There's one last order of business to complete before the Florida Panthers can finally get this season started.
It comes Saturday night, not long before the puck drops against the Carolina Hurricanes, and it's a moment 12 years in the making. The Panthers will pay homage to last season one more time, with the hoisting of the banner to commemorate their first Southeast Division title.
Carolina has three of those titles under its belt, but this marks a big year for a franchise that has made the playoffs just once since winning the 2006 Stanley Cup.
Yes, the Panthers had their long-awaited breakout season. And no, winning the Southeast isn't exactly the franchise's ultimate goal, either.
"It's not a Stanley Cup banner," forward Stephen Weiss said. "And those are the only ones that really matter at the end of the day. But certainly, it was a good year for us last year. We're proud of winning the Southeast. It'll be nice to see the banner go up, but I'm sure it'll be out of our minds...