The Summer continues to wind down. It’s winding down to the point that perhaps by the time the next installment of Plagens Points sees the light of day, we’ll be talking about happenings in the World Cup of Hockey, the prospects tournament, and training camp. But while a few days in August still remain, here are a few quick hits on games that we should all have on the radar for various reasons. After that, let’s talk about some of the fun we’ve been having!
A FEW KEY DATES IN ’16-17
(And remember, tickets for this season are on sale, so get yours ASAP)
-For obvious reasons, opening night against New Jersey (October 13th) is a key date. I can’t wait to see this year’s edition of the Panthers – the new additions to the roster and the new uniforms – on the ice for the first time in a regular season game.
-The Panthers fourth game of the season (October 20th) features the Washington Capitals visiting the BB&T Center. That’s a great early-season measuring stick game. The last game of the regular season will be on the road against Washington (April 9th).
-The Cats' first look at Toronto’s Auston Matthews, the top pick in the draft, is at Air Canada Centre (October 27th) but the Leafs make a pair of trips to Sunrise (December 28th and March 14th).
-Four matchups with Tampa Bay are on the schedule this season, down from five last year. They’re all huge games, but like last season, there’s a good chance that the final game of the season series could be very large; it’ll be in Tampa on March 11th. Remember the last meeting with the Lightning in ’15-16? The Panthers and Lightning were tied atop the Atlantic while the Panthers led the head-to-head series, but Tampa Bay had the overall tiebreaker. Again, every game against the Lightning is a rivalry game, and they visit Sunrise November 7th and January 26th.
-Growing up in Detroit, I saw countless historic moments at Joe Louis Arena, and this season is the final season for the Red Wings in the building that’s been their home since December 27th, 1979. October 30th and December 1st are the two regular season visits for the Panthers to The Joe this season.
-Wednesday January 18th will be the Panthers first and only visit to the new arena in Edmonton in the regular season. Last year, we said goodbye to Rexall Place, and now we can’t wait to see Rogers Place!
-Between February 11th and February 20th, the Panthers will visit Nashville, swing through the three California cities, and hit St. Louis on the way back. This will be a big road trip for the team against five quality opponents. It’s also a great trip for “Dining with Doug”! Jack’s BBQ in Nashville, In-N-Out Burger in California, and Sauce On The Side for calzones in St. Louis!
First of all, I’d like to send a huge thanks to all the participants who took part in the 2016 Panthers Broadcast & Game Presentation Camp at the BB&T Center on the evening of August 17th. Our 20 participants did on-camera segments with Steve Goldstein and Randy Moller, called radio play-by-play with Octavio Sequera and me, and experienced in-game presentation as the public address announcer and behind the scenes with instruction from Jon Adams and the Panthers entire game presentation crew. As a staff, we had a great time putting on the event, and it looked like a great time was had by all!
My big takeaways from the event: I really admired the confidence of the kids! It was great to see their passion for learning, and for the Panthers! I would have loved to attend an event like that when I was in middle school or high school.
Missed this year’s edition? Don’t worry, we’ll be doing another one at some point down the road because this year’s camp was a resounding success! Again, we can’t thank the participants enough, but I’d also like to extend a huge thanks to all the Panthers staff who helped with the event, and to our pals at Papa John’s for feeding all of us that night!
’16-17 RADIO NETWORK
Speaking of broadcasting, you may have seen the headline here recently regarding the Panthers Radio Network for the coming season! We’re really excited to have our flagship station, 560 WQAM, as well as FOX Sports 640 in West Palm Beach, WAXE 107.9/1370 on the Treasure Coast, and our newest affiliate, 100.3 Thunder Country in the Florida Keys, on board for our English broadcasts this season! For the folks down south who tune in on 100.3: I’m told you can hear the station from the lower keys up to the Southwest reaches of Miami-Dade, so you can tune in from your car, house, or boat! Needless to say, I can’t wait to get back on the air with Billy Lindsay, Alex Donno, Kevin Rogers and the entire crew to bring you more Panthers hockey!
We’re also thrilled to have our Spanish broadcast partners, ESPN Deportes 1210 in Miami and ESPN Deportes 760 in West Palm Beach, back in the fold for home games this season. What’s more? The popular broadcast duo of Arley Londono and Octavio Sequera are back and ready to go in ’16-17!
-I recently took home a new bright orange Mustang from Wayne Akers Ford in Lake Worth! What a cool place! And it was great to catch up with our friend Al Young, Chairman of the Board for the South Florida Ford Dealers Association! Thanks to Al and his entire team for a great experience!
-The last of my Summer rock festivals came and went. At Wrecking Ball in Atlanta, the Thursday reunion- my first time seeing Thursday since the ’06 Warped Tour- was as awesome as anticipated. So were the Bouncing Souls. I saw PEARS for the first time; they were the best show of the weekend, in my mind… so much so that I bought their t-shirt.
-I saw Bayside and The Menzingers at Revolution Live a couple weeks ago. I’ve seen Bayside at least five times over the years, and I’ve always had an appreciation for their music. Their bass player, Nick Ghanbarian, actually joined me for a segment on the talk show I hosted in Boise about seven years ago when I was calling games for the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads; he’s a big hockey fan.
-As always, feel free to Tweet me @DougPlagens!
‘Til next time, folks. That’ll do it from here.