In second part of our continuing series of getting reacquainted with teams around the NHL, we visit with the home of Scottie Upshall, Peter Meuller, and Ed Jovanovski, The Florida Panthers. Writer Lauren Burg of The Rat Trick answered a few questions I had regarding the Florida Panthers and their playoff run, what the next season holds, and hockey in a non-traditional market.
TRT I believe that Theodore is the starter and Clemmensen’s the backup right now. Of course, they play whoever’s hot. I’d have to say that for most teams two starting goalies above age 35 would be a concern but, given the fact Clemmensen only re-signed short term this offseason and they have a goaltender waiting in the wings, I’d have to say it’s not as much. Jacob Markstrom is slated to be the Panthers starting goaltender in the next year or so and he’s already got a few NHL starts under his belt. That’s just going to make the transition easier on the Panthers, not to mention himself, when they decide to insert him into the lineup.
TRT Honestly, I think they’ve been well-received but not living in South Florida I can’t tell you for certain.
TRT I think down in South Florida, similar to Tampa Bay, the expectations are for the Panthers to give it their best shot and never give up. They gave fans some of that last season on their way to the Southeast Division title and also during their first-round playoff series with New Jersey. Another plus is when a general manager, coach and players come in and are trying to get fans engaged. I know the Panthers (though it was postponed this year) do a Gala & Casino Night before the season begins to get fans energized, excited and to give them the opportunity to interact with players and others within the organization. They also did a few player appearances, autograph signings and radio shows last season out in the Sunrise/Fort Lauderdale/Miami area to help build their fan base. Being in Florida, I realize those might seem like low expectations but the way fans and the team bought in was nothing short of 100 percent!