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No More Specialty — Read: Pride — Jerseys in NHL per Bettman

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Nhl pride jersey
The Florida Panthers wore special Pride jerseys in warmups on March 23 although Eric and Marc Staal did not. // Photos courtesy @FlaPanthers

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that the league is getting rid of all specialty warmup jerseys — most notably the Pride jerseys which caused controversy in a number of cities, including Sunrise — for next season.

That means no more special jerseys used in warmups for Military Night nor Hockey Fights Cancer Night or Black History Month.

But this complete ban on special warmup jerseys was aimed at one in particular — the NHL Pride jersey.

There was no controversy surrounding any of the others.

“I’ve suggested that it would be appropriate for clubs not to change their jerseys in warmups because it’s become a distraction,’’ Bettman told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in an exclusive interview following the NHL’s Board of Governors meeting on Thursday.

”(They’re) taking away from the fact that all of our clubs in some form or another host nights in honor of various groups or causes, and we’d rather them continue to get the appropriate attention that they deserve and not be a distraction.’’

“In the final analysis, all of the emphasis and efforts on the importance of these various causes have been undermined by the distraction of which teams, which players (chose not to wear the jerseys),” Bettman continued. “This way we’re keeping the focus on the game and on these specialty nights we’re going to be focussed on the cause.”

As Bettman alluded to, the Hockey Fights Cancer Night, St. Patrick’s Day and Pride Night — among all the other special nights teams celebrate — will go on.

And, special jerseys can be made by the teams. They just will not be worn on the ice during warmups.

Players, Bettman said, are free to model those special jerseys to promote the nights if they want to.

“All of those nights will continue,’’ Bettman said. “The only difference will be we’re not going to change jerseys for warmup because that’s just become more of a distraction from really the essence of what the purpose of these nights are.”

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW

Happy Anniversary to the Florida Panthers and Paul Maurice.

It has been a year since the Panthers officially introduced Maurice as their new head coach and, despite some rocky moments during the season, it was a move which worked out for both sides.

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Bill Zito says he wants to keep the Panthers as intact as possible, but is that possible? Looks like Radko Gudas could get better offers elsewhere — and may have to take one of them. We’ll see.

— Speaking of Zito and the Panthers, injuries and pending contract extensions could slow their roll when it comes to free agency — which opens next Saturday at noon.

Spencer Knight is working on and off the ice at his home in Connecticut with Zito saying the two have remained in contact. The Panthers expect him to be back with the team in the fall — if not before then.

— The boys from Sudbury are back together as former Florida interim head coach Andrew Brunette hired former Florida captain and assistant coach Derek MacKenzie in Nashville.

— The Panthers will play a preseason game in Nova Scotia on Oct. 1.

Grigori Denisenko got in a full season with the Panthers after missing the second half of the last one with a fractured knee cap. It looks like the Panthers’ first-round pick from 2018 may be turning a corner — and he says he wants to return. But will the KHL come calling? Probably.

Aaron Ekblad will need shoulder surgery and says he expects to miss the start of training camp.

Matthew Tkachuk fractured his sternum during Game 3 of the Final yet kept coming back. Until he could come back no more.

— The Panthers are now looking ahead with the NHL Draft next week and the free agency period opening July 1. What’s next for these Panthers?

— Don’t forget to subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel RIGHT HERE to see all of the videos from the Panthers’ offseason all in one place.

If you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up.

Not only is there a ton of video following Game 5 from the likes of Paul Maurice, Sergei Bobrovsky and Sasha Barkov, but there is a lot of exit day video from Aaron Ekblad and Matthew Tkachuk as well.

Bill Zito video from Wednesday afternoon is up as well.

Thanks again for watching these all season long. There is more coming.

NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW

A year ago, the Calgary Flames were coming off a division championship and looking to build on their second-round playoff exit.

Then Johnny Gaudreau left as a free agent and Matthew Tkachuk took off to play in the sun.

With reports out there that even more stars want to leave Calgary, it looks like the Flames may be staring down a full-scale rebuild.

— The Celtics made a big trade earlier this week and the Boston Bruins would be wise to follow their lead.

— Speaking of the Bruins, it sounds like David Krejci could be headed toward retirement.

— Some free agent targets for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Eh, the Panthers are probably looking at some of them as well.

— Trade rumors! These ones involve the Detroit Red Wings.

— Will the Montreal Canadiens get Will Smith at No. 5?

— It looks like defenseman Scott Mayfield will be leaving the New York Islanders. Does he like the beach?

— Could Nashville be in on Winnipeg center Pierre-Luc Dubois?

— Former Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat is probably on his way out of Ottawa, but where’s he going?

— How will the San Jose Sharks replace Erik Karlsson if he heads out of town?

FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK

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