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Fans Excited For First Pre-Season Games, Season

Sunday, 09.15.2013 / 1:30 PM ET / News
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Fans Excited For First Pre-Season Games, Season

By: Natalie Baj, University of Miami

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - With the anticipation of Monday’s double-header against the Nashville Predators brewing, diehard fans made their way to the Saveology.com Iceplex Sunday morning to take in the last practice. Some already have their eyes on a few players.

Sporting customized Panthers jerseys, complete with their last name, the Vezina family spent their morning watching the Panthers run drills and practice plays. Armand Vezina, his wife, and four children have been season ticket holders for three years. Vezina has his eye on 20-year-old defenseman, Jonathan Racine.

“I’ve been watching him [Racine] for the past two to three years,” said Armand Vezina. “He’s getting bigger, stronger and I personally feel his skills are just increasing.”

His son, Armand Jr., 14, admires forward Scott Gomez’s awareness on the ice and thinks it’s “pretty sweet” the way he moves the puck.

Impressed with the team’s overall progress so far, eight year old, Aidan Farro hopes Jose Theodore makes an appearance as goalie.

Although fans have different opinions on the players, the one thing they all have in common is their love for the Cats.

Proudly wearing her autographed jersey, Laynee Johnson cheers while seated in a wheelchair. “Let’s go Pan-thers! Let’s go Pan-thers! Let’s go Pan-thers!” shouts Johnson, accompanied by her mother, Angi. Last week she broke her leg while figure skating, but that hasn’t stopped her from cheering on the Panthers at practice and will not stop here from making it to the game on Monday.

“I am excited to go to the game tomorrow, after I get my cast done,” said Johnson.

Carol Koch first became a fan when the Panthers faced the Colorado Avalanche in the 1996 Stanley Cup final. Now, she is a season ticket holder and considers herself a diehard fan, and proudly displays her love for the Cats by pointing to her leg and the Panthers logo tattoo.  Koch says a diehard fan is, “someone who goes to every game, records every game and watches all the road games.”

Not a diehard Panthers fan? Koch has a message for you. “Go to a game, it’s contagious!”

Don’t miss the pre-season opener against the Nashville Predators tomorrow at the BB&T Center. The first game is at 2:30 p.m. followed by the second game at 7 p.m. For more information, visit panthers.nhl.com.

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 74 35 35 4 203 230 74
13 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 71 13 32 7 45
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 73 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 69 13 25 -4 38
B. Boyes 72 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 73 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 64 18 13 -4 31
A. Barkov 63 12 17 -2 29
B. Campbell 74 3 21 1 24
B. Pirri 41 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 11 .922 2.32
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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