The Florida Panthers announced on Tuesday, September 18 that they would eliminate a number of employees due to the NHL lockout. The Panthers declined to comment how many employees would get the axe but after only three days into the NHL lockout, it looks like teams like the Panthers are preparing for the worst.
Michael Yormark, who is the President and Chief Operating Officer for the Panthers, released a statement on Tuesday in which he directly sites the NHL lockout as the reason for the team's layoffs. Yormark also mentioned that Sunrise Sports Entertainment, the parent company, which runs the Panthers, The BB&T Center and the Saveology.com Iceplex also saw a number of layoffs.
Preparing for a Long Lockout
The NHL put the lockout into effect on Sunday, September 16 after negotiations with the NHLPA failed. At this point I think most fans hope that the two sides will be able to reconcile their differences quickly so the lockout will be relatively short but the conduct by some players and teams demonstrates otherwise.
The Panthers aren't the only team in the NHL to streamline operations. The Ottawa Senators have also announced layoffs and shortened work weeks.
The same day as the Panthers' announcement, NHL superstar Alex Ovechkin announced that he is planning to skate in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League this season. ESPN reports that Ovechkin believes it's possible for the lockout to last the entire season.
The Panthers' Players
As of Wednesday, September 19, none of the Panthers' players have indicated that they will spend this season overseas. Last week the Cats assigned several players to their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, but other than that have not announced any major roster moves.
Many of the Panthers' players are still practicing despite the lockout. The players don't have access to team trainers but they are able to rent ice time at the Saveology.com Iceplex, which is a public facility.
For right now it looks like everyone involved in this labor dispute is hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. As of Wednesday, September 19, the Panthers have not cancelled any regular or preseason games and fans are still able to buy tickets but given the uncertain future of the 2012-13 NHL season, I imagine the ticket office is a quiet place.
More from this contributor:
All layoff news, rosters and lockout information from TSN.ca
Information on tickets and schedules from FloridaPanthers.comKristian Eberwein is a freelance journalist from Orlando, Florida. He was an English major at the University of Central Florida and has been a part of the Florida hockey community for the past twenty years. Follow him on Twitter