Sunday Conversation: Getting Out Of The Basement


Regardless of what happened in last night’s game all of us know that one game doesn’t make a season.  Many media heads (Barry Melrose, Craig Button)  have all said their piece prior to the beginning of the season, and feel that history in Florida is expected to repeat itself.  Meaning the Florida Panthers will once again not be a playoff team.  Their words not mine, as almost everyone predicts the Panthers to finish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.  As you know, I did predict that the Panthers would finish eighth in the Eastern Conference, which might be expecting too much, but it’s not impossible.  Some people however just enjoy beating a dead horse and not even giving us a chance, and that’s what’s been happening all summer long.  And it hasn’t stopped.

Yesterday afternoon I came across this article in the new Justin Bourne led site called Backhanded Shelf written by Daniel Wagner.  Once again, a slap to the back of the head as Daniel says:

"Unless some of their skilled prospects go on a scoring spree, the Panthers will make like bloggers this season and never leave the basement."

Just to let you all know I type this from the comfort of my family room which happens to be in my basement apartment.  I know that last year I was on a rampage at the end of the season in reference to our finish as you can see in one of my references here, but honestly, this isn’t your normal Panther’s team.  The concerns?  Chemistry.  Too many new faces.  New coach.  New systems.  Too much money spent (um salary cap floor had to be met).  Also, everyone thinks that Dale Tallon spends money as though he has a machine in his basement in his office.  Yes he did build a Stanley Cup winner by going on a spending spree, but that was just one of the tools he used.  Trades, draft picks and good coaching also contributed to that championship in Chicago.  His system has worked.  So ask yourselves, who would you rather have pulling the strings here, Dale who built a winner, or Jacques Martin who probably would have given me a six year contract for $4 million dollars a year had I asked.

After years of watching the organEYEzation put out 4 lines of players that for the most part couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat, the club finally has a multitude of scoring potential.  After years of seeing a shaky defence and being forced to get excited about players like  Corey Murphy and Branislav Mezei, we finally have skilled players like Brian Campbell and the young Dmitry Kulikov, sand some muscle with Ed Jovanovski and the young Erik Gudbranson.  I know, the goaltending is the major question that everyone has.   Guess what? We weren’t winning with the goalies we had before, combine that with no scoring and a shaky defence, and what do you expect? Now the focus has been put on a balanced and uptempo offence, as compared to watching paint dry, and playing not to lose.  Rocket science isn’t needed to know that we will be better.

As I end my subtle tirade this morning, please know that while I’m not guaranteeing a playoff spot, I am predicting that we will be in the hunt and can finish 8th.  It’s easy for an outsider to say we aren’t any good.  Why not.  It’s easy to follow the herd. Imagine if one, just one media head said the Florida Panthers would make the playoffs? Would that mean that the sky is falling? No.

Last night’s victory was only one game.  But for today and tomorrow, and until the next game against the Penguins, let us enjoy it.  Let us dream of how good things can be.  After all these years, and for all the fans who stayed with this franchise, we deserve that.

This is the year.  We’re getting out of the basement. By the way houses here in South Florida have no basements.

Panther fans- I ask you to speak up.  Tell me and the rest of the NHL that we do have a chance.  The best one we’ve had in years!

As always thanks for watching. We welcome your comments and opinions.

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