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Samoskevich Ready to Make NHL Debut as New Season Begins

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Former University of Michigan standout Mackie Samoskevich will make his NHL debut with the Florida Panthers on Thursday against the Minnesota Golden Gophers — err, Minnesota Wild. // Photo @GeorgeRichards

CORAL SPRINGS — A new NHL season began on Tuesday night and a new career will start Thursday when Mackie Samoskevich makes his debut for the Florida Panthers.

On Tuesday afternoon, Samoskevich spoke to the gathered media at the IceDen a day after he spoke to our Colby D. Guy and initially expressed his excitement at not only making the team but getting a chance to play in his first NHL game on Thursday against the Wild.

The whole Samoskevich family is flying to Minnesota for the big game.

“They were just waiting for that news for a little bit,’’ Samoskevich said on Tuesday. “They were pretty pumped for me. They helped me the whole way through. My sisters were pretty jacked up as well.’’

There was a lot going on Tuesday.

The Panthers announced their opening roster in the morning — then made an addendum to it in the afternoon when it ‘recalled’ Justin Sourdif from Charlotte when Aaron Ekblad was officially placed on LTIR.

Oh yeah, real hockey games were also played.

More on those below…

Welcome back.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW

Get to know new Florida Panthers defenseman Uvis Balinskis a little bit.

The Panthers found the Latvian playing in the Czech Extraliga last season and ended up offering him a contract.

Now, he is in the NHL.

Pretty good example to keep following your dreams – even when you think they probably aren’t ever going to come true.

Sasha Barkov has had a number of linemates over the years. Now he has a new one in Evan Rodrigues. It looks like a good match so far.

— The Panthers have a new backup goalie. Say hello to Anthony Stolarz.

— With a new season, it is time for a new FHN Mailbag! As always, ask us anything. Just have your questions in by this afternoon as our answers will be published tomorrow morning. Leave your question on the Mailbag file, here in the comments or by using #AskGr on Twitter.

— Three years ago, Bill Zito signed his first free agent class for the Florida Panthers. While the signings were not flashy at the time, they helped set the tone for the team you all know and love to this day.

This story is exclusive to FHN subscribers — and you can get $10 off an annual pass by using George10 at checkout.

— The return of the Panthers means a lot of new video up on the FHN YouTube Channel.

Click RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place. If you hit subscribe (it’s free), you will know when new content comes up.

 

NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW

If this keeps up, the Chicago Blackhawks are never going to be invited back by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

— The Pittsburgh Penguins opened their season against the visiting Blackhawks and had bad memories from the last time Chicago was in the Steel City.

Worked out pretty well for the Panthers, though. Remember?

— The Vegas Golden Knights beat the Kraken not long after raising their championship banner.

— The Lightning started Jonas Johansson in the first game of the NHL season — and got a 5-3 win over the visiting Predators.

— Speaking of the Nashville Predators, they celebrate their 25th anniversary this season.

Sad news out of the NHL as former coach Barry Melrose announced he is retiring from ESPN after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

— The Boston Bruins held their first real practice of their new season Tuesday — and still have some things to iron out.

— Fans need to show a little patience with the Chicago Blackhawks.

— Looking at the goaltending for the New Jersey Devils.

— The Philadelphia Flyers are going young this season. Why not?

PANTHERS ON DECK

FLORIDA PANTHERS AT MINNESOTA WILD

  • When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 2-0
  • This season: Florida @ Minnesota, Thursday; Minnesota @ Florida, Jan. 19
  • All-time regular season series: Minnesota leads 18-10-2, 1 tie
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday at Winnipeg Jets, 4 p.m.

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