The Panthers chose an odd way to raise the curtain on the Vinnie Viola era Friday night with a tease.
With anticipation building the air was momentarily sucked out of the BB&T Center by the announcement that the new $4.2 million scoreboard would not be functioning for the night due to technical difficulties.
Boos echoed through the arena. Ah but it was all a joke. Lights began flashing music out of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” began playing and the huge video display above center ice blinked to life.
Before the puck dropped for the home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins a video tribute of Panthers history played on the high-definition video board to mark the celebration of the Panthers’ 20th anniversary season.
All of the players were escorted onto the ice by youth players wearing the jerseys of original Panthers from the 1993-94 season. Then Viola joined with original team owner H. Wayne Huizenga for the ceremonial puck drop. Huizenga wore the original team lea...