As the Florida Panthers struggle to attain mediocrity, the New Jersey Devils are already there. Sorry. Hockey always makes us mean. In reality, the teams are on either side of .500 (Devils up, Panthers down), making this weeks stickfest attractive for its competitiveness. If you didn't know that, you're probably not a big hockey fan, which makes you the type we'd especially urge to check out ice action. The games are long, but go by quickly; the action is strange, but surprisingly easy to follow; there are few things quite as beautiful as the red-to-pink wash of blood spattered on slushy white rink ice. The athleticism is also impressive, especially when you consider these (mostly large) guys are slapping that puck, setting those picks, checking that sucker while on ice skates. Ice skates! The Panthers host the Devils at 7:30 p.m. Monday at BankAtlantic Center (1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise). Tickets range from $20 to $250. Call 954-835-PUCK, or visit www.flpanthers.com.
Sun., Jan. 29