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Florida Panthers lay off their mascot; the lockout just got real, yo

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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On Tuesday, the Florida Panthers announced they were laying off staffers because of the uncertainty over the 2012-13 NHL season.

''Due primarily to the NHL work stoppage, but also due to changes and efficiencies in our normal business operations, SSE and the Florida Panthers instituted a number of staff adjustments today including staff reductions,'' Panthers president and chief operating officer Michael Yormark wrote in a statement to the AP.

With that, we have our first mascot casualty of the 2012 NHL lockout: Stanley C. Panther.

His performer was laid off Tuesday, according to George Richards of the Miami Herald, putting a plushie whiskered face to those affected by the work stoppage.

Honestly, the timing's a little odd, considering the team is doing an "I Love Panthers Hockey" campaign that's built on organizational pride and Panthers spirit. Figured you might need a mascot for that sort of thing.

We'll remember the good times … the appearance on "The Price Is Right" … his version of "On a Boat" … that time he fought Darth Vader … that time he went on injured reserve.

The good news: The person who played Stanley C. Panther will probably be rehired when the lockout ends. Let's hope so. We don't want Stanley's days limited to feeble attempts at starting chants in South Beach before heading home for arena popcorn, Jägermeister and endless viewings of "Death To Smoochy."

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