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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Five

Yesterday the National Hockey League released the schedule for the 2009-2010 season. The schedule is heavily affected by the 2010 Winter Olympics, causing all thirty teams to play a lot of back to back games. The Panthers will be playing seventeen back to back games, nine of them being a home and home series.

From a marketing standpoint the Cats got some pretty interesting days this season. The Panthers have a three game home stand in November (23rd-27th) in which they will play three teams that have opposing fans vacationing in our state around that time (Penguins, Rangers, and Leafs). The Panthers also have another big three game home stand for the opposing fans to pack our house in late December (Bruins, Canadians, Penguins). One might say that is really convenient...well guess again. Mr.Yormark sat down with the league to build the schedule that way. As a Business major I can understand his reasoning behind the schedule, and that reason is money. As a Panthers fan though, I get very frustrated when I find out that one of the guys running my favorite team is working the schedule to fit fans from the opposing team. At any rate, at least the Arena will gain some solid revenue from those two home stands. Us fans will just have to put up with the drunk, rude, fans of those teams.

There is one very easy way to combat the out of towners. All one has to do is simply pick up a phone, or go to the box office, and buy some tickets to those games. More Cats fans mean less out of town fans.

Anyway I am getting side tracked. Lets take a look at the top five home games for Panthers fans to attend. I will not include opening night or last game of the season because those two are obvious. Also these are in no special order.

1. Montreal vs Florida, December 31st, 5:00 PM.

This is a game Panthers fans should be excited for. The reason is not who we are playing, but rather the coach of who we are playing. Jacques Martin will make his first appearance back at the BankAtlantic Center since jumping ship and leaving Randy Sexton with a bit of a mess. This is a game Cats fans will want to be there for, because I am sure there will be a lot of good chants to join in on throughout the game.

2. Calgary vs Florida, February 5th, 7:30 PM.

Talk about a big game for Panthers fans. If the Flames roster stays the same this will be the first game back in town for both Olli Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester. I think Jay deserves a round of boo's, but lets all give Olli a nice ovation.

3. Vancouver vs Florida, February 11th, 7:30 PM.

If this game is anything close to Luongo's first return back to South Florida then we are in for another classic. I still think that game was the best I have ever seen at the BAC. The shootout win and the emotion by Vokoun at the end was amazing.

4. Pittsburgh vs Florida, November 23rd, 7:30

The first trip down here for the current Stanley Cup champs. Should be a good game as always, especially if Ballard lands another hit on Malkin like he did in 08-09. Actually, he should switch it up and lay out Crosby.

5. Colorado vs Florida, December 2nd, 7:30.

This will be a bit of a sad game for yours truly. Anderson will always be one of my favorite Panthers and seeing him in the jersey that beat the Cats in 96 might make me a little nauseous. I will be giving him a standing O though. All Andy wanted was to be a starter and he got what he wanted, and I hope he goes far.

Well there you have it folks. This season is shaping up to be a good one, even if it is compressed. I hope to see a lot of Panthers fans out at the BAC this year, especially around December. Remember, this is our house.

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