For good measure, he scored again in a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 at BB&T Center.

"There's time when you think like (you'll never score an NHL goal), for sure, but I've been pretty confident in myself that it would come," Harper said. "I always thought I just needed to get my shot. But yeah, sometimes there is doubt over the years, but you just have to have confidence in yourself."

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Panthers Recall Forward Kyle Rau from Springfield

23-year-old is former Panthers third-round pick

by Staff /

SUNRISE, Fla. - Florida Panthers President of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon announced today that the Panthers have recalled forward Kyle Rau from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL).

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Panthers Rank 7th on ESPN's Ultimate Standings

Panthers named top South Florida sports franchise

by Staff /

 SUNRISE, Fla. - ESPN the Magazine announced today that the Florida Panthers have been ranked seventh in the magazine's annual Ultimate Standings which measure how much NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB franchises give back to the fans in exchange for all the time, money and emotion the fans invest in them. The Panthers reached the list's top-10 for the first time, while also ranking third among all NHL teams and first among all South Florida sports franchises.
"We are honored that ESPN the Magazine has chosen the Panthers as the best sports franchise in South Florida and the seventh-best team among the four major sports," said Panthers Executive Chairman Peter Luukko. "Our organization has made great strides over the years both on and off the ice and we are committed to providing our fans with a winning product, great value and first class entertainment, while also giving back to our community."

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Rats Roundup - Top 10 on ESPN, More Jagr History

ESPN ranks the Panthers seventh among North American Sports Franchises

by Kyle Morrison /

The Cats fell last night to last season's President's Trophy winners, the Washington Capitals, by a score of 4-2. But the game wasn't without its positive notes, starting with some more history for Jaromir Jagr.


Video: WSH@FLA: Jagr nets PPG for 750th of career

Jagr took a pass in the slot and fired it past Braden Holtby for his 750th career goal - and the first powerplay goal for the Panthers this season - during the second period of last night's game.

Sure, 750 is a nice (and astronomically large) round number, but the real significance is in just who in the league has reached that mark. Aside from Jagr, the only other two are Gordie Howe (801) and The Great One, Wayne Gretzky (894).

So, congratulations are in order for Jagr.


Many pundits pegged the Panthers as a top-10 team in the NHL this season, but the Cats climbed up in another ranking today.

ESPN's Ultimate Standings dropped today - an annual ranking of all 122 North American sports franchises across the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL - and for the first time in franchise history, the Panthers cracked the top ten.

That's right - after checking in at 48th last season (and 102 in 2014), the Cats checked in at seventh on the list.

The team scored exemplary marks in categories like affordability (sixth), bang for the buck (third), fan relations (ninth) and ownership (25th), while showing growth in categories like coaching (74th last year, 36th this year) and title track (94th to 52nd).

The Panthers also jumped up to third among NHL teams, checking in one spot behind the Nashville Predators (sixth overall) and their cross-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who took the list's top spot among all teams.

Click here to see the full list, or here to see ESPN's writeup on their Florida Panthers ranking.

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Marchessault Off to a Hot Start with Panthers

25-year-old winger standing out early in season

by Jameson Olive JamesonCoop /

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Jonathan Marchessault found himself in a new situation at the Panthers IceDen last week, surrounded by cameras and hounded with questions about what the Florida Panthers needed to do to maintain their hot start to the 2016-17 season.

"We've had a pretty good start," he said. "I think our whole team is playing pretty good. We've had some injuries early, but I think we have a good character team and we've been playing good defensively. It's been a few good games for us.

"We have really good players. It's just good to see that we have some depth down in our lineup. I think that's a really positive thing for our team, especially the coaches. It seems like guys can step in anywhere in the lineup."

Having entered the NHL as an undrafted free agent, Marchessault isn't exactly used to living life in the spotlight. He's been predominantly utilized as a reserve forward since first turning pro in 2011, but always felt that his game had more to offer teams, especially in the offensive zone.

"I take pride in my overall game," said Marchessault, who scored 70 goals in his final two seasons with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. "I just want to make the right plays. When I get in the offensive zone, I take pride in making the right plays. I give a lot of effort for that."

Intrigued by his potential, the Panthers signed Marchessault to a two-year contract this summer, hoping that the motivated 25-year-old would provide an offensive spark to the club's up-tempo system and bottom-six forward group. 

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In the Pipeline: A Weekend of Firsts

by Mike Lewis /

In the Pipeline takes a weekly look at the Panthers prospect pool, highlighting the organization's players in the minor leagues, college, juniors and more.

Opening Weekend for Thunderbirds

Last weekend officially kicked off the Springfield Thunderbirds inaugural season. The T-Birds split their first two games on the road against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (4-2 L) and Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-1 W).

In Springfield's first-ever regular season game on Saturday vs. Lehigh Valley, forward Anthony Greco made AHL history as the first player to score for the Thunderbirds in regular season play. Forward Dryden Hunt notched a pair of firsts as he netted his first professional career goal and the first power-play goal in Thunderbirds history. Goaltender Mike McKenna made 31 saves in the game, but the Thunderbirds fell 4-2. Hunt, Ian McCoshen and Thomas Schemitsch all made their professional debuts in Springfield's first game of the season.

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