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Rats Roundup: Catlantic Clinched

by Kyle Morrison / Florida Panthers


All of the glorious weirdness that is this Florida Panthers season has gone hand-in-hand with top-notch play on the ice. From Kevin Spacey and plastic rats to a franchise-record 101 points and a division title, it's been quite the season. And that season's not over yet – the Cats play their regular-season finale tomorrow at the BB&T Center.

What has, in years past, been a night of goodbyes is now a warm-up for postseason hockey.

The #Catlantic is all wrapped up, and this wonderful, bizarre ride of a season is about to get a lot wilder.

National Love

Speaking of weirdness (and good hockey), Sports Illustrated’s Alex Prewitt breaks down all of the quirks of the Cats in this week’s SI issue.

While you're picking up a copy (or nine) at your local newsstand, grab the latest New York Times. It very well may hold the secrets to Jaromir Jagr’s eternal youth.

NYT’s Ben Shpigel profiled the 44-year-old Czech winger, covering everything from his incredible training habits to harrowing tales from those who were given the impossible task of stopping Jagr at his peak.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

Michael Stewart, who was taken by the Rangers in the first round in 1990, eight spots after Jagr went fifth over all to the Penguins, recalled with a laugh his first encounter with Jagr, a preseason game against Pittsburgh early in their careers. Jagr carried the puck into the Rangers’ zone, but Stewart, a solid 6-foot-3 defenseman, had him lined up for a check.

“I’m like, This is going to be awesome,” Stewart said. “All those quick little things go through your head. I’m going to light him up.

“And I got a hold of him and I was going to finish him in the glass as hard as I could,” Stewart continued. “He dragged me from the hash marks all the way to the net with the puck on his stick. It was so humbling. I’m big, strong, and with one hand he held me off and just dragged me all the way to Mike Richter playing in net.”

The whole feature is up online for your reading pleasure – and let’s be honest here – reading these 2,500 words should be your top priority today. Eschew your other Friday responsibilities, sip on some coffee and read about greatness.

Local Love

If well-written, in-depth profiles are your thing, don't miss this Fort Lauderdale Magazine feature on the Cats. Paul Pfeifer covers just about everything – historic figures for the franchise, the business side of things, Vincent Viola’s acquisition of the team, the on-ice performance and, of course, quirks like #SpaceyInSpace and the Rat Trick.

It’s an in-depth, overarching look at the franchise’s journey, and it functions as both a behind-the-scenes look for diehard fans and a fun overview of the franchise for those looking to jump-start their fandom.

1000 Games of Soup

What a career it’s been for Brian Campbell. The Panthers alternate captain suited up for his 1000th NHL game in Tuesday’s win over Montreal, becoming just the 305th player to reach that milestone.

The former sixth-round draft pick has carved out quite an impressive career in the league, a key cog on many bluelines as a durable, smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman.

Campbell will be recognized prior to the puck drop at Saturday’s home game for this milestone. And there’s another record that he set this week, playing his 374th consecutive game in a Panthers jersey, the longest streak without missing a game in franchise history.

Jagrs on Jagrs on Jagrs

Mullets were flowing at the Panthers IceDen this week, along with a lot of high-stepping and good times. That’s right, the Travelling Jagrs were in town.

After six years of Travelling Jagr-ing, they finally caught up with the legend himself. And we caught up with them after their raucous pickup game at the IceDen, so if you’re interested in hearing how this phenomenon started, click here.

So Fresh, So Clean

Looking to get some new threads? Well, look no further. Panthers playoff and division champion gear is here, and it’s fire.

Swing by the Panthers IceDen, or head to Pantherland tomorrow to pick up this sweet new gear.

Oh, and if awesome t-shirts and hats aren’t your thing, you can bid on game-worn jerseys from this year’s NHL All-Star Game. A bit pricier, sure, but assuredly worth it, as the proceeds go to the Florida Panthers Foundation.

GIF of the Week

The Panthers recalled Rocco Grimaldi prior to Monday’s game in Toronto, and he wasted no time re-introducing himself to the league, potting two goals at the Air Canada Centre. He got the Cats on the board with this sick snipe.

Quick Hitters

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