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Chilly in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE -- Good morning from my favorite airport located in Charlotte, NC, where I await my connecting flight to Atlanta for the Alyssa Milano All-Star festivities.

Sure some are wondering why I didn't just take a direct flight from Lauderdale, but where's the sense of adventure in that?

Going to be strange being away from the Panthers all this time, and I'm sure they'll miss me.

One would like to see a strong push by this team once they return, would like to see them really take on this challenge of winning the SE and moving into the playoffs.

JM said the Panthers focus has to be on the division. That's why I don't think there was that much consternation in the room after last night's loss. Why would there be? They let a team from the west steal two points, and picked up one themselves. At the end of the day, that'll work.

This team's focus is beating Carolina, Atlanta, Washington. Those are the playoff games for the Panthers.

-- Word is, anger over Olli and Nate skipping out of the team's golf tournament has waned. But, I've been told this won't be forgotten. Both players know better, but the blame is being laid solely on Olli. If he stays at the tournament , the thought is, so does Nathan.

Maybe it's as simple as Olli just doesn't like golf. Or maybe he was sending a message that he's tired of the way things are going these days.

Or maybe he and Nate just wanted to go to Sawgrass Mills, get a smoothie and hit American Eagle. It could be as simple as that.

But I still contend the Panthers aren't trading a 40 goal scorer in his prime who a) happens to be the team captain and b) has two years left on his contract after this season at a pretty decent rate.

Not over a golf tournament, that is.


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Is it possible the Panthers organization has been pushing the players too hard off the ice selling the product, so that Nate might have been disgruntled and Olli thought it would be best for his morale to bail on the tournament and go have a talk elsewhere, to let Nate blow some steam?

I know these guys are highly paid, but they're human - if they're being scheduled for these things too often, the younger guys might be griping that they don't get days off at all. Who knows? Maybe you can get Nate or Olli to give their side of things.

Olli gives plenty to the community, charities and the Team.

The fact that the powers that be are still upset speaks volumes about how little they understand about the NHL, and the reason for having a Team here.

The problem is not Olli and Timmy leaving an event.

The Problem is an organization that has continuously left it's fans, it has left it's season ticket holders, and its players with nothing but empty promises and a laughable record.

I have put up with some really bad times since becoming a 2 seat holder, Club level, in 2000.

I love hockey, and I grew up a Bruins fan in New England. But I'm here for now and I support only the Panthers, even when the B's are in town.

I see absoultely no loyalty in return from the Organization.

One sure way to prove loyalty would be to fire JM as coach, and probably GM too. He has enough time and he has produced a less than mediocre product.

The guy, in the end, is a perpetual loser. He is stuck in the past and he has absolutely no motivational skills.

Send Matthias down because Stumpel and Ville are coming back??? Are you kidding me!!!!

Shawn made a difference, Ville and Stumpel have yet to make a difference.

Everyone thought that if Luongo was dealt that the fan base would leave, and now the rant is that the fans will leave if Olli is traded.

Alot of holders left after Luongo was traded, and I'm sure that alot more will leave when Olli finally asks to be pardoned of this current death sentence, but it won't be everyone.

Cohen fails to realize that the only way to increase attendance is with wins and through games with the Habs, and the Leafs.

The fans will only support a winner because too many of them put on their NYR, NYI, BUF, PHI, or Devils sweater which only shows the lack of their loyalty.

The people here are only loyal to winners.

My loyalty as a holder is about to end, and my loyalty as a fan will continue via the Center Ice Package that I've had since '03.

The only way to change things is to fire JM, trade Stumpel and a few others and win the Division.

Why don't the players understand that losing that extra point does matter. It will take more than beating the teams in the division, something that we can't do on a consistent basis.

That is a poor atmosphere that has been fostered or allowed to fester because of JM.

I tend to agree with alot of what Chuck has said. though I likely would still be one of the holdouts and remain an STH. Why? because I love the game of hockey.

I grew up as an Isles fan dating back from the start of that team. However once the Panthers started play in 1993 my allegiance switched and never once has waivered. I was at the original Uniform unveiling and also at the groundbreaking for the Broward County Arena (BAC).

Frankly its not a matter of people down here being loyal to ONLY winners. Its that its been so long since a consistant winner has actually been down here. Marlins and Heat were single year success stories and the Fins have been consistantly mediocre for nearly 3 decades.

This year the Panthers have a real shot at making local sports junkies stand up and take notice. The Fins fiasco is finished, the Heat are done, and the Marlins have little more than a flipper and a prayer.

The Panthers are the ONLY south Florida team with any sort of shot of at least making a playoff push.

With recent history of last half of the season successes to build upon and being closer this season than in the past few seasons to an actual playoff spot its up to the players themselves. Call it the Coughlin Syndrome. Even if you hate playing under JM, do you tank the season to hope he is fired or to you go NY Giants on em and fight your way to within one game of a championship. ITS UP TO YOU!!!

The Panthers have less than a 20% chance of making the playoffs (Carolina has a 43% chance) according to a math professor in Canada.

I have seen it all in this organization from Doug getting fired because of something happening at an off ice event.

To Stu Barnes getting traded because Wayne thought he was asking for too much money.

Was there when the CFO announced that the Panthers would be able to spend the 10 million it was saving by trading Bure on 2 to 3 players (still waiting).

This organization is full of broken promises and they are about marketing and business and not about hockey. The players realize this and that is what is happening in the background.

Instead of concentrating on gettng to the playoffs and keeping your better players we have a coach/gm who does not speak to the players, who keeps one of his best players on the bench so he can justify sending him back to juniors.

We have a team that plays have hearted and when it does have the lead it stops playing. There have been a total of 2 games where you can say the team gave a 60 minute effort NYR and Ottawa. This is coaching and leadership and both are missing.

Yes it looks like we will miss the playoffs again. Martin had a lot of talent in Ottawa yet he could not get over the hump to get to the finals.

Here he has talent to make the playoffs but again he is holding this talent back.

Horton should be a 40 goal scorer but he won't be under Martin. Ollie looks like a beaten man on the ice as his effort the last couple of weeks has been missing.

We are going to have a full house on 2/1 and we need to come out flying after the break. If it does not happen then we will miss the playoffs again and then JM will have to be let go or we will go through another year of missing the playoffs.

I for one am tired of the broken promises and being the Brooklyn Dodgers (wait till next year).

Get rid of JM and bring in an up and coming coach to open up the game for the players

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