We have seen this all too many times in the history of the Florida Panthers. Losing leads, giving away pucks, giving teams life, letting them back into games, and playing prevent defence all too often.
Last night the Panthers had the Carolina Hurricanes down 3-0 with just over five minutes gone in the game. Almost 55 minutes of time left and all the Panthers Kitties had to do was step on the gas! You know, when you have your foot on the throat of an opponent you step on it! As I was texting my comrade Dave Lasseter during period one, we knew what doom we were scheduled for. Not to be pessimists, but we are all very familiar with the process here, and once again, we were not to be disappointed. That’s an oxymoron actually.
Which brings us to the title of this post, or rant as you may decide to call it. Dave has already given his side of the game. His title was Garbage. Prefect. My title however takes a different angle, and goes to something that was said during the Mike Keenan coaching era. Those of you who read this on a regular basis know that Iron Mike is a favourite of mine. Many of you thought he was an out of control, maniac who had no idea what he was doing. Well, let’s compare your trophy case to his. Mike knows how to win. That’s what he was trying to teach the Panthers at the time.
During a press conference that the Panthers used to show on the scoreboard after games, the Panthers had just lost to yep, Carolina. A game that if they had won, could have vaulted them into a playoff spot at one point in the season. Mike’s exact words were and I quote:
“This team does not have the mental capacity to play playoff style hockey when it needs to”.
Boys and girls, it was true back then. It’s still true today. I’ve written this post with the same title before. I’m too tired to try and find it, but the fact of the matter is, something is wrong with this bunch, and this team and it’s philosophy. From the top down, the whole thing stinks. Like I said last night on The Litter Box in game chat, “the fish stinks from the head”.
The lack of killer instinct, the poor decisions, the lazy defensive mistakes, and the lack of a forechecking system all fall to the hands of the coaching staff lead by someone who is probably a nice guy, but he’s not getting the job done. Pete the Bore has been out coached more times than Michal Repik has been back and forth from here to Rochester. He’s over matched on a nightly basis. He’s not emotional enough, and for reasons unknown he cannot get his team to respond.
I want more of this:
Instead of this:
The Panthers should have had a “bag” skate last night. No one goes home until your legs fall off, and your vomiting your dinner, and all the gatorade you may have drank. I personally hate losing more than I like winning. I am not 100% sure the South Florida hockey team I cheer for has the same feeling.
The players are either tuning out the coach, or don’t “have it”. It being the mental capacity that Keenan was referring to. I know that players are proud and they don’t like when this kind of thing happens, but for god sakes, it’s as if we as fans know it’s coming and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. When something like this is predictable, is it beyond embarrassing?
You can give me all the B.S. about rebuilding, and plan, and all that “chatter”. The bottom line is that I could deal with that if we were competitive. No one, should be satisfied to give up a three goal lead on home ice. With more than two periods to play. There has to be a response. I don’t know what that response is because there are too many places to point fingers at. Coaching, players etc. Someone called Friday’s game against Buffalo a must win. A must win or else? Or else what?
We were promised accountability. Were were promised a team that would be tough to play against, and we were promised that things like the culture would be better. I’m not seeing it. We’ve played 29 games and out of a possible 58 points we have 26. We’re 10 points out of a playoff spot and falling further behind. We’re also nine points out of the last spot in the conference, as we get closer to it.
The Keenan haters may have viewed him as a man of irrational and harsh behavior who’s tactics didn’t work. You weren’t happy with that and blamed the Panthers struggles on him. Now we have had the soft sides of Uncle Jack and Pete the Bore. The results are alarmingly similar, yet the rosters are vastly different. But the coach is still leading the ship with no improvement. With no leadership, no emotion, and no hockey sense in the players that this version has, if you think Keenan was tough then, he’d have probably beat the daylights out of someone now!
It’s absolutely amazing how I’ve written this entire post without one foul word. As mad as I am, and as troubling as last night’s loss was, I’ll leave the f-bombs to Bruce Boudreau. Another comment that Keenan made during his coaching career here was that there were too many distractions in this area, and the players needed to figure out what to do in their free time.
He’s right. It’s been bitterly cold here the past few days, but today is going to warm up. I’m headed to beach. Screw work. Who’s with me?
Thanks for reading. Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.
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