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April 26, 2012; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss (9) is congratulated by teammates after scoring in the third period of game seven of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the New Jersey Devils at BankAtlantic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Getting Heckled After Elimination: A Panthers Fan's Perspective

I was farting around on the internet yesterday, absorbing hockey news and preparing myself for the second round series, when I saw this.  I’ve read previous “eulogies” on Puck Daddy: they are written by the sworn enemies of an eliminated teams’ rivals, so they make a concerted effort to rip apart the entire franchise with every detail that can be used.  In a twisted way, I was looking forward to this.  I was curious to see who would write it and what they would pick at.  I like a good roast.

Unfortunately, I would only be disappointed.  The writer of the eulogy went by the name of Rudy Kelly, who writes for the “Battle of California” website.  Somehow, this task was deferred to a Kings fan.  Where was the Capitals or Hurricanes or Jets fan?  Where was any team that had a personal vendetta against us?  I found that to be interesting.

After getting into the meat of the eulogy, I realized first that this guy is a narcissist with nothing interesting to say about the actual hockey teams in Florida.  He talked mostly of how California is better than Florida, and how our rats are a celebration of violence and is orchestrated by a massive conspiracy from Disney.  Surely he could have done something more biting than that, and I don’t even care to disprove those accusations.  I could definitively say that California is beautiful and is better than Florida in many different ways, and nobody would disagree.  And the whole Disney thing is silly; if I’m not mistaken I believe there is a Disneyland much closer to LA than WDW is to Sunrise.  There’s certainly some conspiracy over there, isn’t there?

When he actually touched on the hockey aspect of the roast, nothing was accomplished.  He went first to say that all the big players on our team “suck”.  Next he pointed out our goal differential, which was accurate and upsetting, but that’s not exactly untrodden ground. But I’ll give that point to him since he went and bothered to look those stats up.  It’s a blemish on our stats that needs to be rectified come next season.

The next segment is the most egregious of all.  Kelly asks, where do the Panthers go from here?  He cites the future of the franchise to be Dmitry Kulikov and Jacob Markstrom (with surprisingly genuine praise for both), and the rest of the roster to be a “hodge-podge of mediocre talent.”  I don’t need to tell Panthers fans, we have the best farm system in the NHL, glutted with talent at all levels.  And how could he have ignored Erik Gudbranson, the third overall pick from two years ago also on the roster?  A simple Google search would have easily convinced Mr. Kelly to attack something else.

He finishes off the segment by saying that the Panthers will be a 9th seed team for the forseeable future: he proves it by saying we lost to the Devils.  In seven games, with that the decider going into double-overtime.  Yeah, we really choked that one away.

Finally, Kelly attacks Mr. Kevin Dineen for being a baby after the Panthers loss to the LA Kings.  His comments, of course, are totally taken out of context.  To an unbiased reader, the quote he provides seems to suggest that the Kings were playing relatively poorly compared to how they usually play (which was true: they took many undisciplined penalties and were on the penalty kill for much of the game), and that the Panthers played a great game despite a loss (which was true: we racked up 42 shots and were only stopped from victory by incredible goaltending from Jonathan Quick).  Yeah, Dineen was upset after the game, but who wouldn’t be after three periods of frustration?

My favorite part of the eulogy is the ending, where Mr. Kelly says, “save a small piece of your hate for the Panthers. They truly do deserve it.”  I find that amusing, since Kelly was supposed to be the one explaining to us why we should hate the Panthers.  To this point, the only points against us are that we a) reside in Florida; b) have a poor goal differential; c) lost to the Kings in early December and were frustrated about that fact; and d) are a “hodge-podge” team.  I won’t hate anybody for just that.

I don’t want to come off as a humorless, easily offended kind of guy, but I just can’t derive anything clever or particularly acerbic about this “eulogy”.  Of all the things to poke fun at, how did he miss Stephen Weiss’s playoff-less career, Versteeg’s haircut, or the unorthodox hockey market in South Florida?  Those were softballs!  Somehow, the entire piece reflected more upon the writer than the subject.  Mr. Kelly, I didn’t save any hate for the Panthers, but I now hold a little contempt for your writing.

Thanks for reading, I urge you to comment!

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