OK folks, we are nearly there.
The season itself can't start soon enough but for two Cats, there will be a delay. In what might be a nasty blow to the roster, two key players have sustained injuries and while all teams suffer them these are the kind that mess with your plans. The big center, Nick Bjugstad was already expected to miss around eleven games due to a hand injury and now Jonathan Huberdeau could miss a lot more than that if the cut to his ankle is as bad as it sounds.
A fan fave and at 23 an up and coming force Huberdeau scores goals, adds assists and many expected a big year from the kid. While anything is possible in regards to a quick recovery the Panther management is scrambling for replacements. The Rattrick tells us about other players getting an opportunity to step up.
While in West Point for the game vs the Devils the Cats also named their Captain and alternates. Fourth line center Derek MacKenzie will wear the C.
ESPN of all places gives us a season preview here.
So we wait until Wednesday to set out on a quest to build on last years success and not just make the playoffs but go deep. One of the things that stood out the night the Panthers unveiled their new logo was how many times the owner mentioned the ultimate goal.......winning that Stanley Cup. It's clear to me they mean business. I know, every organization says the same thing, they want a Cup but ownership is sending signals that they are willing to spend money and do all the things needed to build a winner. It's one of the reasons I'm here writing about the Cats and not the NY Rangers whom I followed for all those years. There are many reasons for the switch but I really believe the Panthers are building the right way and maybe, just maybe they can become a major force in South Florida build up the fan base and bring a championship to the Sunshine State like the Bolts did in '04.
The injuries already have me a bit concerned but I'm still excited to get going and watch this develop! Fill the fridge with some Florida Swamp Ape (a delicious and powerful brew) and tell the kids you need the big screen this wednesday as the Cats open up against the New Jersey dEvils.