With NHL Scoopster Kevin Weekes letting it be known the NHL is actually looking into holding an outdoor game in Florida — with the Panthers visiting the Buccaneers, err, Lightning in Tampa — we decided to bring out an old picture for FHN Today.
Well, it’s not that old.
Way back on Dec. 31, we wrote it was time for the NHL to seriously start looking at Marlins Park in Miami as a serious option to host an outdoor game.
Not completely outdoors, of course, but probably the best real venue the state has to offer* for such a thing.
(*) — Some have mentioned FSU’s stadium in Tallahassee or the Jaguars’ place all the way up in Duuuuval. Sure it gets cold up there. But come on.
If the NHL is going to do an outdoor game in Florida, they want to do it in the Tropics. People will tune in for that.
Tampa Bay is close enough although we still don’t know how they plan on making it work.
It is February and their temps are still in the 80s — just like ours.
As has been reported re a potential Stadium Series Game In Florida next year; I’m told could be the Battle Of The Sunshine State w @FlaPanthers and @TBLightning at Raymond James Stadium 🏟️. Situation is fluid, lots of factors. @espn @NHL @NHLNetwork @TSNHockey #HockeyTwitter
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) February 8, 2023
Sure, it may cool off a bit more up in Tampa than it does down here and perhaps there is less humidity. But we are not talking about a big difference.
What Tampa does not have is a retractable roof stadium with gorgeous views of downtown Miami.
And, word is the Marlins are down to help make this thing work.
Unless the NHL plans on putting a gigantic air-conditioned tent over Raymond James Stadium (maybe that is the plan!), the ice is going to be the consistency of a Slurpee.
Humidity, as some of y’all know, kills ice. The Florida sun beating down on it won’t help much either.
At Marlins Park, the roof can be closed for a couple weeks allowing the AC to get that place really cooled off and keep it in the shade.
Unless this is a Winter Classic that Weekes is teasing, it will be played at night.
Keep the roof closed all day, open it up when the sun goes down.
Going back to when this idea was first floated by a certain someone in 2011, the thought is ice can be made in Miami.
“It would cost a lot of money to do it, but they’re spending that anyway for these games,” Graham Caplinger, the Panthers’ ice guru said back in 2011.
“The NHL has this down to a science. They definitely could do it in Miami. You may lose the spirit of the thing because it will be inside-outside, but I think it would be cool. If it’s in the winter months, I see no reason why you couldn’t do it.”
We know the NHL wants to give Tampa Bay a big event and understand that.
But this would be a gigantic draw for the league.
Marlins Park really is the only option.
And, we don’t put salami on our Cuban sandwiches.
That should seal the deal right there.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Sergei Bobrovsky has carried a heavy load down the stretch in playoff runs before and he sounds ready to do it again with the Florida Panthers.
Florida is three points out of the playoffs with 29 games left.
- Speaking of the Lightning, if there is an outdoor game played in Tampa, keep Viktor E. Ratt away from their fans after Monday night’s fracas in the 100 level.
- And, yes, Ratt is spelled with the double-T contrary to some news reports making the rounds.
- Sasha Barkov did not practice Tuesday but skated before practice on Wednesday. Coach Paul Maurice said he is a gametime decision for tonight against the visiting Sharks.
- Aaron Ekblad was selected to play at his hometown All-Star Game last weekend and perhaps that was for the best. Ekblad has been playing through a number of injuries this season with the Panthers and the rest may have been just what he needed.
- Postgame video from Monday night’s win against the Lightning from Maurice, Matthew Tkachuk, Bobrovsky and Eric Staal remains up on the FHN YouTube Channel.
- Click RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place and if you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up. Like later tonight.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
The Boston Bruins could be in the running for Patrick Kane if the Blackhawks’ star waives his no-trade and moves on.
One player the Bruins may have to part with is top prospect Fabian Lysell.
- San Jose Sharks coach David Quinn certainly hopes potential trade targets Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier. The Panthers certainly hope they are gone by 7 p.m. tonight.
- Some thoughts on the Pittsburgh Penguins including what does the team do with Tristan Jarry?
- The Philadelphia Flyers are now tasked with slowing down Connor McDavid. Good luck.
- Should Pittsburgh’s Jeff Carter be suspended for his blindside hit on Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche?
- The reason the New York Islanders have not put Oliver Wahlstrom on LTIR is because they do not need to.
PANTHERS ON DECK
SAN JOSE SHARKS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- This season — Florida leads 1-0: Panthers 4, Sharks 3 (Nov. 3)
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 20-13-1, 7 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday vs. Colorado, 6 p.m.