Sunday, March 15, 2009

3 Straight Losses

Well, since I last wrote quite a bit has happened in Panther Land. JM chose to turn down every offer made to him for Jay Bouwmeester on the trade deadline and keep him until the end of the season. At the time, I thought JM made the right choice. Now, with injuries to Bryan McCabe and Nathan Horton, and watching Bouwmeester's play, I wish JM had traded him and I think he would have if he could have seen these things coming.

Last night, the Panthers gave up a 2 goal lead in less than 7 minutes to the Tampa Bay Lightning. I was at the game, and I could not help but feel as if I was watching the same old Panthers team from the past blowing it in the final minutes of the third period. They lost in the shootout, and watched a precious point slip right through their fingers. They should have had this game. Even in their worst times, the Panthers have shown that they can dominate the Lightning. We dominated for 2 periods last night, and then the Panthers got a few penalties in the 3rd which hurt them pretty badly. I was pretty much livid after I left the BAC last night. These were my thoughts right after the game ended. I kinda went and vented on The NHL Arena:

"This team has to be the most frustrating franchise in the history of sports, especially for the fans. It's like they always find a way to lose at critical points of the season. March is usually the time where the Panthers tease us by making it oh-so-close to getting into a playoff spot by having a rally of wins. This season, they come into March with a playoff spot and are fucking blowing it. I bet that even if the Panthers came into March in 1st place, they'd somehow find a way to miss the playoffs. Come on... blowing a 2 goal lead in 15 minutes when you know a win would put you back into a playoff position? Seriously, I knew once the Lightning tied it that we were likely going to lose if it went into a shootout. Our shootout is a fucking joke, no one can ever score. They might as well let Stanley C. Panther shoot, I think he has a better shot of scoring. I just hope McCabe gets back in the lineup soon, obviously we suck without him. Now the Panthers have lost 3 straight, so much for that "playoff promise" shit."

So yeah, as you can see, I was VERY angry after last night's loss. Before blowing the game against the Lightning, the Panthers lost to the Sabres on Thursday night and to the Penguins in the shootout on Tuesday night. So, now the Panthers are once again out of a playoff spot, sitting in 9th place in the Eastern Conference. The next few upcoming games are critical. We have Washington, Toronto, and Columbus coming up this week followed by a HUGE game against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 23rd. In fact, I think that game is so pivotal that I'm taking that Monday off work just so that I can go to that Panthers vs Hurricanes game. I'm hoping McCabe will be back in on Tuesday, we really need him back.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Trade Deadline Is Here!

Well, the trade deadline is finally here. I've already started watching TradeCentre. I'm curious to see what will happen with the Panthers between now and 3:00 PM. Will JBouw sign, stay until July, or get traded today? I think that's the big question on all Panther fans' minds right now. Bouwmeester signing is doubtful, and if he doesn't, my opinion is that JM will trade him today. Maybe JM will make some other surprise moves, but I doubt he'll do something real major that would disrupt the chemistry of this team. I guess all there is to do now is sit back, wait, and see what happens.

Yesterday in Atlanta, the Panthers finished their road trip 3-2-0. I'll take it, especially when we just wrapped up our toughest part of the schedule so far. No more Boston, Montreal, or New Jersey. Now we play teams behind us who are fighting for a playoff spot like the Blues, Penguins, Sabres, and Hurricanes during March. I'm not too worried since the Panthers usually play well in March (hey, we're 2-0 so far!), but the 9th and 10th place teams are only a few points behind us, one minor slip up can cost the Panthers bigtime.

Huge game coming up against the Penguins on Thursday night. I kinda hope Crosby is back in the lineup because lately, the Pens won every game that he's been out with that groin injury.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ride on the Panthers Roller Coaster

Since I last wrote after getting crushed by Boston, the Panthers had a 3rd period comeback win against the Rangers on Thursday night, Nick Boynton got sent home for disciplinary reasons, got crushed 7-2 by the Devils on Saturday afternoon, then won 6-2 over the Capitals the very next day. Can someone say "Rollercoaster"?? Ok, I'm going to start my commentary on the order in which things happened.

Panthers vs. Rangers- This game was basically a must win for the Panthers. They were 2-0-1 against the Rangers this season and considering that the Cats would face 2 of their toughest opponents (Devils and Capitals) after this game, this was one of their better chances of picking up points on the road trip. The Rangers scored first, and the Cats did not score until about halfway through the 3rd period, scoring 2 goals in about a minute, giving them a 2-1 regulation victory over the Rangers. This win was especially important because that same night, Buffalo and Carolina went into a shootout where Carolina won, but it was the worst possible scenario since 3 points were given out. Nick Boynton was benched in the 3rd period and appearantly he had a verbal altercation with coach DeBoer in which he was sent home and would not play for the rest of the road trip with the rest of the Panthers.

Panthers vs. Devils- With Vokoun still out with an ear infection, and Boynton and Stillman out, I honestly was not very confident going into this game. The Panthers played one of their worst games I've seen this entire season with the final score of 7-2. Pathetic.

Panthers vs. Capitals- Okay, I honestly thought that the Panthers were never going to be able to beat Washington again this season (especially at home), and I'm eating my words right now because somehow, without Vokoun, Stillman and Boynton and Booth getting injured during that game, the Cats skated off with a 6-2 win over the Washington Capitals. Not only that, but they scored 3 consecutive powerplay goals in the first period! I'm completely baffled as to how they were able to win this one. I guess they were embarassed and bothered about that humiliating loss in New Jersey the night before and really got their act together. You know, one of the things that I noticed about the crowd at the Verizon Center yesterday is that it was PACKED, I believe the game was sold out. I was thinking to myself "where were all these fans about 2 years ago when the Capitals were at the bottom of the standings?". Appearantly, VanMurph was thinking the same thing and posted a photo of the "crowd" at the Verizon Center during a game he went to in 2007 when the Cats were playing the Caps on his blog. I suggest you go check that out on the official Panthers website in "VanMurph's View" if you want to be amused. Well, I do have a couple of more thoughts but I'll post those later tonight. I'm off to work for now.