Been a while since they've made it, eh?
The last time we were changing over a big digit on the year clock, the Panthers were 20-10-3-3 after losing 2-1 in Chicago on Dec. 30, 1999.
Florida survived Y2K well enough, beating the Lightning 7-5 on New Year's Day. It was a great start to what turned out to be a very crummy decade.
That Panthers team -- led by Pavel Bure -- ended up earning the most points in franchise history. They went to the playoffs. They got swept by the Devils in the opening round. Then nada.
Sure, there have been some feel-good moments with the Panthers this decade, but some of their best moments -- hello Richard Zednik -- came on the heels of something bad.
In the past 10 years, the Panthers have had three ownership heads (H.Wayne, Alan Cohen and Cliff Viner/Stu Siegel), seven coaches (Terry Murray, Duane Sutter, Mike Keenan, Rick Dudley, John Torchetti, Jacques Martin and Pete DeBoer) and seven GMs (Bryan Murray, Bill Torrey, Chuck Fletcher, Rick Dudley, Keenan, JM and Randy Sexton).
They stole Olli Jokinen and Roberto Luongo from the Islanders, only to give both up later on. They didn't draft all that well but stole many a headline around draft time for their different trades.
It's been a tough 10 years for this organization, but they feel they are moving into 2010 with a little momentum. Few people I have met in this business are as enthusiastic as Cliff Viner, and you have to be rooting for these guys to make things work here in South Florida.
What are some of your favorite Panthers moments from the past decade? The ones you hate? Leave 'em below.
-- The Panthers go into Thursday's game 286-317-108 with 31 ties this decade. That's a winning percentage of 39 percent. But that doesn't include the playoffs. So throw four losses in there if you feel like it.
-- And since this has probably already come out, here is my Florida Panthers All-Decade team as submitted to The Hockey News. Now, some of these guys only played on the 1999-2000 team, but they were here long before that so they made it. And, I put the Sawgrass Express line together, just for fun.
Plus, who else you gonna put on there?
Let me know your thoughts on that as well.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ALL-DECADE TEAM
2000-2009 Mark Parrish-Olli Jokinen-Pavel Bure D
G: Roberto Luongo, Tomas Vokoun
David Booth-Stephen Weiss-Nathan Horton
Kristian Huselius-Viktor Kozlov-Ray Whitney
Gary Roberts-Joe Nieuwendyk-Scott Mellanby
Jay Bouwmeester-Robert Svehla
Bryan McCabe-Sandis Ozolinsh
Paul Laus-Bryan Allen
Mark Parrish-Olli Jokinen-Pavel Bure