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Leaving a Bad Taste

Blinky2_1 Things are getting pretty ugly here in Pantherland. The team has no idea what it's doing right now, and now guys are just waiting to see what happens next. PS: The Flyers are only 1 point back.

Olli spoke last night after the 25 minute players-only team meeting. Chris Graton and Gary Roberts both spoke as well, and they didn't have a whole lot of new things to say. Gratts made a great point about this team needing some sort of a change, some sort of a spark. The team is playing afraid and scared. There is no life out there whatsoever, and something needs to be done quick.

So, what would you propose? We know the management isn't going anywhere, so forget the "Fire JM!'' blather. Are we talking a trade or two (I know I would be); is it as simple as just kicking someone in the backside (a benching)? Give me your thoughts on what you would do if you were coach/gm for a day. Personally, if I were coach/gm, I would refuse to speak to the local media. Let 'em find their stories somewhere else dangnabit!

-- Sat in the stands for last night game. Scarfed down some nachos and enjoyed the view. There really isn't a bad seat in the joint. Also enjoyed all the in-house entertainment in between the action. Who knew it was Toyotathon time? I do now. And good thing there was a lot of icing or we'd never know it was sponsored by some jewler in Coral Springs.

If the Florida Panthers wrote a book, they could call it : Pimp my Team. If the NHL were to allow ads on jerseys, you have to believe this team would be the first to do it. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they were already working on something.

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Methinks George Richards' editors are going to get a call soon from the Panthers. Can't reference the "pimping" aspect of the Panthers without a complaint from the "pimp-daddy himself, Michael Yormark! Btw, this psychotic rant brought to you by "Jimmy Dean's Sausage"!

the presentation is an absolute joke there. it's a circus. having attended and thouroughly enjoyed the game a couple of weeks ago up here in boston, i'll say that the one part of that franchise that's gotta go is the part that runs game day operations. up here, the chicanery was kept to a minimum, folks were able to enjoy the night out, socialize, drink a couple of beers, etc. without having someone else's idea of what the experience should be SHOVED down their throat. ugh... what a joke. but that's another story.

if i'm JM, i strip olli of his C as he never really earned it and certainly hasn't grown into it as we hoped. otherwise, i'm gonna stand pat and hope the team can come around by the trade deadline to the extent that we have some value in some of the vets. whatever i do, i don't trade ANY of the young talent unless it brings back much more of it in return.

i think the year is lost. was a while ago. it's time to tear the veteran pieces of this franchise apart and look to find some more complimentary pieces for our youngsters. we need to reevaluate the scouting department, top to bottom as we have not been doing a good enough job there. most importantly, we have to take a step back and realize that things are not going to change overnight.

This offseason, I'd decline to resign Niewy, Roberts, Gelinas, Stumpel, Belfour and Jackman. I'd resign Bertuzzi if he's willing to take a pay cut.

Let one of our goaltenders in the system win the backup role to Auld and play Alex as you would a normal starter. Try to get Hordichuk back or pry Godard from Calgary for the 4th line. Sign a proven goal-scorer and speedy wingers; all being in their twenties.

We did the veteran route for a couple years so now I'd go back to being one of the younger clubs in the League. Hard to get any worse than this low point.

-ghoste

"Gratts made a great point about this team needing some sort of a change, some sort of a spark. The team is playing afraid and scared. There is no life out there whatsoever, and something needs to be done quick."

i disagree with you completely george. i don't think thats a great point at all. that is the problem actually.

gratton (and everyone else on this team...) thinks the team needs change. they think they need a spark. and i agree. but instead of going out there and doing it themselves they're waiting around for someone else to do it. they want martin to make a trade. or cohen to fire someone. why don't they just go out on the ice and do it themselves? why do they need a coaching change or a teamate to be shipped off to try? stop making excuses and looking for someone else to do the work for you. own up to your laziness, get on the ice, work your ass off every minute of every game and sooner or later you'll start to win games. there is too


this team isn't losing because a lack of talent - they're losing because they lack effort. they lack heart. you see teams like atlanta come in here and all four lines are hustling 60 minutes a night. they're diving in front of shots, working their butts off to backcheck, forcheck, everything. our guys aren't. someone winds up to shoot and they dance out of the way at the last minute to avoid getting hit. we have the worst forcheck in the league because no cares. no one pressures the defensmen, which in turn means they make a good outlet pass, which means an easy entrance into our zone, which usually means a good scoring chance. what do they think? forchecking really isn't that important?

there's a hell of alot more to winning games than just shooting - apperantly half the players on this team never got that memo. they're convinced they give their all but when you watch the games you know damn well they aren't. i get the feeling alot of players (horton, stumpel, even jokinen) don't fully understand the importance of details. they'll hustle their ass off if they see a good scoring chance - but when it comes to the dirty work (ie - forchecking, backchecking, boardwork) they half-ass it because they don't get any personal rewards for it. how many times do you see a puck go into the corner and the opponent skate away without a problem?

they aren't willing to do the dirty work - plain and simple. they act surprised that they cant score goals...how are you supposed to score if you dont have the puck? 90% of the game it seems we're chasing the opposition around like idiots because they lose all the individual battles. it doesnt matter how hard nathan horton's wrist shot is - or how quick olli jokinen's release is - or how fast joe nieuwendyk is - if they don't have the puck, they ain't going to score. PERIOD!

it's an absolute embarassement the way these guys continue to play. they should be ashamed.


oh and btw - i have played the game and i know its not easy. i know at times you struggle with confidence and it's tough to deal with. i can imagine that there are alot of guys in that clubhouse who are dealing with that issue right now....

....but what i also know is if you are giving 99% you'll never be good enough. those who work hard will be rewarded. if they were legitamatley playing well and earning chances and holding the other teams to very few chances, that would be one thing. but i hear them talking about how well they played and how unfortunate they were after the atlanta game it made me laugh. yes - they only lost 1-0, but the score would have been 5-0 if it werent for auld. we had very few quality chances on lehtonen. the boxscore may say we outshot atlanta, but shooting from center ice doesn't get much done in my eyes. they on the other hand had chance after chance down low and auld made a handful of highlight reel saves.

i'll admit they did play a good game in montreal, but instead of building on that, they go out and lay an egg in ottawa. i was embarassed to be a fan (which says alot considering the panthers' past) and it seemed as if they didn't even care.

Great topic of discussion GR. I'd pull a combo military/Herb Brooks move. I'd take them out of their country club comfort zone. I'd put them in a hotel, away from their wives/gf's and other distractions. I'd take away their cell phones, blackberries, laptops, etc... I'd get them up at 5 am for skating/drills. Do video in the afternoon with team building activities during the evening. I'd have every minute of their day planned out. I'd start fining them for hooking and interference penalties. And I would make sure they knew that I would start treating them like multi million dollar professional athletes when they started to act like it.

One thing i noticed they do well is cycle the puck in the offensive zone. The problem with that is you can't get a good shot from the boards. When they cycle they puck like that, they seem to have 2 men on the boards and one close to the net. The one close to the net is always covered, therefore causing a lot of bad angle shots coming off the boards. Is there a better gameplan that would have maybe 2 men in front of the net at most times?

Also, it seems that they do not have enough quality shots and maybe they are just rushing their shots to the net. If you watch some of the star players in the NHL they seem to be very good at being patient with the puck and maybe faking a shot now and then. This normally throws a goalie off quite a bit, unless they are expecting a fake shot. I think most goalies have figured out the Panthers because they know when they are going to shoot. They always shoot it as soon as they get a chance. Olli Jokinen is a prime example. He is a shooting machine but he doesn't ever wait for the quality shot he just fires it to the net. He also has to become a better passer because if he doesn't shoot the puck first he gives up a soft pass in the offensive zone.

ALEX you are completely right about Gratton's comments. Stop waiting and do something about your game because I haven't seen him do anything good for the team since he signed his contract extension. He seems to be the root of the problem. I remember that he was the one complaining in the pre-season about their rough road schedule and their trip to Puerto Rico. In fact wasn't he one of the ones that didn't go with the team to Puerto Rico? Why didn't some of the players go to Puerto Rico anyway? I would understand if you were injured or you were one of the older vets that you didn't want to take a chance on getting injured but to me it seemed like a cop out.

This season is becoming increasingly frustrating. And the embarassment against the Senators was especially painful since I know a lot of Senator fans. They have to get this back together right now or kiss the playoffs goodbye for a 7th year in a row.


andrew -

you're right about the cycling - the point of that strategy is to either free up the guy in the slot (he's gotta work to find open space or at least get his stick free for a shot) for a shot and/or have the guy with the puck gain position on the D and be able to make a move to the net. if neither happens, he dumps it back down to the next guy. and so goes the cycle. it's more of a grinding approach that's been around forever (at least as long as i can remember) but it can be effective if guys are making plays.

good observation about shooting - hard to say what the problem is but my guess is partly that the guys are just not confident enough to take that extra second to deak or improve their angle. another factor could be that our guys are just not creating a lot of space in the offensive zone so shooters typically don't have a lot of time - they have to unload quickly. newy is one of the few guys who, when healthy, has the patience to hold the puck create some space and chances for his teammates. when he had bert to finish, we saw the result. we need more of that.

Isn't it funny - hockey season is before football season is! Again.

Don't trade for the sake of trading - you can put together an all-star team of ex-Panthers around the league - that we got rid of the sake of change.

We need offense, and the chubby frenchman is defensive coach. Losing games 1-0 is better 6-0, BUT it is still a loss! You can't win if you can't score.

Isn't it funny - hockey season is OVER before football season is! Again.

Don't trade for the sake of trading - you can put together an all-star team of ex-Panthers around the league - that we got rid of the sake of change.

We need offense, and the chubby frenchman is defensive coach. Losing games 1-0 is better 6-0, BUT it is still a loss! You can't win if you can't score.

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