Great To Be Eight! How?


 Dare I say it, but as I am typing that’s where the Panthers sit in the Eastern Conference. Eighth!

Ok, since you all have jumped back on the bandwagon, again, after you quickly jumped off, is this for real or are we just going to have another letdown?

Let’s recap where we have been in case you forgot, and let’s look a bit forward to where we can go.

A shootout win in Helsinki Finland scored by hometown hero, The Stripper.  Who now toils in Rochester.

A shutout loss the next day bringing us back to reality.

Coming back to the states from Europe and having an October from hell with four wins to show for it.  Losing to Cindy
Crosbitch in OT, then the very next night losing David Booth to a frieght train called Mike Richards.  No retaliation.  Panther faithful start screaming for Peter Worrell a tough guy!

We then beat Dallas and St. Louis on consecutive nights on the road and come home to beat Carolina and guess what?  Everything is good again.  Well for a couple days anyway as the bandwagon gets full, but quickly hits a speedbump called the Washington Capitals who clean our clocks.  Minus Alexander Ovechkin.  We somehow recover and beat Buffalo, Detoilet (not a misprint), and the Rangers and guess what?  The bandwagon is full again!

Ah, but then that damn speedbump again!  More like a train derailing.  Losses coming in bunches, leads being lost late in games and our own players swinging their sticks like baseball bats at each other, and bodychecking each other as well.  WTF?  What to do.  Oh yea, we got that tough guy.  Big Mac.  Had him for a eight games, averaged 1:49 minutes of ice time, had a couple tilts, and is now in…Rochester.  Injuries too.  David Booth, Cory Stillman, Kenndal Mcardle, a few others with some minor stuff.

So we get to December 9th and we’re not really feeling too good about things are we?  Record below .500.  Only four (4) wins at home.  Looking pretty bad huh?  But then we go on the longest road trip of the year.  Four games.  We lose to Columbus and start to think, crap, this isn’t getting any better.  People questioning DeBoer’s moves, want Randy Sexton fired, some miss Uncle Jack.  And then we face New Jersey with Marty Brodeur about to set the shutout record.  Guess what, smartasses?  Panthers win 4-2!  Then we’re off to Pittsburgh and hang in there and even though we lost in OT, most people felt good about it (not me) and the road record so far is 1-1-1.  Off to the Island to face an Islander team that may not have even showed up and beat them solidly 7-1.  Yikes!

All during this time guys like Stevie Wonder, Lazy Ass, Rhino, and even Michael Frolik are providing highlight reel goals and damn proud of it!  Both Tomas Vokoun and Scott Clemmensen play much more consistently making the outcry for Craig Anderson go away.  The road trip is a huge success says the public.  5 out of 8 points and people are ready to annoint a playoff spot to us!  We them come home against the Thrashers  Wednesday night this week and test our hearts by giving up a three goal lead, only to somehow find a way to get the winning goal with under two  minutes left!

My stomach is turning as I type all of this.  I mean talk about topsy turvy.  Did your house look like this with all this going on?

To say the least it has been exciting as well as depressing all at the same time.  You can say intially that this team was looking awful.  They had a terrible stretch for awhile, turned it up then went backwards again, and now seem to at least be more consistent, and prepared for games.

What to do to stay in the hunt?

Finish.  Games and checks. Play for 60 minutes.

Score with the man advantage.  If you don’t get this thing working (it’s been better lately) making the playoffs won’t matter.  Your special teams MUST score in the playoffs.

Stay the hell out of the penalty box.  Don’t take undisciplined and tired penalties.  I’ve always said, I hate the hooking, tripping and interference calls.  That tells me your either tired or out of position. I don’t mind roughing and the occassional elbow.

Show some toughness.  Drop the handbag and hit somebody.  Stand up for your teammates, especially the guys that get slammed by the opposition.

Cut down the shots on goal, and give up less chances.

Balanced scoring.  Stevie Wonder and Lazy Ass can’t possibly keep this up over 82 games.  I mean they never have before, why would they now?  So you frigging third and fourth liners, start creating some chances instead of dumping the puck in and trying to tire out the other teams defence.

If you rush David Booth back from his concussion and he gets another one, I will NEVER forgive you.  So, management and doctors, don’t play him until he’s 100%.

Goaltending:  Keep doing what you’re doing.  It’s a solid tandem and with the exception of about 3 or 4 games, the losses haven’t been their fault.

It’s a long season and there is alot of hockey to play.  With those other teams sucking wind and currently out of the playoffs, now is the time for the Cats to make up some ground.

Seems like ever since I gave my Mental Capacity speach, things have been better lately.  We’ll see soon enough.  No games are gimmies, but we have 4 points to grab from Carolina this weekend.  We need all 4.  There is no way to be satisfied with 3.  If you are, you better check your passion meter.

For those of you who might be missing Uncle Jack.  Montreal is under .500 and in the tenth spot in the East.  Natives are getting restless.  This could be a reality:

Thanks for reading.