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Plagens' Points: Baseball Trip, Coaching Updates & More

by Doug Plagens / Florida Panthers


Welcome back to another edition! We’ve got several items to cover.
 
Since the last time we spoke, we’ve seen the unveiling of the Florida Panthers new logo and jerseys, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup, and with the draft upcoming, a lot of attention has turned toward preparations for the ’16-17 campaign.  The Panthers also acquired Jared McCann and draft picks from Vancouver, and we have had some coaching additions throughout the organization!  Let’s hit on some of the most important hockey things to happen lately.
 

IMPORTANT HOCKEY THINGS HAPPENING NOW

 
- I can’t wait to see the Panthers new logo and jerseys in action in just a few months.  I love the new look; it’s clean and authoritative, and there’s a great story behind the logo with the insignia of the 101st Airborne Division serving as the inspiration.  The center stripe, as well as the way the laces on the jersey “tie in” with the Florida State Flag are really going to help set the jersey’s look apart, in addition to the “Captain” stripe on the shoulder.  The jerseys look great, and again, a huge thanks to everyone who came out to the event on June 2nd, and everyone who watched our livestream.
 
-When the Panthers hit the ice to begin the season, two new coaches will be on Gerard Gallant’s staff: Scott Allen and Dave Barr.  Allen started last season as the assistant coach under Tom Rowe with the Panthers AHL affiliate in Portland, and took over the head coaching role after Rowe’s promotion to Associate GM in Florida.  Prior to last season, Allen was the assistant coach under Rowe with the San Antonio Rampage.  Allen has coached extensively at the NHL, AHL, and ECHL levels during his career.  Barr was most recently an assistant coach on Dan Bylsma’s staff in Buffalo, and he reunites with Gallant, his Detroit Red Wings teammate from ’86-87 to ’90-91.  Barr has been an assistant coach in the NHL since ’08-09, and prior to that, he had an impressive run as the General Manager and as GM/Head Coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm.  A fun fact: with the 1980-81 Lethbridge Broncos (WHL), Barr was a teammate of Randy Moller.
 
-Geordie Kinnear was named head coach of the Panthers AHL affiliate in Springfield.  Kinnear is just 42 and has 13 years of assistant coaching experience under his belt prior to this opportunity, his first head coaching job.  He’ll be able to draw on his playing and coaching experience in guiding the Panthers AHL team. He also has familiarity working with Panthers GM Tom Rowe; Kinnear was Rowe’s assistant coach in Albany during the 2007-08 season.
 
-Jared McCann brings a ton of upside to the Panthers lineup.  A forward who just turned 20 on May 31st, he can play center or wing, and he adds to the developing young core of the Panthers that has already captured an Atlantic Division title.  He was taken 24th overall in 2014, and has received praise in the past for his two-way game.  He’s coming off 18 points in his first 69 NHL games last season, and concluded his junior career with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in ’13-14, when he registered 81 points in 56 games.  During the first two of his three seasons with the Greyhounds, he was a teammate of Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Winning goalie Matt Murray.
 
-In mentioning the Penguins, congratulations to them for capturing the Stanley Cup.  The three games the Panthers played against Pittsburgh this season were three of the tightest and most entertaining games of the season; can’t wait to find out when the next round of Panthers-Penguins matchups will take place.
 

OTHER THINGS I’VE BEEN UP TO

 
-#BaseballTrip16 is in the books. After visiting Tropicana Field, Turner Field, and Marlins Park for five games over five days at the end of May, the fifth installment of the annual baseball road trip is in the books.  I’m six parks away from visiting all 30 active parks, but with Turner Field’s doors closing after this season, I’ll lose one.  Most notable baseball event of the trip: seeing Jose Fernandez pitch in-person for the first time.  Flagship food from the trip: Portillo’s in Brandon, FL; Cook-Out in Morrow, GA, an Atlanta suburb.
 
-My Summer music calendar really gets going with the first of my three visits to the Vans Warped Tour on July 1st in St. Petersburg, FL.  As I’ve mentioned before, three Warped Tours and the three-day Chicago Open Air festival are on the docket for July, while A Day To Remember/Blink 182 and Atlanta’s Wrecking Ball await in August.  I may fit in another one or two; we’ll see.  I saw Refused last week at Revolution, and I haven’t seen many bands rock harder or have a commanding presence onstage quite like Refused did.
 
-I may add a review of a relatively new album release to each installment of Plagens Points.  I’ll start it right now.  This week’s pick: Beartooth-Aggressive.  Every track rocks, the musicianship is smooth for a heavy album, and I can’t wait to see the new stuff played at Chicago Open Air.
 
-Don’t forget: you can always chime in on Twitter @DougPlagens.
 
‘Til next time, that’ll do it from here.
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