As many of you are undoubtedly aware, the NHL announced yesterday that its realignment plan and revised Stanley Cup Playoffs format. The plan puts our Panthers in an eight-team Eastern Conference Division – one of four total divisions – with the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Not only does the new format preserve our in-state rivalry with the Lightning, but it gives us the chance to develop strong rivalries with many of the League’s traditional franchises, while giving our fans an opportunity to see each team at least once per season at the BB&T Center.
Overall we are thrilled about the League’s realignment plan and believe strongly that realignment, coupled with the new playoff format where teams play out of their division, will only lend more excitement and intensity to the regular season and postseason. Hopefully our fans feel the same way.
That said, I am up in New York today on business and I’ll have the chance to personally congratulate NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly on the passing of realignment and the positive impact it will have on our franchise.
Obviously, we haven’t had the season we wanted to have, but with a rash of injuries all over our roster, it’s important for us to focus on the positives and right now that is the play of our young prospects.
Thanks to those injuries, players like Jonathan Huberdeau, Drew Shore, Jacob Markstrom, Erik Gudbranson and others, are getting the chance to play a significant role that they otherwise would not likely have played. Clearly there have been some growing pains, but I truly believe these players, and our franchise, will be better for it in the long run.
So despite our current record I remain positive, and have the utmost trust in the ability of our GM Dale Tallon, Asst. GM Mike Santos, and their staff to make the right moves in the short term and long term to get us back on track.
That said, we will continue to highlight the young core of our team through all of our media outlets, particularly on FOX Sports where we continue to develop an innovative broadcast that gives more insight and behind the scenes access than any other broadcast in the League.
As always we welcome your feedback on the broadcast and anything else in regard to our franchise. Our Vice President of Sales & Service Ryan McCoy and I continue to host pregame fan forums for our season seat owners, and we have used that feedback to make some significant changes to how we run our business. So please keep it coming whether you are following me on Twitter at @PanthersYormark or you can e-mail me at YormarkM@FloridaPanthers.com.
Thank you so much for your passion and support and go Panthers.
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