We're a few weeks into the offseason, the ice at the BB&T Center is gone and many of the players are spending time getting some much-needed rest. But, luckily for you, Rats Roundup is always in-season. Let’s dive right into the storylines from a busy week in Sunrise.
And there’s no better way to kick this off than with the news of Jaromir Jagr’s impending return to the Cats
. The 44-year-old agreed to terms on a one-year contract yesterday, and the hockey world is pretty excited to get another year of 68.
With all of that in mind, here’s a quick reel of our favorite Jagr goals from the 2015-16 campaign.
CATS UP FOR AWARDS
Speaking of Jagr, he’s also one of the three Panthers up for a major postseason award
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is given for the player who exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. And given his legendary training habits
and penchant for mentoring the young players around him
, Jagr seems like a natural fit.
One of those younger players, Jagr’s center Aleksander Barkov earned accolades of his own
; a nomination for the Lady Byng Trophy.
Barkov put up some gaudy offensive numbers – a 28-31–59 line in 66 games – to go along with a minuscule eight penalty minutes in a top-line role for the Cats this season, vaulting him into consideration for the Lady Byng Trophy. The two criteria are gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability, and, well, he certainly fits that bill.
Speaking of Barkov, we kicked off our offseason Panthers Season Rewind feature series
with a look at the Finnish forward’s season. So, check that out when you get a minute, and keep an eye out for future installments throughout the summer.
Finally, the Cats got another postseason nomination yesterday, as coach Gerard Gallant was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award
. It’s his first time as a finalist for the award, and after leading the Cats to a division title and a team-record 103 points, it’s well-earned.
A few months back, Marlins pitchers Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart and Mike Dunn made the trek up to the BB&T Center to meet some of their Cats counterparts, and a group of Panthers players returned the favor earlier this week.
Aaron Ekblad, Erik Gudbranson, Nick Bjugstad, Derek Mackenzie, Alex Petrovic and Quinton Howden took batting practice and mingled with Fernandez, Tom Koehler and others. And as if taking batting practice in an MLB park wasn’t cool enough, Derek Mackenzie got the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
We’re not umpires, but that’s a strike in our book.
Got any plans tomorrow? If not, great. And if you do, cancel them. It’s time for HockeyFest.
The list of attractions is lengthy and tantalizing, including payer appearances, ball hockey, on-ice demos with new gear, a game-used gear sale and even some of South Florida’s best food trucks. So head on down to the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a day of hockey fun.
Click here for full details on HockeyFest.
Three Panthers will ply their trade on the international stage over the next three weeks, representing their respective nations in this year’s IIHF World Championship tournament.
Barkov and Jussi Jokinen will represent their native Finland as the Suomi squad looks to capture a world championship for the first time since 2011. And defenseman Mike Matheson will suit up for perennial powerhouse Canada.
If you want to catch these Cats in action, here’s your viewing guide
. Most of the games have 1:15 p.m. starts (Florida time), but if you’re a real trooper, you’ll catch the two 5:15 a.m. start times, too.
GIF OF THE WEEK
In honor of Jagr’s return, here’s arguably his most impressive highlight from the past season – wherein he posterizes a defender and sets up Jonathan Huberdeau for a highlight-reel goal.
- Top 10 moments of the 2015-16 season
- Cats prospect Dryden Hunt was named the WHL’s Player of the Year
- The Panthers signed Swedish defenseman Linus Holtström.
- Stanley C. Panther goes to prom as Batman
- Top 5 Barkov goals of 2015-16