The NHL may be aiming to break an attendance record today in Ann Arbor, but the crowds haven’t been so good this season in Sunrise, Florida, where the Panthers are averaging just 14,658 at the BB&T Center.
Team president Michael Yormark thinks the lagging numbers are partly a product of the schedule.
“Having seven games in October hurt us; it’s too much for us,” Yormark told the Miami Herald. “With the Olympic season, it’s not a balanced schedule. We just had too much inventory in October and I think things are going to catch up. We have a lot of big games left.”
The product didn’t help either, with the Panthers coming off a last-place finish in 2013 and starting the current season poorly.
There does remain optimism, with new ownership promising improvements through free agency. But like with Phoenix, the rest of the league will be watching Florida as it tries to build some positive buzz in a market that many don’t believe is a legitimate hockey one.
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.
Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.
The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.
Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.