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Panthers practice on the “pond”

Dec 10, 2011, 7:59 PM EDT

Panthers Practice Central Park Hockey

The Florida Panthers and their management took full advantage of a free day in the Big Apple as they took to the great outdoors for a 90-minute practice. It might be a man-made outdoor rink, but Saturday afternoon’s practice in Central Park brought back plenty of childhood memories for the Florida Panthers.

Panthers’ head coach Kevin Dineen explained that days like this are a good opportunity for a team to share some special experiences together. “It’s a hard schedule and at the end of the year a day like this will stick out as special,” Dineen told the Sun Sentinal. “There are a lot of smiles out there, you get back to your youth and get to enjoy.”

It wasn’t just the coach that enjoyed the chance to shake things up. Stephen Weiss admitted that the six-month season can wear on players and things like Saturday’s practice help break up the grind. “An 82-game schedule can become monotonous at times doing the same things over and over again,” Weiss said. “This is nice to refocus and certainly breaks it up and brings you back to your roots when you were a kid, and puts a smile on your face.”

If there’s any team that deserves a fun practice these days, it’s the Panthers. The Panthers are tied for the top spot in the Eastern Conference going into Saturday evening and have to be considered one of the most surprising stories of the year. Dineen said that this is one of those things that will stick out as something special when the season’s over; if they keep this up, they’re going to have plenty of things to remember from this extraordinary season.

  1. nhlbruins90 - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    I happened to be at the outdoor Frog Pond on the Boston Common early tonight watching the skating. It’s one of the best experiences of living in a great city. It was crowded, festive, Christmas lights and music. What more could you want.

  2. drillsetc - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    I’m sure the players had a lot of fun. Coming to the rink with their gear on and skates over their sticks, brings back lots of memories.

  3. Jeff - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    That’s cool, but I think they might have paid the price for practicing outdoors with a 6-1 loss.

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