Some others who have done plenty in the background the past few seasons won't be back. The Lightning announced on Tuesday that Rob Kennedy will be joining them as an assistant equipment manager. Kennedy has been with the Panthers' equipment staff the past two seasons. Good luck in Tampa, Bean.
Also, popular medical trainer and massage therapist Jim Pizzutelli has been let go. Don't know why other than someone in the Panthers told me the team is "going in a different direction.'' Pizza was very popular with players here and around the league, having spent 19 seasons with the Sabres before joining Florida prior to the lockout.
-- Want to attend the Panthers' first few games, save a few bucks and help a very worthy cause? Well chuckles, you're in luck.
The Panthers are partnering with the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation; fans can purchase premium lower-bowl tickets through the foundation for the first three games of the regular season (yes, Opening Night is included) for $35 (regular price: $77). Seats in the upper deck are $25 (usual price: $35). The games are for Oct. 6/11 (New Jersey) and Oct. 13 (Tampa Bay).
A portion of the proceeds will help underwrite the cost of programs and services for children at the hospital where care is provided whether the families can pay or not.
To purchase the tix, call Wes England at 954-835-7243 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have to mention the hospital to get the discount. It wouldn't hurt to tell Wes that I sent you.
-- Mike Van Ryn will be signing autographs at the Fondue and Fashion for a Cure Friday at the Dillard's at the Galleria Mall in Fort Lauderdale from 2-2:30 p.m. A percentage of the day's sales at Dillards will be donated to St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis.