Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The return of the rats

Glory days have been few and far between for the Panthers in the past decade or so. But that doesn't mean the 14-year-old franchise is devoid of them.

The Panthers reach back into their past to celebrate their finest hour this weekend when they host a "Year of the Rat" alumni game at 2 p.m. Saturday at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise.

At least 19 members of the 1995-96 team that reached the Stanley Cup finals plus coach Doug MacLean have committed to participate.
Now that brings back some good memories.

Dave Lowry was the leading scorer on that Panthers team during their playoff run, followed by Ray Sheppard and Stu Barnes on what was a club essentially cobbled together with castoffs. Netminder John Vanbiesbrouck was the real star of the show, however, and he had to be with a defence core made up of: A 19-year-old Ed Jovanovski, Jason Woolley, Paul Laus, Robert Svehla, Terry Carkner and a 20-year-old Rhett Warrener.

The greybeard on the team was winger Mike Hough, followed by Brian Skrudland and Vanbiesbrouck. Martin Straka, Rob Niedermayer and Radek Dvorak were three other youngsters who chipped in.

But, of course, the man who started the Rat Pack was Scott Mellanby, who killed one of the rodents in the dressing room, somehow prompting some crazed fans to start chucking plastic ones on the ice whenever Florida scored.

Anyone else have good shots of rats raining down after a goal?

UPDATE Apparently they're selling plastic rats as part of this reunion tour.

If anyone in South Florida is planning on attending this game, I'll gladly swap some NHL merchandise (anyone want a greatest moments DVD?) for a rat or two and a signed Johan Garpenlov photo or Bill Lindsay bobblehead.

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4 Comments:

At 12:42 AM, July 26, 2007, Blogger mc79hockey said...

I don't know what's more shocking...the fact that Doug MacLean has free time to attend this or the idea that someone in South FLA might attend.

 
At 9:12 AM, July 26, 2007, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

Ahh, the good old days...back when I was a Panthers fan

It was John Vanbiesbrouck that coined the "Rat Trick" term. Then, it just took off. Even then-owner Wayne Huizinga(sp) and his wife were tossing rats on the ice.

 
At 1:47 PM, July 26, 2007, Blogger Doogie said...

Wasn't the Rat Trick also the reason the NHL finally started clamping down on people throwing shit on the ice? I don't remember threats of delay of game penalties before then, and certainly, you don't see the hats flying like you used to.

 
At 3:31 PM, July 26, 2007, Blogger jamestobrien said...

The rats were absolutely what caused that rule change/enforcement.

They might not have had a ton of talent, but you could do worse than to have so many guys that play so hard-Straka, Barnes, Bob Niedermayer, Beeser, Mellanby etc.

As a Penguins fan during the Jagr Mullet era, it was painful to watch that scrappy team pull off a win. But they were more than just a lucky team.

 

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