Scott Mellanby, who scored the first goal in franchise history on Oct. 6, 1993, watched Saturday’s game from the press box, as did former Panthers coach Duane Sutter. Others with ties to that first game who were in St. Louis included TV analyst Billy Lindsay and assistant coach Craig Ramsay.
The Panthers will honor some of their top players with commemorative bobble heads. Mellanby, Florida’s captain from 1997 to 2001, will be among them. Mellanby killed the rat in the Miami Arena locker room that started the rubber rat craze in Florida’s run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996.
“It’s nice to be honored, but it sure makes you feel old. I can’t believe it has been 20 years,” Mellanby, now the director of player personnel with the Montreal Canadiens, said last month. “This was a big part of my career, a big part of my life. I got married just before I came here, I had children born here.
“I would like to see the team be back in the playoffs on a regular basis. We were proud of what we did here. I’ll always have a soft spot for the Panthers. I think I was a big part of the franchise at one time.”
• Scott Clemmensen played in his first game since last April on Saturday and made 24 saves in leading San Antonio of the AHL to a 3-1 victory over the Rockford (Ill.) Icehogs.
Clemmensen had knee surgery last month and is technically in San Antonio on a rehab assignment. Because he passed through waivers without being claimed, the Panthers could keep him there longer if they so wished.
“I’m here to play some games and get my game in order,” Clemmensen told the San Antonio Express-News. “For me, this is my training camp. My goal is to prepare myself and get my body healthy. After that, who knows?”