The NHL will kick off its 2021-22 season — and, it’s rekindled relationship with ESPN — with a pair of high-profile games Tuesday night in Tampa and Las Vegas.
The Lightning will raise its third Stanley Cup banner at Amalie Arena before taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Later in the night, the brand-spanking new Seattle Kraken visit the older Knights on the block in Vegas.
Both games will be on ESPN.
This should be a most exciting year what with the NHL returning to an 82-game regular season schedule and going back to having everyone play everyone.
The Florida Panthers are taking NHL Kickoff Day off — a lot of them will be recovering from a Canadian Thanksgiving Day feast — and will return to the ice in Coral Springs on Wednesday morning.
Florida gets its season going Thursday against the Penguins at FLA Live Arena with the Islanders coming to town Saturday night.
Get ready folks: Hockey is back.
FLORIDA PANTHERS LINKS
The Panthers did not officially release their 23-man roster on Monday as many other teams did, but we think we can figure it out based on practice Monday.
The question is: Which players start on IR? (FloridaHockeyNow)
— With Noel Acciari out for some time, who steps up and fills his role? (FHN)
— The Panthers made a trade with Vancouver on Sunday but the new guy isn’t expected here for the start of the season. Maybe, but probably not. (FHN)
— Colby Guy takes a look at the Panthers’ top prospects. (FHN)
— In case you didn’t hear, Sasha Barkov signed an eight-year contract extension with the Panthers on Friday. Here is how it went down — and why Barkov decided to stick around. Special thanks to both he and Bill Zito for taking time to talk to us for this story. (FHN)
— I joined Donovan Campbell for SportsXtra to talk about Barkov and the state of the Panthers heading into the opener. (WSVN-7)
— Pierre LeBrun writes the Barkov signing shows again that the Panthers have become a destination franchise around the NHL. Players really do want to be here. That hasn’t always been the case. (The Athletic)
— Some folks who will have a big say in the 2021-22 season. Barkov is included — as is Gerard Gallant. (Sportsnet)
— Speaking of The Athletic: They ranked the starting goalies and Sergei Bobrovsky did not fare very well. (TA)
— Sad day in Pantherland as General Ray Odierno passed away on Friday. He was a larger-than-life guy who lived a very full life — and was as nice a person as you could ever meet. We were all crushed to hear this news. (FHN)
AROUND THE NHL
Old friend Brian Boyle is going to sign a one-year deal with the Penguins but as of Monday, that hasn’t happened yet — because he has to pass through waivers first.
Good opportunity for Boyle to get some good playing time and help the Penguins get back to the playoffs. (PittsburghHockeyNow)
— San Jose says Evander Kane is not on the roster until the NHL figures things out. (SJHockeyNow)
— The Kraken have five players in Covid protocol on the eve of its opener. (TA)
— Travis Hamonic didn’t opt-out of the season but hasn’t reported to camp, either. He was placed on waivers after the Canucks couldn’t trade him. (VancouverHockeyNow)
— Ovi is day-to-day after getting run into at practice. (WashingtonHockeyNow)
— And Nicklas Backstrom is out. (WHN)
— The Avs gave Jack Johnson a one-year deal after he looked pretty good at camp. (ColoradoHockeyNow)
— The Red Wings have some injuries, so some of their talented prospects may get a chance.(DetroitHockeyNow)
— And finally: The Athletic reports the NHL is looking to bring back the Reverse Retro uniforms next season. I can confirm. (TA)