When you think of the Florida Panthers, your first thoughts probably center around how the heck a hockey team exists in South Florida. For many, their first thought goes to them being a losing team with struggling attendance. For those people, the Panthers have devised a plan for you. They’re going to cover things up. Not with crazy press releases but rather with actual tarp. George Richards of The Miami Herald elaborates.
As reported earlier this summer, the Panthers are ‘downgrading’ the capacity at The Billboard this season, covering up more than 2,000 upper deck seats with tarps.
According to the team, the “22-piece tarp system sponsored by Party City will cover the last six rows of seats located on the terrace level.”
Tarps This coverage will not be for all games — but for almost all of them. When Montreal or Pittsburgh comes to town the tarps can be removed. They will also not be there for concerts and the like.
When the team moved from Miami Arena in 1998, seating capacity went from 14,823 in Miami to 19,250.
They obviously don’t need that much room.
“Our building is just too big,” team president Michael Yormark said back in May. “It would be too big for a lot of teams in the league.”
Knocking off that many seats now turns the Panthers arena in Sunrise, Florida into the third smallest in the league behind Edmonton’s Rexall Place and Nassau Coliseum, home of the New York Islanders. If you’re wondering, this isn’t the first time an NHL team has implemented the use of tarps so as to skew the attendance numbers/alter the appearance of the arena. Both the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning have used them in the past, although to their credit the buildings they played in at the time were cavernous. The Hurricanes played at Greensboro Coliseum and the Lightning played at current day Tropicana Field.
The upside of the tarp is that it helps make the attendance numbers not look terrible. The downside is that the tarp makes the inside of the arena look horrendous. At least the Panthers are getting a nice piece of advertising money out of the deal to help stave off some embarrassment.
Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?
TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:
“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”
Daly said that he’d be surprised “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”
As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.
For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told ESPN.com that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.
The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.
So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?
At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”
Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.