The Panthers held their first practice at Pines Ice Arena since Hurricane Wilma damaged their Coral Springs based facility in 2005. A large crowd greeted the team as the surrounding parking lots were packed.
“The hottest thing in South Florida just happens to be here today,'' the manager of a nearby bank told a customer who was complaining about the traffic.
The light practice was spirited as the Panthers put on a show at the end. Kris Versteeg's shootout goal – he moved the puck between his legs then backhanded it top shelf to beat Scott Clemmensen – would have made every highlight reel on Saturday had someone actually been taping it.
The players posed for a team photo afterward then saluted the fans who were there. Afterward, the team signed autographs in the bank's drive-through line.
“There's nothing better than switching things up,'' Dineen said. “It adds a little enthusiasm to practice and you could see it in the way they practiced. You work on shootouts, but when you have people here, you want to put on a little show. I was looking for a little confidence there, a little showmanship.''