The Florida Panthers have been must-see-TV this season as they have rock-and-rolled their way to the top of the NHL standings.
Ratings on Bally Sports Florida are growing as more and more folks tune in to see one of the greatest shows on ice.
But the Panthers are off for the next two weeks in what was supposed to be a break for NHL All-Star Weekend and the Beijing Games.
The Panthers do not return to the ice — or the airwaves — until Feb. 16 when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes.
That game will be broadcast to a national television audience on TNT.
So, what to watch in the meantime?
We here at Florida Hockey Now are here to help.
There are plenty of sports to bide your time — the Miami Heat are always an entertaining option — and the All-Star festivities from Las Vegas should be fun as well.
And, there is always Olympic hockey with a number of former Panthers participating. More on that later.
But what about something to watch that doesn’t involve sports?
Again, got you covered.
Now, none of this stuff is new per se, but we’ve been busy watching the Panthers so there hasn’t been a lot of time to check out a lot the stuff that’s out there.
But, trust us, these are solid suggestions.
SPORTS TO WATCH
— Miami Heat, Bally Sports Sun: The Panthers old Miami Arena roommates are a game out of first place in the Eastern Conference and have a handful of games during Florida’s break. Tonight, Miami visits San Antonio at 8:30; the Heat also has games against Brooklyn and Dallas coming up.
— Winter Olympics, NBC/Peacock/USA: The Games kicked off on Wednesday but the Opening Ceremonies will be broadcast early Friday morning. There are a lot of different events going on — curling, skiing, ice dancing, etc. — for the next couple of weeks. Hockey starts next week. Team USA (more on them later) kick off next Thursday with a preliminary game against China at 8:10 a.m.
— NHL All-Star Weekend, ESPN/ABC/ESPN+: The Panthers will have Jonathan Huberdeau on the ice and Andrew Brunette behind the bench. The NHL is trying to juice up the skills competition (Friday, 7:30) with events being held on the Vegas strip. Should be fun.
— The Super Bowl, NBC: The Cinderella Bengals take on the homestanding Inglewood Rams in what is the final real football game of the season. As a Cleveland Browns fan, I’m eagerly anticipating the USFL reboot.
— Miami Hurricanes basketball, Ballys Sports, ACC Network: The Hurricanes are not ranked and lost a tough one to Notre Dame on Wednesday which dropped them to a tie for second in the ACC. This is a fun team to watch.
TV TO WATCH/STREAM
— Yellowstone/1883, Paramount+/Peacock: If all of your friends have been talking about the Montana ranch epic Yellowstone, well, there is a reason. It’s a pretty fun watch. You may have already caught up with the Dutton clan and want to see how they got to Montana in the first place? Maybe? Perhaps it’s time to check out the prequel 1883.
— Deadwood, HBO: Looking for something a little more gritty? Take a visit to the Gem Saloon in the Dakota Territory and introduce yourself to Seth Bullock, Sol Star, Wild Bill Hickok, Charlie Utter, Calamity Jane and — of course — Al Swearengen.
— Justified, Hulu: Seth Bullock of Deadwood fame returns to the small screen as a U.S. Marshall transferred from Miami to his home state of Kentucky where his old ties to Harlan County provide plenty of trouble. This is a very underrated show, one which is coming back as a limited series. Catch up now.
— Arrested Development, Netflix: Looking for something lighter with an incredible cast? Check out the Bluth family. Remember, there’s money in the banana stand.
— Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul, Netflix/AMC+: Two tremendous series. The first follows a high school chemistry teacher who finds out he has cancer and needs to raise some money to leave for his family. Why not cook up some meth? The second series is the prequel to the Albuquerque-based thriller and follows the lawyer who breaks bad himself.
— The Wire, HBO: As good a show as you’ll ever find, The Wire is based in Baltimore and has a different story arc each season — all of which include the drug trade and the beleaguered Baltimore police department. The cast is absolutely terrific.
— Ted Lasso, Apple+: If you have not seen Ted Lasso yet, well, get a month of Apple+ and check it out now. Jason Sudeikis is terrific in his role as an American football coach who takes over a British soccer team. As good as he is, the supporting case may be better. This show lives up to the hype.
MOVIES TO WATCH/STREAM
— Miracle, Disney+: Want to get in the mood for some Olympic hockey but really don’t want to watch the rest of the Olympics? Go back to 1980 and enjoy the story of the Miracle on Ice from Team USA.
— Airplane!, Hulu: If you have never seen Airplane!, well, I don’t know what to tell you. I have lost count of how many times I have watched this classic comedy. Perhaps one of the most quotable movies of all time.
— Caddyshack, Netflix: OK, this one rivals Airplane! for quotable lines. Undoubtably the greatest movie ever filmed in Davie, Caddyshack is another flick which can be watched over and over. And has been.
— Mystery, Alaska, Disney+: There may be better hockey movies out there, but this movie has Burt Reynolds in it. And the New York Rangers.
— Slap Shot, Peacock: The best hockey movie of all time and it is not up for debate. If you haven’t watched this classic yet, what in the name of Denny Pratt are you waiting for? See if you can spot Bruce Boudreau in one of the early scenes. That’s also his apartment near the end.