So, sorry for the delay.
As you have probably seen many other places, the 2009-10 schedule came out today and the Panthers are going to find themselves playing a lot of back-to-back games this year.
Blame it on the Olympic break. The NHL has to jam in the same amount of games in the same time frame while taking a couple weeks off at the same time.
This season, Florida will play on consecutive nights 18 times – with the team splitting a home and an away game in nine of them.
Florida will only play host to a back-to-back set once this year, on March 20-21 when Buffalo and Tampa Bay visit Sunrise on consecutive nights.
This year's schedule is more balanced than in past years, with the Panthers only going to the west coast once for a game at San Jose. Florida's longest road trip is four games (Dec. 9-14, at Columbus, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and New York Islanders); Florida's longest homestand is also four games (March 16-21 vs. Washington, Phoenix, Buffalo and Tampa Bay).
The Panthers will visit each of the other 14 Eastern Conference teams at least twice, with three road games against divisional opponents.
Florida will also travel to Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Nashville, Columbus, Minnesota, Colorado and San Jose. Florida will play Western Conference opponents Chicago, Colorado and Nashville twice this season.
Florida opens at home on Oct. 10 against the Devils and gets its first visit from the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins on Nov. 23. Florida is home for Thanksgiving with three games that week with big draws Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers and Toronto coming to town.
Florida will play in New York on Dec. 23, but be at home against Boston two days after Christmas. The Montreal Canadiens will visit on New Year's Eve with a special 5 p.m. starting time. Florida will also play host to Western Conference teams Los Angeles, Colorado, Edmonton, Anaheim, Calgary (Bouwmeester and Jokinen), Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), Phoenix and Nashville.
The Panthers have two home games that are on the same day the Dolphins play at home, although on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, the Dolphins kick off at 1 and the Panthers don't play until 5.
And on Jan. 3, fans from western Pennsylvania can double-dip as the Steelers visit Miami the same day the Penguins play in Sunrise. The Panthers home opener on Oct. 10 is the same day Florida A&M visit the Hurricanes in Miami Gardens.
And should the Panthers be in the hunt for a playoff spot, the end of the season doesn't look all that daunting. Florida, which has missed the postseason for eight straight seasons, plays four of its final five games at home. The team ends the regular season with games against Tampa Bay on consecutive nights. The Lightning visit Florida in both team's regular season finale on April 11.
Oh, and Halloween in St. Louis. That should be fun.
2009-10 Florida Panthers Schedule
ALL TIMES EASTERN
ALL DATES & TIMES SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Fri. 2 @ Chicago 11:00 a.m. *Helsinki
Sat. 3 vs. Chicago Noon*Helsinki
Fri. 9 @ Carolina 7:00 p.m.
Sat. 10 vs. NJ Devils 7:00 p.m.
Mon. 12 @ Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 16 vs. Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 21 vs. Buffalo 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 23 @ Pittsbugh 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 24 @ Philadelphia 7:00 p.m.
Wed. 28 vs. Ottawa 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 30 @ Dallas 8:30 p.m.
Sat. 31 @ St. Louis 8:00 p.m.
Wed. 4 vs. Carolina 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 6 vs. Washington 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 7 @ Washington 7:00 p.m.
Thu. 12 @ Boston 7:00 p.m
Sat. 14 vs. NY Islanders 7:00 p.m.
Mon. 16 vs. Los Angeles 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 18 @ Buffalo 7:00 p.m.
Fri. 20 @ Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 21 @ NY Rangers 7:00 p.m.
Mon. 23 vs. Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 25 vs. NY Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 27 vs. Toronto 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 28 @ Nashville 8:00 p.m.
Mon. 30 @ Atlanta 7:00 p.m.
Wed. 2 vs. Colorado 7:30 p.m.
Thu. 3 @ Washington 7:00 p.m.
Sat. 5 vs. Atlanta 7:00 p.m.
Mon. 7 vs. Edmonton 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 9 @ Columbus 7:00 p.m.
Fri. 11 @ New Jersey 7:00 p.m.
Sat. 12 @ Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Mon. 14 @ NY Islanders 7:00 p.m.
Wed. 16 vs. Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 18 vs. Carolina 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 19 @ Carolina 7:00 p.m.
Mon. 21 @ Philadelphia 7:00 p.m.
Wed. 23 @ NY Rangers 7:00 p.m.
Sun. 27 vs. Boston 5:00 p.m.
Thu. 31 vs. Montreal 5:00 p.m.
Sun. 3 vs. Pittsburgh 5:00 p.m.
Tue. 5 @ Toronto 7:00 p.m.
Thu. 7 @ Montreal 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 9 @ Ottawa 7:00 p.m.
Wed. 13 vs. Washington 7:30 p.m.
Thu. 14 @ Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 16 vs. Tampa Bay 7:00 p.m.
Mon. 18 vs. Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 20 @ New Jersey 7:00 p.m.
Thu. 21 @ NY Islanders 7:00 p.m.
Sat. 23 vs. Toronto 7:00 p.m.
Tue. 26 vs. Montreal 7:30 p.m.
Fri . 29 @ Washington 7:00 p.m.
Sun. 31 vs. NY Islanders 5:00 p.m.
Mon. 1 vs. Anaheim 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 5 vs. Calgary 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 6 @ Atlanta 7:00 p.m.
Tue. 9 @ Carolina 7:00 p.m.
Thu. 11 vs. Vancouver 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 13 vs. Boston 7:00 p.m.
Tue. 2 @ Atlanta 7:00 p.m.
Wed. 3 vs. Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 6 vs. Carolina 7:00 p.m.
Tue. 9 @ Minnesota 8:00 p.m.
Thu. 11 @ Colorado 9:00 p.m.
Sat. 13 @ San Jose 10:30 p.m.
Tue. 16 vs. Washington 7:30 p.m.
Thu. 18 vs. Phoenix 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 20 vs. Buffalo 7:00 p.m.
Sun. 21 vs. Tampa Bay 5:00 p.m.
Tue. 23 @ Toronto 7:00 p.m.
Thu. 25 @ Montreal 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 27 @ Ottawa 7:00 p.m.
Mon. 29 vs. Nashville 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 31 @ Buffalo 7:00 p.m.
Thu. 1 @ Boston 7:00 p.m.
Sat. 3 vs. NY Rangers 7:00 p.m.
Tue. 6 vs. Ottawa 7:30 p.m.
Thu. 8 vs. New Jersey 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 10 @ Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Sun. 11 vs. Tampa Bay 5:00 p.m.