When it was announced that the Florida Panthers were going to play a preseason game against the Boston Bruins a lot of people talked about how dumb it was and that no one would care. I think Thursday night proved that a lot of people did care (over 4,700) and a lot of people had a great time. A lot of preseason games in sports are pointless and provide no entertainment but the opposite occurred. We saw some goals scored, great saves, big hits and some players fighting for jobs.
The attendance may have been different if it had been a team other than the Boston Bruins but that’s why the Bruins were picked, they knew they would be a draw. There was definitely more Bruins gear in the stands than Panthers but there was also an impressive amount of Panthers attire.
Just to also toss this out there, the last time the Sabres played a preseason game in Rochester there was only around 3,000 people at the game. Close to 5,000 for a Panthers vs Bruins game. Yea. But, that’s another debate.
One of the biggest complaints about the game ahead of time was the ticket price but based on the reactions of people everyone seemed to get their moneys worth.
There was the Andrew Peters vs Lane MacDermid fight.. David Booth scoring two goals in the first period, both of them great goals.. Bryan Allen dropping Lane MacDermid along the boards.. Nathan McIver of the Bruins immediately went after Allen to trade a few punches before getting a game misconduct.. Keaton Ellerby dropped Milan Lucic on the blue line with a huge hit.. and then of course two amazing saves in the third period by Tyler Plante that stopped the Bruins comeback attempt.
Tyler Plante is heading into his fourth season in a Rochester Americans uniform and trying to make a name for himself. All of the talk is on Jacob Markstrom but flying under the radar is Plante. The two awesome saves he made on Thursday were enough to get people out of their seats and applaud the effort. He’s battled injuries in previous seasons but knock on wood if he can stay injury free he’s going to give us a show.
The Panthers defense seemed pretty solid with Dennis Wideman, Gudbranson, Kulikov, Allen and McCabe. Add Jason Garrison to that mix and it’s a defense that I’d be happy to watch build some chemistry.
Panthers head coach Pete DeBoer shared a number of comments after the game but one that sticks out is when he said it was an entertaining game but the coaches still have a lot of work to do. I think that can be taken as a sign that it was a win but not a pretty win.
Here’s the post game interview with DeBoer courtesy of On Frozen Film:
And now for some more.. Keaton Ellerby. Come on Keaton, what’s going on? I want you to succeed but why make that drop pass which ended up in a giveaway allowing the Bruins to make it a 3-2 game? Sure, your hit on Lucic was awesome but there’s some work to be done. Also, late in the first period he was at the blue line and missed a pass and it left the Bruins zone. Ellerby will be in an Amerks uniform on opening night.
Adrian Foster? Who? Yea, no thanks. Did not do anything impressive.
It’ll be interesting to see what Bill Thomas will be capable of when he’s not on the fourth line playing with Andrew Peters.
Thanks to the Florida Panthers for providing Rochester with an excellent game to kick off the hockey season. That is exactly the type of thing that needs to happen for people to appreciate the Panthers a little bit more and get fans behind them. It’s an uphill battle for the Cats but for one night you owned Rochester.
The Amerks open training camp on Monday at Blue Cross Arena and it’s open to the public. If the Amerks team being coached by Chuck Weber can give fans an entertaining product like Thursday night it will be a great season.