Vincent Viola

The Panthers have implemented a team breakfast policy


New Florida Panthers owner Vinnie Viola sat down with the Sun-Sentinel this week for a wide-ranging Q&A about a variety of topics, including the most important meal of the day.

How do you feel new coach Peter Horachek has done so far?

It’s a process. We’re doing things now that I think are going to sow the seeds of cohesion and camaraderie to create this culture of excellence. On practice days, the team has breakfast together now. I think that’s important for guys to get to know each other outside of the confines of the ice and outside the confines of the normal to and fro of a hockey life.

It’s worth noting that, under Horachek, the Panthers haven’t been that bad. They’re 7-8-1 through 16 games — a .469 winning percentage — which is significantly better than the 3-9-4 mark the club posted in the same amount of games under Kevin Dineen (a .313 winning percentage).

What’s more, the club is playing some of the best hockey at the moment, possibly due to the collective sharing of Eggs Benedict. The Panthers have won three of their last four, including a pair of victories over the Detroit Red Wings.

Viola says the season has been hectic thus far, but expects more positive results as things progress.

“We have been learning an awful lot,” he explained. “It’s kind of like drinking out of a fire hose.

“We’re more committed now to the principles that we believe in that produce long-term excellence in organizations. The team is, I think, starting to understand that everyone must work and everyone has to be absolutely committed to excellence. We’re not going to tolerate anything but 100 percent dedication to the culture of the team first.”

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: