The Cats are back home in Sunrise at the BankAtlantic Center tonight for the first time during this preseason. The Cats returned Sunday from a ten day road trip that logged over 10,000 miles, including a trip to the Caribbean.
Some things to watch for tonight:
Tonight you will see a new and improved defense. Jay Bouwmeester, Bryan Allen, Ruslan Salei and Mike Van Ryn are the new top four defensemen. This is a HUGE improvement over the last four or five seasons. Allen, an excellent stay at home defenseman, will give Bouwmeester more offensive freedom, and Salei will do the same for Van Ryn. Both Allen and Salei are big, physical, no nonsense players. Tonight you will also see Alex Auld making his debut on BankAtlantic Center ice.
One of the most exciting players and best goal scorers in the NHL, Ilya Kovalchuk, is in Sunrise to test this all new Panthers defense. Kovalchuk's set up man - Marc Savard - took off for Boston during free agency. It will be interesting to see who ends up being his center.
With eight regular season match-ups during 2006-07, it will be nice to set a good tone by beating Atlanta tonight. The two teams face each other next Saturday, October 7th for their first regular season contest.
Looking forward to seeing you all at the game tonight. I'll be be back on the air on 560 WQAM with Randy "Red Deer" Moller on Opening Night as the Cats take on the Bruins next Friday, October 6th at 7:30 p.m. at the BankAtlantic Center.