Good day, folks, and welcome to what should be, at least ,a semi-regular thing! Thanks for stopping by.
- First of all, a huge and historic announcement was made on Tuesday. The modified operating agreement reached between the Panthers and their parent operating company Sunrise Sports & Entertainment and Broward County for the county-owned BB&T Center ensures that the Panthers will be a part of the South Florida community for the long haul, and that the BB&T Center will continue to be one of the premier facilities in North America and continue to attract big-time events. A huge thank you goes out to the Panthers leadership and the county for their work to reach this agreement.
- How about the last seven games for the Panthers? It has been a heck of a stretch. The 5-2-0 record, a very sharp penalty kill, and two-or-fewer goals allowed in five of the last seven games show that there have been big contributions up and down the lineup.
Five Key Hockey Items:
- Huge congratulations are in order for Logan Shaw on his first NHL goal. He beat former Panther/current Senator Craig Anderson to open the scoring on Tuesday against Ottawa.
- Derek Mackenzie assisted on Shaw’s first NHL goal on Tuesday, and his plus-eight on the season leads the Panthers and places him in a tie for ninth among centers in the NHL.
- Aaron Ekblad leads the Panthers in shots on goal with 78 through 28 games, and places fifth among NHL defenseman in the category. Among the defensemen in the top-five in shots on goal, only Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien (plus-six) has a better plus/minus thank Ekblad’s plus-five this season. Ekblad’s five goals this season are tied for tenth among NHL defensemen.
- After Tuesday’s game against Ottawa, the Panthers are 23-25 on the power play over their last eight games (92%). The highest-ranked penalty kill unit in the NHL this season, as of Wednesday’s action, is that of the Anaheim Ducks (87.8%), so the Panthers level of effectiveness when down a man recently has been off-the-charts good.
- In the first period this season, the Panthers are one of the stingiest teams in the league. Their 14 first period goals allowed through 28 games this season ranks as the third fewest in the NHL. The Panthers most statistically productive offensive period is the second; their 26 second period goals this season are tied for ninth in the league.
Miscellaneous Off-Ice Thoughts:
- Being a native of the Detroit area, calling my first game at Joe Louis Arena on November 30th, and the fact that the Panthers won the game 2-1 in overtime, were huge thrills.
- Best food of the recent five-game road trip: a tie between Sauce on the Side in St. Louis and Jack’s BBQ in Nashville. Sauce on the Side specializes in calzones, and I discovered it during the annual baseball road trip I take with Utah Grizzlies play-by-play announcer Adrian Denny. Jack’s BBQ, is, well, a fantastic BBQ place that was so fantastic that it was the destination for lunch on consecutive days.
- Nashville might be music city, but a large percentage of the stuff I like seems to originate in New York and New Jersey. When we landed and took off in New Jersey, I was listening to the The Gaslight Anthem and The Misfits, and I couldn’t help humming a Ramones tune or two as I walked around NYC.
- Huge thanks to Panthers Executive Director of Leadership & Cultural Development J.B. Spisso for setting up a group visit to the Freedom Tower in New York City during the recent road trip. We had over a dozen players and staff on hand, and it was a great experience!
Tweet me your questions @DougPlagens and I’ll answer them soon!
That’ll do it from here.
Tune in to the Florida Panthers Radio Network all this season on 560 WQAM, 640 Sports, 97.7 The Wave and WAXE in the Treasure coast to listen to Florida Panthers Hockey with Doug Plagens and Billy Lindsay.