Panther fans are all too familiar with the above image of Uncle Jack. Depression, confusion, constipation. Pick one. All you need to know is that the current ring leader of the Ex-Panther Factor has done it again. Only this time to a storied NHL franchise.
The Philadelphia Flyers disposed of the Montreal Canadiensfour games to one in a rather easy matchup. The Habs who had brought excitement to the city of Montreal and had the “Cinderella” tag placed on them in this year’s postseason, broke the glass slipper. After beating the potent offence of the Washington Capitals in a stunning seven game series, then beating the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, the Habs ran out of gas. Or was it determination?
Their performance against a Philadelphia team that was bigger, stronger, more composed, and more consistent was painful to watch. With the exception of game three which the Habs won, and where Michael Cammalleri stuck his tongue out at Flyers grunt Daniel Carcillo, that was all the news they were to provide. Unless of course you count the vandalized Honda Accord of Montreal Gazette reporter Pat Hickey.
So why did the Habs lose? It’s simple.
* Too small to play in a grueling series against a bigger and more physical team.
* Shots came from the perimeter, as they rarely tested a third string goalie, who somehow looks like a Vezina Trophy winner.
* ZERO, and I mean ZERO net presense. No body either big enough or willing enough to plant themselves in the crease.
* Timid play, which led to being outshot in certain points of games, 13-1 for example. You can’t muster any offence that way.
* Sergei Kostitsyn who was vilified and virtually expelled from the team earlier this season, allowed to come back and play. Why?
* Michael Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec virtually invisible throughout the series.
* Not enough push, shove, or aggressive behavior.
* Poor passing, too many giveaways, and playing scared.
* Waiting for your goaltender to be the savior, and instead of playing with some desperation, you played not to lose.
*Jaroslav Spacek, Dominic Moore, Assistant coach Kirk Muller and Uncle Jack himself, all formerly with the Florida Panthers, thus solidifying the Ex-Panther Factor as the real deal.
As a Panther fan I’ve seen this before, and was truly disappointed by Montreal’s effort in this series. A dull and uneventful affair that felt as though I was watching a replay of a Panther game from a few years ago since JM was behind the bench. I said early on in this series that if Montreal lost I’d be able to give the reason why in four words or less:
Well, there’s also The Ex-Panther Factor too.
Here’s a sendoff from some Flyer fans:
The Stanley Cup Finals begin Saturday night on NBC!
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