The 2011-2012 season for the Florida Panthers was a special one filled with surprises, anxious moments, exhilaration, celebration, and finally exhaustion. It was a season that saw a team gel together right before our eyes, as well as all the eyes of the pundits who predicted nothing but a last place finish at the beginning of the year. While the disrespectful opinions flowed for most of the season, the Panthers led by head coach Kevin Dineen were out to prove otherwise. Finishing the regular season with their first ever division championship was step one in the turnaround. Being one goal away from eliminating the New Jersey Devils in one of the most exciting seven games series’ you’ll ever see, proved that the Panthers were for real.
While we await the outcome of the labor negotiations I thought it would be a good time to bring you some of our best articles of last season. Or at least the ones that meant something to us, and hopefully to you. Today we’ll cover September to December. Our next post of our best will cover January to April. I’ve selected what I feel are two articles from each month, allowing you to relive and look back at last season and smile, while we anticipate the new seasons start.
September: We have to start somewhere, and why not with a season prediction. This article shows my optimism, dedication, and willingness to put my best foot forward and predict a playoff appearance while others predicted another season of doom.
One of the best ideas that we had was Rat Trick Radio. Josh Luecht who had the idea, as well as the name, worked tirelessly to produce one of the cleanest, most informative, and at the time the only Panther podcast on the net. He truly helped make that show a huge success. We had some great guests that included Bill Murphy, longtime fan Van Murph, and of course former Panther Scott Mellanby. Here is episode one. where Josh talks to Panthers assistant GM Mike Santos.
October: After six games of the new season, general manager Dale Tallon didn’t like what he saw on the ice. He sent a message to the team, and the city that nothing less than 100% effort will be accepted. His trade of David Booth shocked many, but as staff writer Paige Lewis tells us, Dale isn’t trying to win a popularity contest.
November: November marks the month where the NHL inducts its best players into the shrine known as The Hockey Hall of Fame. Staffer Patrick McLaughlin talks about both Eddie Belfour and Joe Nieuwendyck and their well deserved entrance.
Jason Garrison had a career year with the Panthers, and even though he has moved on to Vancouver, his season will always be remembered here in South Florida. His rocket of a slap hot on the powerplay helped propel the Panthers early start. My right hand man, and popcorn spilling brother David Lasseter talks about the sudden growth of Jason Garrison.
December: We never want to blame a loss on the officials, but as this article by staffer Scott Mullin shows, there comes a time when you just may have to. A December loss to the Phoenix Coyotes had all the makings of a snow job against us in more ways than one.
In early December Dave, Josh and myself were done listening to all the sour opinions and disrespect that the Panthers were getting. In this episode of Rat Trick Radio we challenge Boston Bruins announcer Jack Edwards to a “barn fight”.
BONUS: I couldn’t help but give this article another plug. For those of you who doubted Jose Theodore, it was about this time of the year that you started to believe that he much better than advertised.
I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Part two will be posted on Wednesday, so make sure you come back for more.
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
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An article that was one of most popular all season was this one here, when staff writer Scott Mullin covered the battle between Direct TV and Fox Networks. An outstanding piece of journalism from Scott.