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 2017 IIHF World Championship will come to a close this week in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany, with Florida Panthers Nick Bjugstad (USA), Michael Matheson (CAN), Jason Demers (CAN) and Denis Malgin (SUI) all competing for a shot at a gold medal.
After nearly two weeks of exciting preliminary matches, the quarterfinals of the annual tournament will begin on Thursday, with the big winners being crowned following the championship game on Sunday, May 21.
As it stands now, Matheson and Demers have helped lead Canada to a 4-0-1 record and the top spot in Group B, combining for 14 shots, two points (1-1-2) and a plus-six rating from the blue line.
As for Florida's forwards, Bjugstad has helped USA to a 5-1-0 record and the top seed in Group A, recording three points (1-2-3) in five games, including his first goal of the tournament in a 5-3 victory over Latvia on Saturday. Malgin, meanwhile, has yet to find his way onto the scoresheet thus far, despite playing very well during Switzerland's 2-2-2 run at the event.
The full schedule for Panthers at World Championship this week is as follows:
Monday, May 15
Canada (Matheson/Demers) vs. Norway 10:15 a.m.
Tuesday, May 16
Russia vs. USA (Bjugstad) 10:15 a.m.
Czech Republic vs. Switzerland (Malgin) 10:15 a.m.
Canada (Matheson/Demers) vs. Finland 2:15 p.m.
Thursday, May 18
Saturday, May 20
Sunday, May 21
Gold Medal and Bronze Medal Game (TBD)
To stay updated with the Panthers at the World Championship visit floridapanthers.com/worlds.
The Panthers will be hosting a special Open House on Saturday, May 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in order to give both current and prospective season seat owners their first opportunity to select new seats for the 2017-18 season.
In addition to being able to check out various views from around the BB&T Center, fans will also be able to enjoy 50 percent of all Reebok merchandise at Pantherland and have a chance to meet and greet various Panthers personalities and broadcasters, including Stanley C. Panther, Viktor E. Ratt and ROAR Corps.
To RSVP for the event, click here.
BETWEEN THE ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
After sending out a tweet promoting his upcoming "Baywatch" movie, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson received a unique proposal from a very unlikely source - Florida's own Stanley C. Panther.
Unfortunately, our dream of sending Stanley to Hollywood was cut short.
Still, even though it doesn't look like he'll be working with The Rock anytime soon, we're not ready to rule out a potential Netflix series or hosting gig on Saturday Night Live for everybody's favorite feline.
Dream big, Stanley!
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
It might be the offseason, but the Panthers are always active in the community.
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
-- In the first installment of our "Season Rewind" series, we break down Reilly Smith's exceptional two-way play during his second season in Sunrise.
-- From Vincent Trocheck's first All-Star Game nod to Jaromir Jagr making history, we took a look back at the top-10 moments from Florida's 2016-17 campaign.
-- Panthers play-by-play voice Steve Goldstein recently hosted his annual Goldie's Gang Golf Classic for charity.
-- The Florida Panthers Foundation Community Champions Grant Program helped create plenty of long-lasting relationships between the team and local charitable organizations this past season.
"We didn't want a situation where we were just cutting checks to people," Panthers President & CEO Matthew Caldwell said. "We really wanted to build relationships with these charitable organizations. We wanted them to believe in us and believe in our brand and what it represents. We wanted them to become part of our family."