Along with relevance and a chance at the playoffs, rats have made a surprising return for the Florida Panthers this season, as the team began selling plastic rodents (in three spiffy colors!) at its official store earlier this month.
The Panthers' "Rat Trick" tradition back in 1996 forced a new rule in the NHL that banned the tossing of objects on the ice during games, with some exceptions. That rule still stands today; so how can the Panthers sell ice-bound projectiles and expect fans not to toss them during a game? Why, with an ominous warning!
Reader Evan Gropper sent this image in after the Panthers' win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night, writing that they were found "in every cup-holder at the Bank Atlantic Center."
Geez, we've seen 1950s anti-communist propaganda that's warmer than a demon rodent WARNING you that you could be in the same section as those delay-of-game bastards who'd dare toss a rat on the ice before its time; and if you see them, "RAT THEM OUT" so they can be arrested, ya snitch.
Short of Ed Jovanovski skating off the ice, walking into your section and punching you in the face until you promise not to throw a plastic toy on the ice until after the final buzzer, this is probably the most effective means to that end.
Oh, but in true Florida Panthers traditions, it's also a means to make some more coin! The ticket office phone number, the social media pimping, the sponsorship logos — including Party City, our nation's largest distributor of plastic rodents, snakes and 40-year-old birthday "Old Fart" mugs.
We eagerly await the San Jose Sharks creating small placards with a fire-breathing hell duck telling fans to narc on anyone tossing a mallard on the ice …