Florida Panthers

Are the Florida Panthers' days numbered?

Do bears poop in woods? Do the San Francisco Giants win the World Series in even-numbered years? Is the Pope Catholic? Are the Florida Panthers a terrible NHL team?

Obviously, the answer to all of those is yes.

For the Florida Panthers, struggling on the ice is nothing new. They’re currently 14th in the Eastern Conference with seven points in seven games. They have scored exactly 10 goals as a team which is only one more than the nine goals that league leaders Corey Perry and Rick Nash have. But perhaps most notably, the Panthers have yet to win a game at home.

And home for the Panthers has not been so welcoming this season. In their second home game, they set a franchise record low for attendance at 7,311. Photos taken that night illustrated the scantily attended NHL game that looked more like a local club hockey meet-up. But one night doesn’t explain the attendance problems of an entire team, does it?

Well, in the case of the Florida Panthers, they have been experiencing attendance woes for the past few years. For the last three years, they have averaged an attendance of 15,932 that puts them squarely within the bottom ten teams of the NHL. These attendance numbers could just be bad attendance numbers with no meaning attached to them. However, thanks to a lack of Sunbelt support for the NHL in the United States and the move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, there is some fear that the Florida Panthers could be relocated.

This relocation fear is very real. Since the Florida Panthers were established in 1993, they have made the playoffs only four times and have finished with a winning record just eight times in 19 seasons to date. So, they have an ugly history and they have poor attendance, which makes them a prime contender to move to a Canadian city that is thirsty for an NHL team. 

Maybe, their potential relocation would be for the best. Although they have some exceptional young talent highlighted by former Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau and 2014 first overall draft pick Aaron Ekblad, the Panthers have struggled. Despite the young talent and the team’s veteran additions from the off-season, the Panthers will most likely not make the playoffs, making it three years in a row.

The Florida Panthers days as an NHL team are numbered.

Hockey

DALLAS — Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss each had a goal and two assists and Scott Clemmensen made 25 saves for the shutout to lead the Florida Panthers to a 6-0 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.

Defensemen Dmitry Kulikov and Jason Garrison added first-period goals and Tomas Fleischmann and Evgeny Dadonov also scored for the Panthers.

Weiss skated in his 574th game for the Panthers, breaking a tie with Robert Svehla and moving into second place on the franchise list behind current Dallas Star Radek Dvorak’s 613 games.

The Stars, coming off consecutive road losses to Pittsburgh and Detroit, had been 6-1 at home. Dallas opened a stretch of five of six games at home.

Kari Lehtonen kept the Stars in the game early with a series of tough saves before the Panthers scored.

Kulikov connected from the slot off Tomas Kopecky’s centering pass at 16:44 of the opening period. It was Kulikov’s first goal of the season.

Garrison beat Lehtonen for his seventh goal of the season to make it 2-0 at 18:08 of the first period.

Florida held a 14-4 shots edge in the first 20 minutes and didn’t let up.

Fleischmann fired into the top right corner of the net from the slot for his seventh of the season at 15:02 of the second. And Weiss made it 4-0 with 7.6 seconds left in the second for his sixth goal of
the season.

Versteeg’s ninth goal of the season halfway through the final period gave the Panthers a five-goal edge, and Dadonov completed the scoring at 13:19 when the puck went in off his skate for his second of the season.