Panthers And Red Wings Memories

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH 
I have to admit that now I know what it’s like for a former player to face his old team.


For many years, I’ve come to the BB&T Center as a visiting writer with the Detroit Red Wings facing the Florida Panthers for the Detroit Monitor.
Being a Florida transplant, it was always great seeing a lot of familiar faces in Detroit. 


The pre-game meal was great.  


I would take photos with My Detroit colleagues, Trevor Thompson, Dana Wakiji, Ken Kal, Paul Woods, Ken Daniels, Mickey Redmond, Ted Kulfan, Helene St. James and Jimmy Devellano would come to town from the Sarasota-Bradenton Area. 


We would have great talks and eat together. 
It’s like old friends coming to town for a visit. 
Great stuff!


As a visitor, it was neat to meet some new people. 


Steve Goldstein, Craig Minervini, Bill Lindsay, Glenn Gable, Denis Potvin and Jessica Blaylock were always very hospitable. 

Panthers Hockey Communications Specialist Mike Lewis became a great friend and provided me with everything I needed. 


Before the game started, Thompson and I were texting each other back and forth. 


It was neat, but not the same. 


But heck, something is better than nothing. He said to me through the text messages how he missed coming to South Florida. 
At this time of the year, I’m sure he’d welcome some warmer weather. 
Thompson was always great for a few hugs! 
He would always check on me since my health hasn’t been very good in recent years. I’m very proud to call him another brother!
Because of COVID-19, the other team doesn’t travel and are forced to work remotely. 
There would be no hot meals in the Media Room. We would have our dinner in a box and we eat it in our assigned seats. It’s hard to get one-on-one interviews because of social distancing. Better safe than sorry, plus it’s the policy.


I have to admit that as much as I missed the freshly cooked meals, at least the thought of overeating doesn’t exist with the box meals.
There were some epic battles between these squads through the years. 
One of the players that I always enjoyed watching for Florida was legendary goaltender Roberto Luongo. Like Red Wings Hall of Fame goaltender Terry Sawchuk, no goaltender will ever wear No.1 again. 
In my years of covering Hockey, Luongo was one of the best goaltenders that I’ve ever seen!

Going into Super Bowl Sunday’s Game vs the Panthers, Detroit always played well in South Florida. The Red Wings record was 10-10-2-5. 
The Red Wings entered Sunday’s game with an eight-game winless streak. The team is in the midst of rebuilding. When I arrived at the stadium, I felt with how well the Panthers were playing, Detroit would struggle mightily.
But Detroit battled hard and defeated the Panthers 4-1. The loss was the first in regulation time for the Panthers. 
Red Wings goaltender Thomas Greiss was superb in the pipes stopping 36 of the 37 shots he faced.
There were certain things that stayed the same. 
You could see Red and White Jersey’s in the stands and the chants of “Let’s Go Red Wings” could be heard at the BB&T Center. 


Life has a way of directing us in certain directions.
During my 41-years in Sports Media, it’s been a blessing to have met so many quality people, going to many venues and working with outstanding franchises.
I feel fortunate that because of the Detroit Red Wings, I can see them when the situation presents itself. By the same token, I’m very delighted to be able to cover Hockey in South Florida for a fledgling organization such as the Florida Panthers. 
It’s neat to talk to some of my newer colleagues as they enjoy some of my stories about the Red Wings another lifetime ago.
The next thing for me to do is to see these two squads play at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.


But for now, it was a different feeling not seeing my old colleagues in Detroit. 
Perhaps, that will change one day when the COVID-19 improves and everyone is vaccinated.
But I’m enjoying life writing about the Panthers for The South Florida Tribune where it’s my responsibility to promote the local club and work with an Excellent Public Relations Staff!
Who in there right mind wouldn’t like to work with an outstanding coach like Joel Quenneville? 
The man has won three Stanley Cups and is destined to be enshrined in Hockey’s Hall of Fame in Toronto. 


I have renamed the BB&T Center to “My Hockey House” because it’s one of the best arenas I’ve ever worked in. 
Between the morning skates, practices and games, I spend a lot of time here. 
What’s even better is the arena is a 17 minute drive to my front door off the Sawgrass Expressway. 
Scott Morganroth can be reached at SouthFloridaTribune@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

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