Did It Really Have To Be Horton?

UGH! Photo Source: wikipedia

Of all people, why him? Why did it have to be Nathan Horton to score the conference clinching goal? And now, the Boston Bruins go and face Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks for a chance to get their name on the Cup. Could these Stanley Cup Finals be any worse if you’re a Panther fan?

Forgive me if this seems late as I was fortunate enough to spend this past weekend on a cruise, but you may have heard me scream expletives from The Bahamas this past Friday night around 10:30 pm. No Versus on the boat so I relied on the ticker on ESPN on every tv I passed. And then I saw it. 1-0 on a goal from Horton. At that point, I was thankful to be not watching the game to hear the praise being thrown his way.

Call me a hater. Call me whatever, but I’m not exactly happy for Horton. His numbers looked good, and he played well enough here, but he never became the player he could have been. I don’t recall who said it, but I once heard it said of him, “He doesn’t love the game.” He also never became the leader off the ice the Cats needed him to be. Some guys have it, some guys don’t but I always pictured Nathan Horton snickering to himself whenever someone tried to motivate the team.

Now, that’s not to say the situation here was good. We’ve talked about the shortcomings of this organization’s past over and over here on this site. And he has heard every promise from every owner/GM/coach that’s been down around these parts, that can’t be denied. And for all the flack we give Stephen Weiss around these parts, I respect him for saying he wants to win, but wants to win HERE more.

In Boston, he went to just about the perfect situation. They already had good leadership in place, solid roster with great centers and a full building (as long as the Bruins are a playoff team, of course). And despite a good season, he still didn’t put up the numbers many expected him to and the past complaints of Panthers fans became the complaints of Bruins fans. But to give credit where credit is due, he’s had a great playoff run. He’s scored two series clinching goals and is a big reason the B’s are on the verge of ending their lengthy Stanley Cup drought. And if he helps lead them there, Panther fans will be left that familiar feeling of watching former players find glory elsewhere while the post season remains a distant memory.

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Topics: Boston Bruins, Espn, Florida Panthers, Nathan Horton, Roberto Luongo, Stephen Weiss, Vancouver Canucks

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  • slapshot1106

    Nice article and I think many of us share your thoughts here as well Dave. Except for the Horton apologists, I think many of us cringe at least a little bit at Horton’s success… How is it that a guy that most of us wanted to like initially, ends up seemingly coming out ahead after numerous lackluster years down here as a Panther?

    Are we really cursed down here? Maybe so, but I do believe Nate stepped into a pretty ideal situation in Boston. He plays alongside a big, bruising brother in Lucic and a crafty set-up man in Krejci… Couple that with solid point men, other scoring fwds so the pressure doesn’t all fall on him, and a market with tradition, I think Nate came out pretty well in his change of scenery..

    As you mentioned, one of the biggest factors could be that they already have proven leadership in place there.. So a guy like Nate just has to step up and do his part. So I do think this is the ideal spot for Nate. I don’t regret any of the negativity I’ve posted about Nate. I just wish he could’ve been more of a heart and soul type player, so that I could justify bashing mgmt here for letting another one get away…

    But truth be told, I can’t blame Nate for wanting to leave nor Tallon for obliging. I just wish we would’ve gotten rid of him a few years prior when he would’ve brought back a much better return.. Now we have to really hope our draft pick Bjugstad really develops, so we don’t look like we gave a Top 6 guy away for a much lesser return…

    Still no regrets. At some point, you have to change what’s not working. And hockey in South FL isn’t, so I still encourage Tallon and Co to cleanse out the old, and build it with new fresher faces. Hopefully quality character guys prevail, talent eventually arrives, and we compete in the next 2-3 years so we don’t end up like Atlanta or Phoenix. If we do, it will mostly be do to extremely poor management, but deep down floaters like our former #16 could’ve made much more of an impact, but some of them don’t have the heart to make others around them better players…

    • David Lasseter

      I really wanted it to work for him here. You HATE to have to trade away a guy with his talent, especially since there isn’t much talent around here, but he had to go. The last thing you want is a malcontent in a dressing room full of young players. Too much chance of him poisoning the room.

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