Florida Panthers Sale: A Few Thoughts On The Presser

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

It would be far too easy to use the "I for one welcome our new Panther overlords" line, so we won't, but ultimately we do.

There was a lot for fans to like about what went down at the BB&T Center on Friday, though as understandable excitement for the future is steadily taking hold with the new season only days away, perhaps more important was the atmosphere in the room: we've been through ownership transfers before, but this one has a definite sense of "wow". As in, this might just be for real. Maybe. Possibly. Could be. We've been promised similar paths to glory by ownerships past, but simply going on "feel", it feels pretty good (I was a Whalers fan, after all).


As Vincent Viola (chairman, principal owner & governor) and Doug Cifu (vice chairman, partner & alternate governor) assume their roles at the pinnacle of the club's off-ice roster, a veritable wind of positive change indeed seemed to have infected those within the organization. All I spoke with were friendly but concealed to a degree, yet one couldn't help but notice a Cheshire cat grin not far behind the professional exterior. It was obvious. To see such emotion - even of the reserved type - is unique among the blue suit crowd, and refreshing. That clouds-have-cleared feeling permeated all in attendance.

No one has ever spoken ill of former managing partner Cliff Viner - a good, decent, and charitable fan of the team who answered the call when the Panthers needed help several years ago - and there won't ever be a need to. He evidently hit the end of his proverbial rope and needed out. Bless you, sir, for steering the ship through dark times, and planting the foundation which Viola & Cifu have received.


Mushy stuff behind us, a few quick thoughts...

  • Had the opportunity to speak with both gentlemen and many members of their families. No need to drone on in gushing fashion but rest assured they are passionate, committed to winning (who isn't, but a fat bankroll sure helps in that area), and share a common refrain: resources will be available for Dale when he calls for them.
  • Was assured that the Thomas signing is not a one-off, bandaid fix to fill a hole. As in: expect more high-profile activity. Note: that doesn't necessarily mean next week, kids.
  • Gary Bettman, typically robotic in any setting, seemed genuine in his brief but optimistic comments about the South Florida marketplace. Say what you will about the guy, but he gets it done for the southern teams; just ask folks in Glendale. FWIW, he left the building quickly.
  • Remember what I said a while back about Club Red looking like a B-list strip club? Having finally visited, I was completely wrong. Give it an A+. Pretty sweet barn after all was said and done.
  • Was sorry not to hear from either Tallon or coach Dineen during the presentation, but it would have been a forced affair anyway, with canned comments. Better they stay in the background. Dino actually hustled out pronto upon conclusion to get practice underway.
  • On the hockey end, young blueliners Erik Gudbranson and Colby Robak stayed on the ice long after their teammates had headed for the bowels of the BB&T, taking passes from one another. Nice.
  • Tim Thomas still sporting the milk-white mask. Taking LBC writer Todd Little's brilliant advice I've reached out to the equipment staff by sending a couple of a dozen Litter Box Cats stickers to be emblazoned on every centimeter of Timmy's new mask. Remarkably, no response as yet.


Anyway, long week for everyone. Your turn...

Note: all videos courtesy of the club.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Litter Box Cats

You must be a member of Litter Box Cats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Litter Box Cats. You should read them.

Join Litter Box Cats

You must be a member of Litter Box Cats to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Litter Box Cats. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker