SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers upset some (key word: some) of their most ardent fans when word leaked over the summer that the team would change their goal song for the upcoming season.
Even the official Twitter account for the band Jimmy Eat World threw shade at the Panthers for dumping its song ‘Sweetness’ which the team played to celebrate goals the past few seasons.
The Panthers got a lot of mileage out of the song as they scored the most goals in franchise history last season.
Who knows? It could potentially make a return.
On Thursday night, the Panthers played their first preseason game at FLA Live Arena and, as expected, ‘Sweetness’ did not blare through the sound system when the team scored its initial goal.
What the team did play came as a bit of a surprise.
Who chose ‘Benny and the Jets’ by Elton John?
Turns out, Sam Bennett did.
The Panthers, at least for right now, are allowing players to chose their own songs when they score a goal and Bennett picked the Elton John classic.
”That was handpicked by me,” said Bennett, who scored Florida’s first goal in an eventual 5-2 preseason loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
“They actually played that for me in Calgary and I loved it. I thought I would try and bring it over here. That song gets me going.”
Instead of having one song blare throughout the arena after each goal, the Panthers are — at least for the time being — mixing things up depending on which player scores.
Since the Panthers only got two goals on Thursday, we only got a limited setlist.
One player, for instance, may choose ‘Sweetness.’
Another may select something from Pompano Beach superfan Kodak Black. Aaron Ekblad seems to be a prime candidate to be that guy to pick either one.
”For the most part, guys picked their own songs,” Bennett said. “I’m not sure everyone has their songs in yet but I’m sure most guys will have the songs they like the most.”
Defenseman Brandon Montour got Florida’s second goal of the night and apparently chose Billy Joel’s 1980 hit ‘It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.’
Why that one?
”It’s just a cool song,” Montour said Friday. “I like it.”
Benny on the board ☑️ pic.twitter.com/f7N5nE6e9g
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) September 30, 2022
The individual goal song is not new around the NHL but it certainly is rare.
While major-league baseball players have had personal walk-up songs for years, only a few NHL teams have tried it when individuals score a goal.
The Vancouver Canucks tried it in the past as did other teams but it appears to be more trouble than it is worth.
With the mass confusion that happens in almost every NHL game on a goal, the wrong song is certainly going to be played at times.
On Thursday, it was obvious Bennett and Montour scored.
But what happens when, for instance, it appears Matthew Tkachuk scored and the arena blasts his handpicked song only to have replays show it was actually Bennett who tipped it past the goalie?
Thems the breaks, we guess.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
As for what each player has turned in as their personal goal song, well, we’ll just have to wait.
Anton Lundell was not giving away any hints at what he has selected despite prodding from a certain reporter who is kind of partial to the stylings of Elton John and Billy Joel.
“Hopefully we will hear it soon,” Lundell said. “I have to score first. Be patient.”
FLORIDA PANTHERS PRESEASON
Saturday: Florida Panthers (1-2) at Carolina Hurricanes (2-0)
When: 1 p.m.
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh