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Better Get Center Ice..

Tvland ...If you want to watch most of the Panthers games on TV this season, that is.

FSN and Sun announced Thursday they will only broadcast 65 of the team's 82 games this season - down from 70 locally televised games the past three seasons. If you shell out the bucks for the Center Ice package (or just hang out at Quarterdeck), you'll get 79 of the 82 games.

Looking deeper into the schedule, it doesn't look too bad. Like I said, 79 of the 82 will be available somewhere (I'll do LiveBlog! for the ones that aren't) and the games FSN aren't covering make financial sense to them.

For instance, the three games in western Canada (Dec. 11-14) won't be on, and that's probably a cost deal as much as anything else. The flip side of saving that money means Florida fans won't be able to see Mike Keenan, Sam Gagner and Roberto Luongo, unless of course, it's on Center Ice (which I think all three will be).

The local networks also have a number of blackouts because Versus has exclusivity. They can't do anything about that.

But they can't gloss over the fact they are doing fewer games than before -- and that doesn't have anything to do with Versus. It has to do with cold hard dinero, pal. The Fox family of regional broadcasters are cutting back nationwide, and unless you are the only team in the market, you're going to get cut. The truth may be that Fox/Sun are getting too big and cover too much. The Panthers are competing with the Heat, Magic, Lightning, Gators, Seminoles, high school sports and other stuff for television time.

Good thing the Panthers have 65 games as the minimum in their contract or I think folks down here would have been seeing even less of the Cats this season. That said, FSN/Sun does a terrific job of covering this team in my opinion, from the production crew to the talent of Goldie and Denis.

-- One positive of the schedule: All but one game in the opening month will be available to those with basic cable here, with the lone game not done on FSN or Versus available through Center Ice. November and December have more holes, but FSN will cover just about every game during January, February and March.

-- Single game tickets for the first chunk of the season go on sale Saturday. Feel free to visit the Panthers' official site (believe it or not, this ain't the official website) for more information and prices.

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I have a limited amount of money for sports venues. It might make more sense to buy the CenterIce and stop going to live games because a couple live games and you could pay for a year of CenterIce and see lots of games as well as from other teams. I went to about a dozen games last year, the economy is weak, costs are up I may forgo the live games and just buy CenterIce.

Hey, this is not good. I have a mini plan that I pay alot of money for, and and I enjoy watching it on FSN for free. This is not good!

Well that stinks. I get centre ice anyways since I'm up here in Peterborough but there is no excuse for only 65 of the 82 games being on TV. A local station isn't interested in picking up the remaining games?

Carolina also has 65 on Fox south this season. Think Thrashers had around 61 as my Mom's in Atlanta and she keeps track of useless stuff like that. 70 would be better, but I can live with 65. Maybe if Cats start doing better, some other station will want to do some.

Buy a ticket and see a game.

Good news ...it's basically 99.99% confirmed that McCabe is headed our way... another story came up on sportsnet.ca about it. Just thought I'd share.

That's Terrible! They should do all the games. Why did they give the gators 100 million dollars and they cut 5 measley hockey games. This will make a lot of people lose interest real quick! Very bad move by FSN!!!!!

Phillip,

Bryan McCabe is being run out of Toronto on a rail. I'm not sure if stockpiling a D-Man of this guys laziness and dangerous puckhandling is the way to go.

IF Martin indeed wanted to "sure up" the D, a guy like Lilja from the FA list and signing for very fair dollars was the way to go.

The team needs some offensive playoff experience leadership right now more than anything else.

McCabe is not the answer..just a name you recognize.

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