The Cats appear to be getting new bosses.
A sale of the Florida Panthers is “imminent,” according to a New York Post source, with an announcement regarding the alleged deal expected within the next few weeks.
Vincent Viola, a New York businessman who formerly had a stake in the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, is heading the prospective ownership group, the Miami Herald reported.
The Miami-area NHL franchise, founded in 1993, is currently owned by Sunrise Sports and Entertainment.
In 19 NHL seasons, the Panthers have managed to make the playoffs only four times.
Its lone deep playoff run came in 1996 when the Panthers were swept in the Stanley Cup final by the Colorado Avalanche.
Last season, the club averaged 16,991 fans per game at BB&T Center. This ranked them 22nd amongst 30 teams and wedged between Dallas (21st) and Nashville (23rd).
MORROW WEIGHING OPTIONS
The countdown to opening night may be well underway, but Brenden Morrow isn’t worried about missing much action.
With just two weeks to go before the regular season kicks off, the unrestricted free agent is still unsigned.
“I feel I’ll play somewhere this season at some time. I am confident in that,” Morrow, ex-captain of the Dallas Stars, told Dallas Morning News.
“But I want it to be the right fit, where I can possibly be there for a little longer time, and where I feel confident I can help.”
At 34 and with 850 NHL games under his belt, Morrow would be a valuable piece to a club in need of a gritty forward.
Several teams have expressed interest in his services.
“There’s a lot that goes into it, and money is a part of it,” said Morrow, before adding he would like to “be on a team where I think I can win, where I think I can contribute to a winner.”
Morrow last played for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 6-foot, 209-pounder -- dealt to the Pens at the NHL trade deadline last season -- contributed 18 points in 29 regular and post-season games.
WING IN TROUBLE
Detroit Red Wings forward Teemu Pulkkinen has a date with the NHL's disciplinarians on Thursday.
The 21-year-old Finn is scheduled to meet with the department of player safety to discuss a boarding incident Tuesday night. The suspension is likely to exceed five games since it requires an in-person hearing.
Pulkkinen was assessed a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct after hitting Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Mike Kostka in the first period.
Pulkkinen played most of last season with Jokerit of the Finnish league, only suiting up twice for Detroit's AHL affiliate. The left winger put up 34 points in 59 games for Jokerit.
PISANI HIRED BY CIS TEAM
Former Edmonton Oilers forward Fernando Pisani is getting into the coaching game at the university level.
Pisani, who last played in the NHL in 2010-11 with the Chicago Blackhawks, was hired Wednesday as a part-time coach by the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Pisani, who was already active coaching in Edmonton, will attend practices and home games but won’t travel with the team.
“Fernando played NCAA hockey and then had many successful seasons in the NHL,” Golden Bears head coach Ian Herbers said. “We want him sharing those experiences with our players and reinforcing the work ethic, commitment, discipline, details and attitude it takes to become a professional hockey player.”
Pisani had 87 goals and 82 assists in 482 NHL games with the Oilers and Blackhawks. He also played four years of collegiate hockey at Providence College.
Former New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg has been released by the New York Rangers. Hedberg, 40, was attempting to crack the squad through a tryout contract … New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told Newsday forward Cal Clutterbuck suffered a skate laceration and is expected to “miss some extended time.” The laceration occurred Tuesday night when Clutterbuck was hip-checked by Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman … In a Wednesday press release, the Washington Capitals said owner Ted Leonsis will be making a “major announcement” Saturday during the club’s annual convention. The Capitals aren't tipping their hand on details.