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Rats Roundup - Remembering Mr. Hockey

by Kyle Morrison / Florida Panthers

OPEN HOUSE

The weekend is so, so close. And if you have some free time tomorrow, you should spend part of your weekend with us.


Our Open House is from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. tomorrow. Attendees will have the opportunity to select their seats and purchase ticket packages for the 2016-17 NHL season. There are also activities for kids and the opportunity to purchase some of that fresh new merchandise at Pantherland.

 You can click here to RSVP and reserve your spot.

PETRO REWIND



Alex Petrovic took some major strides in his first full season in Florida, culminating in a red-hot finish for the 6-foot-4 defenseman. The former second-round pick is the subject of this week’s Season Rewind feature.

After scoring six points over the first four months of the season, Petrovic developed into a two-way force on the Panthers blueline, mixing physical play with crisp passes and shots thrown into traffic.

Petrovic sat down with FloridaPanthers.com and went over the adjustments that he made this season that helped his game take off, as well as where he sees the team going from here. Plus, we broke down his best game and best goal.

COACHING STAFF UPDATES

There was a bit of news on the coaching front this week as well, as the Panthers announced the additions of Dave Barr and Scott Allen to their coaching staff.

Both coaches bring a wealth of experience – Allen was the head coach of the Portland Pirates this past season – and should be valuable assets to Gerard Gallant’s staff.

The Panthers still-to-be-named AHL affiliate in Springfield has a head coach now, too. The Panthers announced that Geordie Kinnear will lead their Springfield squad. The 42-year-old is a longtime AHL assistant coach in the Carolina Hurricanes organization.

COMBINE NOTES

The Panthers got an up-close look at some of the game’s top prospects at this week’s NHL Draft Combine. And while combine events like this typically showcase the numbers put up in physical tests, the most important part may be the interview portion.

Panthers General Manager Tom Rowe said that he typically interviewed around 14-16 prospects per day – with each session lasting about 20 minutes – at the combine. With the 23rd and 33rd picks in this draft, the Panthers have chances to add some long-term pieces, and personality fit is a big part of that.

This year’s draft will be held in Buffalo, starting on May 30.

QUICK HITTERS

- Sunrise, Fla., is a top-10 destination for hockey fans

- Cats prospect Dryden Hunt has some thoughts on the Bachelorette

- The Panthers announced the introduction of the Summer Cats ball hockey program.

- Adam Fullerton has been named the General Manager of the BB&T Center

REMEMBERING MR. HOCKEY




The hockey world lost an unparalleled, iconic figure today in Gordie Howe, a man who defines legend to hockey fans across the globe. To this sport, he was Mr. Hockey, a moniker which he more than lived up to.

For fans who may not know the impact that Gordie Howe had on the game, NHL.com's David Kalan wrote a poignant in memoriam feature. Here's an excerpt:

Howe's 801 goals were the most in NHL history until Wayne Gretzky passed him in 1994 and remain the most by a right wing. He finished his NHL career with 1,850 points, another record that stood until Gretzky broke it, and was the first player in League history to play in 1,500 games. He remains the oldest player to skate in an NHL game (52 years, 11 days); no one else in NHL history has played past the age of 48.

Howe's list of achievements leaves him head and shoulders above his peers. He finished in the top five in scoring for 20 straight seasons, helped lead the Red Wings to an NHL-record seven straight regular-season championships (1948-49 to 1954-55), was a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams, won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player and the Art Ross Trophy as the League's top scorer each six times, and was given the NHL's first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

In 1979-80, Howe had 15 goals and 41 points as a right wing for the Hartford Whalers in his final NHL season. Those numbers are hardly paltry, but they were certainly well below the standards Howe had set for himself during his NHL career. Then again, Howe turned 52 years old in the final week of the regular season.

As a result, Howe was for many years the personification and the essence of hockey. His accomplishments, longevity and goodwill as one of the game's great ambassadors were legendary.

Today, Mr. Hockey, we remember you.
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