With their opening night showdown against the Carolina Hurricanes just one day away the Florida Panthers spent Friday making final preparations for a shortened 2013 season. This is what we know so far leading up to tomorrow night’s game.
- During the final day of training camp this morning at the BB&T Center head coach Kevin Dineen picked veteran defenseman Ed Jovanovski as Florida’s newest captain. Dineen also named Stephen Weiss and Brian Campbell assistant captains.
- Florida has re-signed defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to a two year contract worth $2 million this season and $3 million in 2013-2014. There is a chance that he will play tomorrow night against Carolina in the home opener, but that depends on the results of his physical and if he can get some ice time in before Saturday evening.
- The Panthers announced that they have signed skilled forward Alex Kovalev to a one year deal. Kovalev made the roster after participating in Florida’s training camp on a tryout basis. Marek Svatos, another NHLer who was at camp as a tryout, was not signed.
- It was confirmed this morning that rookie forward Jonathan Huberdeau will start the season with Florida. He will fill the second line LW position and play along side Peter Mueller and Alex Kovalev.
- Multiple sources, including George Richards of the Miami Herald, have reported that Kris Versteeg left Friday’s practice with an undisclosed injury and is currently questionable for the home opener on Saturday. he joins a growing list of injured Panthers that includes Erik Gudbranson, Mike Weaver, Sean Bergenheim, and Marcel Goc.
- The Cats placed Mike Santorelli and James Wright on waivers Thursday afternoon. Santorelli cleared while Wright was claimed by the Winnipeg Jets.
Here is some information regarding opening night against the Carolina Hurricanes:
- Sunrise Sports and Entertainment, along with the Florida Panthers, are reporting that there are less than 1,000 tickets remaining for tomorrow night’s game at the BB&T Center. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster, StubHub, NHL ticket exchange, or at the arena’s box office.
- Parking gates open at 5:00 PM, doors open at 6:00 PM.
- Miniature SouthEast Division Championship banners will be handed out to all fans in attendance on Saturday.
- The Panthers sent out an e-mail this morning that asks fans to be in their seats by 7:15 PM because the on-ice festivities, including the raising of Florida’s SouthEast Division Championship banner, will begin at 7:20 PM.
- Players will be signing autographs after the game on the JetBlue Tarmac (outside the front doors). This was announced with the tagline “Players Subject to Availability.”
If anyone plans on arriving at the arena early feel free to stop by parking lot section A-52. A bunch of loyal Panthers fans, including yours truly, will be out their tailgating before and after the game.
With the new collective bargaining agreement finally in place information for the upcoming shortened season is coming out fast. Late last night the 2013, 48 game schedule was released for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Later that evening the Florida Panthers also officially announced their one week training camp roster, which contains 32 players, making for a much shorter list than that of a normal pre-season squad.
Camp began this morning with player physicals and media events, and will continue until Friday, January 18th. Players will hit the ice starting tomorrow, January 14th, at 10:00 AM EST for their first practice. The Panthers will hold an inter-squad scrimmage at 7:00 PM EST on Wednesday, January 16th, at the Saveology.com Iceplex. All training camp events, including Wednesday’s scrimmage, are open to the general public.
2013 Florida Panthers Training Camp Roster:
4 – Keaton Ellerby
9 – Stephen Weiss
11 – Jonathan Huberdeau
12 – Jack Skille
13 – Mike Santorelli
14 – Tomas Fleischmann
17 – Filip Kuba
18 – Shawn Matthias
19 – Scottie Upshall
20 – Sean Bergenheim
22 – George Parros
23 – Tyson Strachan
25 – Jerred Smithson
27 – Alex Kovalev *
30 – Scott Clemmensen
32 – Kris Versteeg
35 – Jacob Markstrom
40 – Marek Svatos *
41 – James Wright
42 – Quinton Howden
43 – Mike Weaver
44 – Erik Gudbranson
50 – Drew Shore
51 – Brian Campbell
52 – Jon Rheault *
55 – Ed Jovanovski
57 – Marcel Goc
60 – Jose Theodore
62 – Michael Caruso
72 – Alexander Petrovic
82 – Tomas Kopecky
88 – Peter Mueller
- Alex Kovalev, Marek Svatos, and Jon Rheault are all participating in Florida’s camp on a tryout basis.
- Panthers fans should notice that a familiar name is missing from the roster, Dmitry Kulikov. The Florida defenseman is currently a restricted free agent and cannot play for the Cats until he signs a new contract.
- Head coach Kevin Dineen said that he will be choosing a captain for the Panthers before their season opener against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, January 19th.
- Sean Bergenheim, Marcel Goc, and Erik Gudbranson are injured. Gudbranson is still recovering from shoulder surgery and has not been cleared yet while the extent of Bergenheim and Goc’s injuries are unknown at this point.
- Bob McKenzie of TSN reported that Florida hopes to have Gudbranson back in the lineup within two to three weeks.
Keep checking back with Sunshine State Hockey for all of the latest Florida Panthers and NHL news.
The lockout is finally, officially, over, which means we finally get to see the Panthers shortened 2013 schedule. Florida will kick off the season against Carolina at the BB&T Center on Saturday, January 19th at 7:30 PM EST. The Cats will also raise their 2011-2012 SouthEast Division championship banner to the rafters before they do battle with the Hurricanes on opening night.
Other highlights on the 48 game schedule include:
- Florida will participate in five back-to-back game scenarios.
- The Panthers have one, five game road trip and two, four game road trips.
- The Cats will play SE Division foes 18 times in the 48 game schedule. Carolina – x4, Tampa – x5, Washington – x4, Winnipeg – x5.
- Florida will play host to Montreal, and their fans, twice in less than a month at the BB&T Center. February 14th (Happy Valentines Day!) and March 10th.
As everyone in the hockey community knows by now the current collective bargaining agreement expires tonight at 11:59 PM EST. If a new deal is not reached by that time Sunshine State Hockey will end all coverage of the NHL and Florida Panthers on our site until a new CBA is agreed upon.
This does not mean that we will go completely silent with our coverage of the hockey world. Thanks to the recent partnership formed between SSH and FAU Hockey we will be able to bring everyone the latest news, information, and game recaps from the Owls. Also, starting tomorrow, we will begin covering the San Antonio Rampage, Florida’s American Hockey League affiliate. Adding coverage of the Rampage to Sunshine State Hockey will fill the void left by this ridiculous NHL lockout.
I want to personally thank all of our readers for your continued support, especially during this tough, unnecessary time. I would also like to wish all of the arena employees, especially those I’ve gotten to know over the years at the BB&T Center, the best of luck. Remember they are the ones who are suffering the most from this mess.
Hopefully this will all blow over sooner rather than later.
The arena that has played host to the Florida Panthers since 1998 has a new name, the BB&T Center. Everyone knew the name change was coming for months now, but we had no idea when. Of course this is not the first time the Sunrise, Florida based arena has had its identity changed. The building has had a total of five different names during its 14 years of existence.
- Broward County Civic Arena (1998)
- Nation Car Rental Center (1998 – 2002)
- Office Depot Center (2002 – 2005)
- BankAtlantic Center (2005 – 2012)
- BB&T Center (2012 – Current)
Why the sudden change? BB&T has officially bought out BankAtlantic. For more information on the name switch and merger of the two banks, click here.