The Florida Panthers departed for Minnesota on Monday abandoning a ravishing eighty five-diploma day. A mere 1,500 miles and eighty levels later, the Panthers arrived within the Twin Cities greeted by single-digit temperatures and under zero wind chill.
Typical knowledge says Minnesota native Nick Bjugstad can be resistant to the chilly. Bjugstad admitted, nevertheless, three years of South Florida dwelling has thinned his blood.
“Simply strolling to the rink a couple of blocks was fairly robust for me,” Bjugstad admitted. “You get used to shorts and flip-flops in Florida. I’m listening to it from the blokes, ‘How are you going to stay in Minnesota?’ Nevertheless it’s an incredible place to stay, truly.”
Bjugstad and fellow Minnesotan Kyle Rau loved a uncommon in-season go to house within the first of a 3-recreation journey that features stops in Winnipeg and Colorado. That it got here so near the vacations solely added to its significance for the previous College of Minnesota teammates.
“I went residence for dinner final night time and my mother and father had the home all adorned so it’s fairly particular to be right here to see family and friends,” Rau stated.
Bjugstad gathered with household at an uncle’s home however hockey remained a focus for for the 2010 Minnesota Mr. Hockey award winner from Blaine.
“Received a bit of residence cooking, performed some mini hockey with my cousins, so it was good to be house for the night time,” Bjugstad stated. “Clearly, we solely make it right here every year so I attempt to take advantage of it.”
This journey marks the fourth and second visits to St. Paul as professionals for Bjugstad and Rau, respectively. Rau was a Minnesota Mr. Hockey winner himself in 2011. The world holds fond reminiscences for every however Rau holds the sting in that division.
“That is type of his rink. He’s gained a number of state championships that I haven’t,” Bjugstad stated. “We gained some huge video games with the [Gophers] right here, although, so I can stick with that, however the highschool video games I nonetheless have some dangerous reminiscences.”
Rau capped off his highschool profession with a diving shot within the third additional time of the state championship recreation in entrance of a packed home at Xcel Power Middle. It was Rau’s second state title in three years enjoying for his hometown Eden Prairie highschool.
“I undoubtedly have some good reminiscences right here and this place is clearly particular to me,” Rau stated. “It’s gonna be an awesome night time tonight.”
▪ Jonathan Marchessault skated for a second straight day on Tuesday and rejoined the lineup after lacking 5 video games because of a decrease physique damage. The Panthers main objective scorer with 10 factors, regardless of the layoff, was united with Bjugstad and Colton Sceviour on Florida’s third line for the primary time since coaching camp — when Bjugstad broke his hand in a preseason recreation.
The trio had been anticipated to play collectively from the day the Panthers signed Marchessault and Sceviour when free company opened on July 1.
Marchessault stated after Tuesday’s pregame skate he didn’t need to be eased again into the lineup and wouldn’t play if he didn’t really feel he might carry out at one hundred pc.
“I’m not a man that goes like 70 or 60 % exhausting,” he stated. “So I would like to have the ability to go arduous. I’m going to see how I really feel in warmup however thus far it’s good.”