Entries with the tag: florida panthers
Barring a total collapse from either the Rangers or Canadiens (something that is still feasible) and two straight wins from the Panthers, it’s going to be another year without playoff hockey in the Sunrise/Miami area. So many of us have speculated that making the playoffs set the benchmark for whether or not Jay Bouwmeester would stay or go, and while the whole playoff issue has yet to be settled, it’s time to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.
There’s no doubt that it took about two months for the Panthers to adapt to Pete DeBoer’s new system. And I think it’s safe to say that once the team got it, they were successful enough to make a really interesting run at things despite having shipped off Olli Jokinen over the off-season. So it’s not like this season, regardless of outcome, was a total disaster. In fact, I’d say this was a reasonable stepping stone for this team to come together.
Is that enough to get Bouwmeester to stay? The soft-spoken defenseman seems like a thoughtful fellow, and I’m guessing he won’t make a rash decision (despite the urgings of his seemingly more-impulsive dad). That being said, I’m guessing that a decision about the future of his career depends on more than just the few-point difference between making and not making the playoffs.
It’s really easy to dump on low attendance numbers in non-traditional markets. I try to refrain from doing that too much because prolonged winning and a strong grass-roots program can help build things for generations to come. Look at the number of youth hockey and minor league teams in Texas as a good example.
Nothing kills attendance more than losing. That’s a simple fact in any sport, and though I’ve wondered about the viability of the Florida Panthers and Phoenix Coyotes just like everyone else did, I try to hold off from judging until they actually have a good product on the ice. Let’s not forget that plenty of “strong” markets have ugly attendance figures when teams go sour for a number of years. Yes, this can happen even in Canada.
Florida’s been an interesting beast to watch this season. In some ways, they remind me of the 2003-04 Sharks—a team that stunk up the first few months of the season as they tried to find an identity with a mixed-bag roster before finally clicking and hitting a real groove. I haven’t caught too many Panther games this season but I watched the tail end of their comeback victory against Toronto.