In case you missed it while watching a tape delay of “Big Brother” cause you couldn’t catch the beginning, or you were at your weekly bowling game, or night of softball, LeBron James, yes that LeBron James is coming to “South Beach” as he put it, and joining the Miami Heat. The Heat now become the powerhouse favorite of the NBA, along with Dwyane Wade and another newcomer Chris Bosh, who has flown the coup from Toronto. The Rapters, not Maple Leafs, just to clarify.
So what does this mean for us hockey fans? Well, I have to say the announcement coming on the heels of the Florida Panthers resigning Jason Garrison and picking up free agent Patch Adams (sorry I can’t resist), it’s another punch in the gut. Or is it? I mean, I personally could care less about the NBA. Sure, I might go to a game if you ask me to, but I’m not going outta my way to go. I’m not running out and buying a Heat T-shirt. Hell, the one I have in my closet has never been worn!
So as I’ve gone around the worldwide, ok local interweb, there are mixed emotions about the deal and how it relates to Panthers hockey. The Miami Heathad to stop the sales of tickets on Thursday with the rumor of LeBroncoming to town. Meanwhile the Panthers got into the excitement with their new “Seats Fit For a King” promotion, which has some people pissed off! $23.00 seats in the lower bowl. About 65% less than what I pay for my seats.
Many comments have been made that the Panthers have taken advantage of this and made themselves more of a joke with their marketing ploy. What else can they do? Some season ticket holders are pissed off at the price that’s being offered for seats compared to what they are paying. Others feel that having LeBron can actually be a positive to the Panthers. How? Well, if the Heat games are sold out, or tickets that are available are priced out of most people’s price range, the Panthers will be a great option, or alternative.
But let’s face it folks, is it really the ticket prices that have you pissed off, or is it something else? As for me, I’ve been a season ticket holder for 12 going on 13 seasons here, and the pricing structure doesn’t have me as concerned or upset as the main theme. We have no superstar, and we haven’t had a clear direction for awhile! We are going through our third or fourth rebuild in how many years? Granted this time, and I mean it, I have full faith in the process that new General Manager Dale Tallon is using. However I’m disappointed that it appears that we will be forced to go through another season with no name players. Not Tallon’s fault. He’s got a mess to clean up that was left to him, and there’s no real quick fix.
We’re not going to go out and offer Ilya Kovalchuk nine million dollars a year. If we do, I think I’d jump out my 7th floor window here at the Rat Trick office. It’s too much money for one player that we can’t afford, and let’s face it, like having Pavel Bure years ago, the supporting cast around him isn’t good enough yet. I also don’t know that Ilya is the type of player that makes others around him better. Sure he would be nice to have, but let’s be realistic, is he going to change the future of this team all by himself?
So yes, the Panthers have their own “Decisions” to make. Our decision as fans will be do we remain patient and support them no matter what? Or do we run for the hills beach, and jump on the NBA bandwagon?
Here’s the rub, as some would say. The previous decisions that were made by ownership and management have put the Panthers in the spot they are in today. It’s a cleanup that can’t be fixed overnight no matter how much we want to try and believe that it can be. We’re stuck with contracts that never should have been handed out. Rusty Olesz for one. We have a high priced goaltender that’s pretty much impossible to trade because of his contract that we inherited. We have a couple players Rhino and Still-Man (cause he’s slow), that are probably not very movable due to age and lack of production. They are on the downside of their careers.
I’m sure we’re all running out of patience, and while things appear to be slowly turning around, the Miami Heat possessing three top players has us all a bit desperate for the Panthers to react. Am I right?
Remember, that’s what got us in this position in the first place. Be faithful, be patient. It’s the only choice you have.
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