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FHN Today: Florida Panthers Help Spread Holiday Cheer

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Florida Panthers Sam Reinhart, Eetu Luostarinen, Sasha Barkov and Spencer Knight meet with the Child Life Team at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood on Wednesday afternoon. — Photo courtesy Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital

The Florida Panthers were able to be back spreading holiday cheer to various hospitals around Broward and Palm Beach counties on Wednesday for the first time since 2019.

A large contingent of players, aside from those who are currently battling illness such as Carter Verhaeghe, took part in an event in which each player will readily admit does more for them than it does for the kids they get to meet.

Although by looking at the faces of those kids, that was pretty neat too.

Some players went to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood where captain Sasha Barkov is a ambassador for the center, while others visited Broward General, ARC Broward, Baptist Health and the VA Hospital in West Palm Beach.

“For me, it is great to try and give something back,’’ Barkov said. “I am fortunate to do my job here and at the same time, give something back to the kids especially. This is a great spot, a great place to be working with.

“The people here are true heroes and save so many lives, bring joy to the kids’ faces. For me to come here, see what they do and spend time with the kids is the best days. I am very happy to be working with Joe DiMaggio and hope to keep doing that for as long as possible.”

Said Paul Maurice: “It’s important, first, for whatever kid gets a hockey player to visit. It gives them five good minutes and with the severity of what some of these young people are dealing with, five good minutes in a day may be the only good five minutes they have. … This is the one everyone signs up for. They know the value of it and it is a nice day for them to be appreciative of the health that they have and knowing they can bring some joy to some people who are really battling right now.”

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FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW

The Florida Panthers have plenty of injured and sick players right now, but got some good news as Anthony Duclair skated Tuesday for the first time since having offseason surgery on his Achilles tendon.

Duclair is not close to returning to the Panthers’ lineup, but this is obviously great news.

Maurice also updates the other injuries.

Patric Hornqvist will be out until after the Christmas break, but he was back at practice on Wednesday.

The Panthers certainly miss his intensity on the ice.

— Not only is there video from Maurice following practice on Wednesday, but Barkov, Sam Bennett and Sergei Bobrovsky talking about their hospital visit experiences is up on the FHN YouTube Channel.

Check out all of our FHN videos RIGHT HERE or just click on the videos below and enjoy them when you want to.

NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW

Hornqvist’s old team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, are in town tonight.

They are dealing with some injury stuff as well.

— Ilya Samsonov was cut loose by the Washington Capitals after the playoffs but he’ll be in net against them for Toronto come Saturday.

— Pavel Zacha has made the most of his opportunities with the Boston Bruins.

— Is Chandler Stephenson of the Vegas Golden Knights the most underrated player in the league?

— With the San Jose Sharks facing mounting injuries, is it time for them to call up some of their top prosects?

— Here are some top options for the New York Islanders when it comes to some defensive replacements.

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM 2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 2-1
  • All-time regular season series: Penguins lead 54-35-7, 4 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday at New Jersey Devils

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