See You Next year Erik

Money Talks-Gudbranson Walks. Panthers Still A Joke

I'm Sick To My Stomach Over This

Well, I guess the title of this post kills any chance that I may have had at getting press credentials for the Florida Panthers.  But that discussion is for another day.

I would personally like to thank the Florida Panthers organ-eye-zation for ruining my season.  Before it even gets started the Florida Panthers made in my estimation a mistake with a young player that has the tools to play in the NHL right now.  Those of you reading this may or may not agree, however I will tell you why this situation with Erik Gudbranson, the third overall pick in this years draft was handled so poorly.

All training camp we’ve been hearing how good this kid is going to be.  Erik himself has spoken with the confidence and maturity of a seasoned veteran.  Coach Peter DeBoer has said that he wants him on the roster.  Dale Tallon and the rest of the management told us that they would do everything in their power to sign him to a deal, and that he’s making a statement for a job here with the big club.  I heard it myself in the Town Hall Meeting last Friday night.  On top if it, we as fans watched it all ourselves.  Erik played in every preseason game, the only Panther to do so.  And he did it with the poise of someone who has been here for five years.  Oh, and by the way, he even stood  up for one of his “brothers” as he put it, and took a nice gash to the face courtesy of Travis Moen because of it.

Alas, all of that is for naught.  The Mickey Mouse Club way of doing things here has once again made a joke of themselves, and Erik is on his way back to Kingston, Ontario to play for his junior team.  Why?  Money that’s why.

The Panthers could not sign Big G because they would not agree to the incentive bonuses that were being proposed.  So what you’re telling Erik is this:

* We like and feel that you can play here.

* We feel that you can be a future star in this league.

* We feel that someday you might be a captain for this team.

* We love the way you play the game and are willing to give you a chance to prove it by starting the season with us.

* But, if you achieve all of your performance incentives, we don’t want to reward you for it.  Yet.

Huh?  Is this a joke?  So are we therefore telling a player that if he’s too good we don’t want to risk paying him for his performance?  That we’d rather pay stiffs like Olesz, Stillman and Reinprecht?

I’m not buying the B.S. about wasting a year of his contract in a season where we are going nowhere.  What kind of crap is that?  In one sentence the Panthers say they want to make the playoffs, yet with this move, or non-move they are saying that winning this year is not expected to happen.

This guy can play and he deserves the chance to play now.  But no, the Florida Panthers have found yet another way to piss off a player, piss off their fans, and tell the NHL, there is no urgency to win.

I tried explaining this situation to my daughter last night and other than saying that the Panthers are cheap, I had no explanation.  It pains me to feel this way, and I’m not happy at all about it.

The way I feel right now, I don’t care if the Panthers win or lose.


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