Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Craig Davis of the Sun Sentinel,
Fans began pouring in an hour before faceoff, most decked out in the requisite red. Original season-ticket holder Bob Feinberg, of Plantation, wore a Rob Neidermayer jersey, his wife Robin in a Scott Mellanby jersey in tribute two prominent Panthers from the beginning of the franchise.
“As a hockey fan I come here to see hockey. I heard [team President Michael] Yormark say tonight on TV that it’s not necessarily the product on the ice, it’s the whole entertainment experience. It’s not,” Bob Feinberg said. “I come here to see good quality hockey, that’s what I pay for. Unfortunately, they’ve turned it into an entertainment palace.”
Feinberg is typical of the diehards in the fan base who continue to support the franchise despite little return on their emotional investment over the past decade. They do so out of a genuine love for the game but with a healthy measure of skepticism about every change of course the franchise undergoes.
Viola’s purchase of the team just before the beginning of the regular season and vow to provide the resources necessary to make it a winner has brought reason for optimism. But the 1-3 start on the road, including two blow-out losses, reinforced that it will be a tough climb over rocky terrain.
“Look, every time we have new ownership they all come in with grand ideas. We’ll see what he does. It’s all about the product they put on the ice, it’s that simple,” Feinberg said, but said Viola gets his benefit of the doubt. “He’s a Brooklyn boy, I’m a Brooklyn boy, so I’ve got to have a little confidence in him.”
from Craig Davis of the SunSentinel,
Viola, who will preside over his first home game Friday night, and wife Teresa are relocating as soon as they find a home. Travis Viola, 25, has already begun working as a Panthers executive and will be involved in the hockey and business sides. He recalls being inspired to learn to skate when he was 4 after seeing Wayne Gretzky play.
Doug Cifu, Vinnie Viola's longtime business partner and part owner of the Panthers, cited the New England Patriots (Krafts) and New York Giants (Maras) as models of family-run teams to emulate. John Viola spoke with admiration of the Rooneys in Pittsburgh, the Steinbrenners in New York.
"I think that's us," said John Viola, adding that his family will put their stamp on the Panthers, indicative of their Italian-American heritage.
"You'll be in our house, and it will be your house," he said of the BB&T Center. "That's how we treat everything. Everybody who wants to get to know us should try to get a ticket to Christmas Eve in our house. It's an all-day affair. We've got people from all over."
In other words, expect joyous gathering of extended family for a traditional feast of the seven fishes.
The Panthers are saying lower-body injury and will not return. Looks like it is a groin in this video.
It is a goal replay, so you will have to keep your eye on Thomas.
added 11:59am, Watch the press conference below, it heats up when Ed Snider gets involved around the 3 minute mark... thanks to Mayor's Manor for the video pointer
Vincent Viola, the new owner of the Florida Panthers, met with the media today...
from the CP at TSN,
Vincent Viola was introduced Friday as the new principal owner, chairman and governor of the Florida Panthers.
Viola paid $250 million for the team and the operating rights to the BB&T Center, the team's home arena. Viola also gets the Saveology.com Iceplex where the Panthers train, along with team's development partnership with Boyd Gaming, an effort to put a casino adjacent to that arena.
"My family and I are honoured to take the helm of the Florida Panthers organization with the No. 1 goal of putting a winning team on the ice year after year and bringing a Stanley Cup to our incredible fans here in South Florida," Viola said. "I believe strongly in family, work-ethic, loyalty, relentless effort and a positive attitude and we hope to build an organization based on those principles."
SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers Executive VP/General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to terms with G Tim Thomas on a one-year contract.
“Tim is a proven winner who we are pleased to have signed,” said Tallon. “He is a fierce competitor who brings to our club a wealth of experience including a Stanley Cup Championship, two Vezina trophies and a Conn Smythe. He is a hardworking, driven and dedicated individual who will help our club achieve future success.”
from Darren Dreger of the Dreger Report at TSN,
Vincent Viola, a.k.a. New York businessman Vinnie Viola, is about to become the owner of the Florida Panthers. The deal, believed to be worth $250 million, will give Viola sole ownership of the franchise and could close as early as Thursday or Friday. NHL Board of Governors' approval has already been determined with league owners eager to welcome Viola to their exclusive club.
The $250 million sale price does not include the arena - which is county owned, but managed by the hockey team.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon will likely be among the most excited when this transaction closes, as he and his management team have faced many challenges in trying to keep the team competitive on a rather paltry budget.
And once Tallon has full ownership clearance, expect veteran goaltender Tim Thomas to sign with the Panthers. If the deal comes together in time, it's possible Thomas could make his preseason debut against Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
continued plus some Seattle talk and helmets/fighting issue...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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