Panther Gameday: Road To The Basement. Looks Are Deceiving.

I want to thank the four of you who read my little April Fool’s diddy yesterday.  That was fun, sarcastic, yet in someways painfull to write as it brought back some memories of why we are where we are today.  Reminders of what we had, what we did or didn’t do, and how far we’ve been set back by a combination of screwups.  Make no mistake,  I have full faith in the current regime of ownership and General Manager Dale Tallon to get this boat out from under water.  In the meantime, surviving the season is what we are left with.

People have been asking me things like, “Do they really give up”?  “Are they really not trying?”.  “Do people really think that they are trying to lose”?  “How long will the turn around take”?  My response in order…no I don’t think so, no, some do, hopefully not five years.  Beyond that boys and girls, I can’t tell you much.  Thursday night’s game was hard to watch.  It looked like they had given up.  It appeared that they were going through the motions and it seemed as though they couldn’t wait for the game to be over.  But they were facing an Ottawa Senators team that was hungrier than they were.  So maybe what we wanted to see was more fight, more grit and more resistance.  What we thought we saw was a team that was flat out playing out the string.  Being in the situation that we are, fading out of contention fast, the appearance of “tanking” as many put it seems to be the obvious reason for our play.

I’ve seen these players in person after games.  Both after wins and loses.  You’re kidding yourself if you believe that they aren’t trying.  Maybe not hustling as much as they should on every play….that I will concur.  The biggest thing I think we’re seeing is that the other teams are playing harder, and we see our boys playing softer…. and while some are wishing that the team tanks for a chance at a top pick, others see a team that has basically said, it’s over…get me to the end.  Let me tell you however, there is no player at this professional level who says, I’m playing out the string.

The funny/weird thing is that when this was happening in the middle of the season, people said, this team is struggling, they’re mentally hurting, they’re fragile.  Now that the season is about over, that perception for some has changed to they don’t care and they have given up.

Tonight the Penguins from Pittsburgh are in town, minus Batman and Robin (I stole that from this fine lady at Fire That Cannon).  No Sid, no Geno, and fortunately no dumb arse Matt Cooke.  But they still have Marc Andre-Fleury and a team that head coach Dan Bylsma has working hard each and every game.  If the Florida Panthers give the exact same effort that they did on Thursday, this game could be over within ten minutes.  They seem to play to their competition and while Ottawa had virtually the same record, they just plain outworked us.  Tonight, I expect to see a better performance.  At least one that won’t drive me to drink.  If you look at the TSN Gameday, you’ll see that we have no “hot” players.  I know some gals will beg to differ.

The Panthers have been held to two goals or fewer in 15 of their last 20 games while going 4-11-5.  They have lost seven in a row.  The last time they lost eight in a row was way back in 2005 during the Uncle Jack era.

Don’t be wishing for losses people.  You can’t possibly want your team to lose on purpose.  These players are prouder than that, and you should be too.  Sure maybe some of them have and will take a shift or two off, and appear to not give a rat’s behind.  But wanting your team to lose.  Sorry, I can’t get on that bandwagon.

By the way, I hate the Penguins!  So there’s not question about my fight to the end.  What about your’s?

Game time is 7:00 P.M. Visit Pens Labyrinth our FanSided opponent.

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Tags: Batman And Robin Dale Tallon Dan Bylsma Florida Panthers Matt Cooke Pittsburgh Penguins Road To The Basement

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