By Edyna B. Garcia, University of Miami
|The Panthers held two scrimmages on Sunday with Team White getting the upper hand in both games.
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.— The Florida Panthers Training Camp scratched up the ice today as the players participated in two split-scrimmage games where they displayed drive and hunger, promising a successful first preseason game, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 19 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
The players were divided into two teams for the scrimmage: one red and one white. Though the white team won both games – first game 4-3, second game 2-0 – everyone played aggressively and displayed great enthusiasm.
“It was the first game we’ve played since last season,” said Panthers Forward Thomas Fleischmann. “It was fun, it was just getting to know the guys on the line and just getting used to playing hockey again.”
The team, consisting of both veteran and prospective players, took advantage of their time on the ice and used the scrimmages as a way of understanding each other’s techniques in preparation for the first preseason game.
“It was pretty much a bunch of new guys out here trying to figure out how everybody is playing so you know how to keep things open for them, and when to pass the puck to them. That’s what the scrimmage is there for,” said Fleischmann.
Other players await the opening games anxiously, understanding that it is their time to prove themselves to the coaches and staff of the Panthers.
LW Angelo Esposito, 21, returns to the sport after being limited in two years in the AHL while recovering from two consecutive knee injuries. His post-recovery trade from the Winnipeg Jets to the Florida Panthers came as a bit of a shock, but Esposito has high-hopes for his career with the team and looks forward to the opening preseason game.
“I’m going to get my shot there and show them what I could do, and just work hard,” said Esposito. “It’s a tough roster to crack and hopefully I’ll make it in that crack and get to be part of it. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
The Panthers’ leadership is also looking to the start of the pre-season as the opportunity to see the veterans and prospective players on the ice, in their element, in front of the Cats’ fans and doing what they do best – playing hockey.
“When you’ve seen guys that are working hard, you want to give them the respect for the effort that they’ve put in,” said Panthers Coach Kevin Dineen. “We’ve signed players who are going to get a good look at the exhibition games, so I think it’s an advantage from a coaching point-of-view.Tickets:
Cats’ fans are encouraged to attend the pre-season games at the BankAtlantic Center, Sept. 19, 24 and 27. Students are encouraged to bring their student identification to the game on the 19th to earn free entrance for themselves and a guest in celebration of Hockey Day in South Florida. Additional guests can purchase a ticket for $10. For more ticket information, call 954-845-PUCK.