It is human nature that we all love to be appreciated.

On Wednesday, the Florida Panthers played the Capitals in Washington.

Sure, it was just another game on the NHL regular-season schedule, but for Brett Connolly, it was his first game back.

After playing three seasons with the Capitals and helping the team capture the 2017-18 Stanley Cup, the 27-year-old from Prince George decided, as a free agent, to sign in July with the Panthers.

No one could blame Connolly for taking the four-year, $14 million deal ($3.5 million a season) with the Panthers, numbers Washington was not prepared to match, in part because of its (pardon the pun) salary “cap” situation.

The former Cariboo and Prince George Cougars sniper was given a video tribute and a round of applause by the pro-Washington crowd prior to puck drop.

In a class move, the Capitals and their fans made sure to recognize a former player that (even as a third-liner) played a key role in their Stanley Cup run.

The Capitals won the game 4-3, although Connolly did score for the Panthers in the second period to briefly tie the score at 1-1.

T.J. Oshie committed a turnover, which led to Connolly’s breakaway and his second goal in two games against his former team. (The first meeting was November 7th in Florida, won by the Capitals 5-4 in overtime)

The 6’3 Connolly, who had a career-high 21 goals in the 2018-19 season in 81 games with the Caps, already has 12 goals in 25 games with the Panthers (including five in his last five games).

He also has seven assists for 19 points and a plus 5 rating while averaging 14:41 of ice time a game.

Connolly leads the team in goals and is fifth in scoring.

“It was a very easy transition,” Connolly told the NHL website on Thursday. I immediately felt comfortable with the coaching staff and my teammates. It’s a great opportunity for me here and it’s a good start to the season. ”

The Tampa Bay Lightning first-round pick, sixth overall, in 2010, is now just hitting his stride and is at the peak of his career.

“I knew there would be an opportunity for me here. I am a little older. We have a young team, while in Washington, everyone was older than me. It’s different; I have more responsibilities and a little more weight on the shoulders to remain a constant player. It’s a good change. ”

The 12-8-5 Panthers are 2nd in the Atlantic Division after missing the playoffs by 12 points last season with a 36-32-14 record.

“If we’re playing our best we can play against any team. We’ve just got to keep getting better every day and we’ll take it from there,” stated a confident Connolly, who after a slow start to his pro career has hit his stride.

He is not only an offensive contributor but also embracing his role as a leader.

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This is season two of Hartley’s Cat Scan, a weekly podcast show that primarily features the Prince George Cougars.

My guest on the 11th Cat Scan in year two is the WHL Director of Officiating Kevin Muench.

All aspects of refereeing are brought to the table as Kevin, who has been in charge of officials for 19 years, discusses responsibilities, assignments, recruitment, training, questionable calls and much more.


FROM THE QUOTE RACK:  

Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins missed the final play of the 19-16 win over the Detroit Lions to take a selfie with a fan. Apparently, he misunderstood when they said they needed him for a final snap.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

Dwayne Haskins got distracted and somehow missed the final snap of Sunday’s win over Detroit because he was taking a selfie with a fan. To be fair, pretty sure as QB of 2019 Redskins, Haskins hadn’t done much practice of the “V for Victory” formation.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

The new San Francisco Giants manager is Gabe Kapler. Fans of the team just hope that come October, they’ll be saying, ‘Welcome Back, Playoffs.’

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Porn star Teanna Trump tweeted on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s official account: “Your player needs to PAY ME what he owes me.” Or as Thunder apologists tried to spin it a charging foul.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/


IN CASE YOU MISS
ED IT:

The posted speed limit on Ole Miss campus is 18 mph — the jersey number of ex-Rebels football great Archie Manning. Let’s be thankful Wayne Gretzky never played college hockey.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

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Hartley Miller is the news and sports supervisor and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca