SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Panthers coach Kevin Dineen is pretty sure that the long-awaited banner-raising ceremony awaiting his team on Saturday night will not be a distraction.
The way he sees it, the Panthers waited seven months for hockey. Another few minutes to celebrate last season's Southeast Division title won't hurt.
Going to the playoffs last season ended a 12-year drought for the Panthers, who then took eventual Stanley Cup finalist New Jersey to a double-overtime in Game 7 of their first-round series before getting eliminated.
Most of the key people from last season's Florida roster are back, and they know that the Panthers won't be sneaking up on anyone this year.
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