Good morning and welcome to “Cats & Coffee,” a weekly segment, presented by Koffee Kult, in which we serve up an exciting look at what’s on deck for your Florida Panthers. Like our friends at Koffee Kult, this forecast serves up only the best — so sit back, sip and enjoy our latest brew of news, notes and information.
If people can’t make it to an event, you bring the event to the people.
After having to postpone what had initially been envisioned as a live pre-game event due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Florida Panthers have repurposed their “Hockey Heritage Night” into a free digital showcase that fans can now watch from the safety of their own homes on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Presented by Baptist Health, the digital event will be co-hosted by Panthers radio play-by-play announcer Doug Plagens and a senior archivist from Heritage Werks, which is an agency that specializes in archiving, digitizing and curating items for sports teams, brands, and companies.
In September of 2019, the Panthers partnered with Heritage Werks in order to collect, curate and digitize countless treasures from the franchise’s past. This “Baptist Health Virtual Vault” is available for fans to view at FlaPanthersVault.com and includes a wealth of items and photos.
With “Hockey Heritage Night,” fans will have a chance to gain an even greater appreciation for the team’s vibrant history by essentially getting a guided tour through various parts of the vault.
Only the first 500 fans that RSVP by clicking HERE are guaranteed admission, so act fast!
“The ‘Hockey Heritage Night’ is such a significant event for our fans and partners, it was important we preserved the spirit and message as we transitioned to a digital event this season,” Panthers Senior Vice President Shawn Thornton said in a release. “Given last week’s announcements by the NHL, the passion of our Panthers family for our return to the ice is palpable in their social engagements with our team and players. We are proud to work alongside Heritage Werks and Baptist Health Virtual Vault to celebrate the history of hockey and show our appreciation to our dedicated fanbase with unique digital content and insights.”
Speaking of the “Baptist Health Virtual Vault,” have you checked out “Vaulted” yet?
In the new recurring series, we here at FloridaPanthers.com use items that can be found in the vault to highlight some of the biggest moments in franchise history. In only a few weeks, we’ve already looked back at Mike Hoffman‘s 17-game point streak, Noel Acciari‘s back-to-back hat tricks and more.
This past week, the series turned its attention to Brian Campbell, who became just the third-ever defenseman to win the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy – which is awarded annually to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best combination of skill and sportsmanship – back in 2011-12.
That same season – his first of five with the Panthers – he also finished second among NHL defenseman in scoring with a career-high 53 points (four goals, 49 assists), was named to his fourth and final All-Star Game and helped the Cats win their first-ever division championship. To learn more about Campbell and his section of the vault, click HERE.
Now, we wait.
With announcement of the NHL’s return-to-play plan last month, the Panthers have begun their preparations to compete in the league’s 24-team, conference-based playoff later this summer.
By virtue of their 35-26-8 record, Florida will enter the postseason (which will be played at two hub cities without fans) as the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. In a rematch from 2016, they will battle the seventh-seeded New York Islanders in the Qualifying Round of the playoffs.
Unlike later rounds, the Qualifying Round will be an abbreviated best-of-five series.
“It will be an equal playing field,” Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon said during a media conference call last week. “No one will have an advantage or an edge. When we start, everybody will be starting on the same date. It’s just a matter of getting our timing down and getting our systems down.
“I think by now our players should understand what [Panthers coach Joel Quenneville] is trying to do. That’s the key. We have to be ready. Everyone’s going to be healthier. Everyone’s going to be rested. It’s going to be quite a race to the finish. In a short series, anything can happen. You’ve got to be prepared mentally and physically.”
To read more about the upcoming 24-team postseason, click HERE.
Did you know Pantherland is now doing curbside pickup and delivery?
Head on over to FloridaPanthers.com/Pantherland to check out all of the new collections and to order something for either your own collection or as a gift for some of the Panthers fans in your life. Curbside pickup is available on Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at BB&T Center.
If you plan on hitting the links this summer, the team’s golf collection is a big hit right now!
The Panthers would like to extend their congratulations to all 2020 graduates!
Video: Congratulations 2020 Graduates
As part of the NHL’s return-to-play plan, the Panthers are one of 24 teams that will have a shot to hoist the Stanley Cup this summer. On the latest episode of the Territory Talk podcast, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press joins the show to talk about the Panthers, playoffs and more!
— TAKING OFF: Spencer Knight reflects on fantastic freshman season at Boston College.
— A local South Florida family united around the Panthers “Learn to Play” programs.
— REWIND: Roberto Luongo passes Ed Belfour for third place on the NHL’s all-time wins list.
— Dale Tallon expects a “race to the finish” following the NHL’s return-to-play announcement.
— VAULTED: Noel Acciari shocks the hockey world with back-to-back hat tricks.
— Did know you can watch past episodes of “Inside the Panthers” on demand?
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