Was actually hard to tell the champs were here today.
First clue: The Red Wings jersey being raffled off by the Panthers this morning at the open-to-the-public morning skate. True story: The Panthers were giving away the jersey of their opponent.
Clue No. 2: The ADT Club was offering off all kinds of seafood, from jumbo skrimps to sushi to Octopii. OK, just kidding about the sushi.
Clue No. 3: The guy they got to do the ceremonial slap shot came onto the ice sporting his Red Wings jersey. Maybe he won the raffle. Stanley C. Panther tried to stop the shot, but dude put it home. Then Stanley stormed off the ice, leaving the Detroit guy standing there not knowing what to do next. Classic.
Clue No. 4: There's a good buzz here. Lot of folks in the building early. Lot of winged wheels on the jerseys. Again, the Panthers may just have been handing them out before the game. New promotion: Anyone coming to a Panthers game wearing the home colors is asked to remove their jersey and trade it in for one from the opposition.
If I'm the Panthers, I bring in Kid Rock to sing the anthem. Then trot out Dontrelle Willis, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera and Jim Leyland -- in Wings' jerseys with Tigers' caps -- to drop the ceremonial puck. Only makes sense.
While we're at it, replace Denis Potvin in the TV booth with Gordie Howe.
-- The Panthers have replaced the Florida state flag with one brought down from Michigan...
-- The team took the Hyundai showroom on the lower level and replaced it with a variety of cars from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler for Friday's game....
-- Friday's game was also brought to you by Greektown Casino and Casino Windsor instead of Seminole Coconut Creek....
-- Big cluster of Detroit fans standing in Section 107, and it appears they are looking for a fight. And Matt Millen is nowhere to be found.
-- Back to hockey: Gregory Campbell is in, Noah Welch and Wade Belak are out.
-- Pregame video (not making this up): David vs. Goliath, with a picture of David Booth. Good stuff indeed. Let's get this party started.
Kid Rock, you're up!