Playoffs….What a word for Florida Panthers fans to hear this week…. Then, in addition to playoffs…the word…. Champions…
Though the media critics continue to bash the Florida Panthers with guys like Rob Pizzo of Backhand Shelf calling them the ‘worst team in hockey” and guys like Ryan Lambert….well being typical Ryan Lambert and trying to bash on the Panthers the reality still remains….The Florida Panthers are the South East Division Champions…whether the media likes it or not.
And in their capacity as the best team in the worst division they have secured the third seed and the option to play at home for the first two games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs… How they played the last few weeks does not matter… they took care of business earlier in the season going on a five game winning streak right before going on the five game losing streak to end the season. Backing into the playoffs? I don’t think so…. the Panthers earned every point this season through hard work, grit and determined play.
It is interesting to see the contradictions in the media’s statements, for example…
“What you may not know about the Florida Panthers, though, is that not only are they not a good team, they are quite literally the worst team since the lockout — i.e. when we got the shootout and all that bad stuff — to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.” – Ryan Lambert
What Ryan fails to mention here is that this entire Panther roster has been overhauled with only 8 players from last season carrying over and bringing in 16 new players….this is not the same team as before with entirely new management, coaching and players it is totally unfair to judge them based on the past awful teams that played in Sunrise….then Lambert goes on to say…
“I said when the Panthers made all those early-July signings that Dale Tallon had amassed an impressive collection of middling NHLers, probably enough to make a mediocre NHL team. They didn’t get quite that far. Again, they had one more win than the 11th-place Jets, who we can all agree are terrible.”
However Lambert you seem to have forgotten your own writing back in December you wrote…
“the team has certainly exceeded even those modest expectations so far this year, and they’re the no-doubt-about-it best and nicest surprise in the league this year….only five teams in the whole conference currently have positive goal differentials. So you know what? Yeah, the Panthers look like a playoff team.”
Ryan have you forgotten what you wrote? Goal differentials didn’t matter in December….Instead of hitting the Panthers over the head should you not be praising them for proving you right? The Panthers put together a “mediocre” team and still made the playoffs. They did it without guys like Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Eric Staal or other superstars all of whom are in the quote Worst Division In The League.
Have they not earned the respect from you that they managed to succeed, or have you no understanding of what it’s like to not make the playoffs for 10 years and finally have the chance to compete for the Cup. Can you not be happy for the parents who have 12 year olds that have never gotten to see a playoff game….Ryan…tisk tisk show some class….
As fans exited the Bank Atlantic Center on Saturday night there was a rejuvenated attitude of hope filling the building. People congregated around PantherLand (the team store) screaming things like “South East Champs!” “We Want The Cup” and “To Hell With The Devils!” Murphy Burch, a huge Panthers fan, climbed up a staircase and waved a personally made South East Division Champions flag while screaming “Who’s House?” and getting the rally call back from the Panther’s faithful “Our House!”
This is what the reaction should be in the media in South Florida and elsewhere. An understanding that making the playoffs means something to the fans, that being a Champion, even just a meaningless division title, means something to Panther’s fans…
Because whether or not the Panther’s backed into to playoffs, whether or not the team lacks the elements to succeed in the post-season, whether or not the media acknowledges their accomplishments it doesn’t matter…..Because it’s the Cup
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