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Eight is Enough Redux: Should the Panthers Tank It?

FranktheTank OTTAWA -- A few weeks ago, Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said he was coaching every game to win and not giving up hope that his team could make the playoffs until it was mathematically eliminated.

On Saturday evening, Gregory Campbell said he would play with a broken foot to help his team make the postseason.

``We still have a chance here,'' Campbell said.

After Saturday's loss to the Senators, it seems like reality has finally hit the Panthers.

Publicly, anyway.

Florida goes into Monday's game against visiting Nashville with only the slimmest of postseason chances. They reside near at the bottom of the Eastern Conference -- nine points down and a handful of teams away from the eighth and final spot with just eight games left.

Draft No, the Stanley Cup playoffs will not be making a stop in South Florida again this spring. For a record-tying ninth season (and record-breaking 10th year), the Panthers will be out of the postseason.

``I don't really want to be talking about it,'' said alternate captain Stephen Weiss, who, if he plays out the string, will have played 481 regular season NHL games without tasting the playoffs even once. ``You only get so many years to play, and for me now, I'm eight years in or whatever it is, and I haven't played a playoff game. And it looks pretty dim right now. It's frustrating.''

Captain Bryan McCabe came into an empty dressing room Saturday night knowing what would be asked before it was. McCabe has been to the playoffs four times in his career -- but not since the prelockout playoffs of 2004 with the Maple Leafs.

The realization that the Panthers have been out of it has been lingering for weeks. Right before the trading deadline, general manager Randy Sexton sent three veteran players to contenders for draft picks. The message was sent: Not only weren't the Panthers adding to their current roster, but they were selling. The future is not now.

Thomasthetank ``Yeah it sucks, but we've got no one to blame but ourselves,'' McCabe said. ``We put ourselves in this spot. Like I've said before, we've been very inconsistent this year. There's no other way to look at it.''

Last year at the deadline, then-GM Jacques Martin chose to stand pat. By keeping pending free agent Jay Bouwmeester, Martin was sending a message that the Panthers were a playoff team, and Bouwmeester would help that.

What actually happened is the Panthers lost eight of their next 10, missed the playoffs and lost Bouwmeester to Calgary.

Bouwmeester is faring no better with the Flames, who also are on the outside looking in. If he finishes the season, he could play 553 games without going to the playoffs.

Some fans would love to see the Panthers tank their final eight games and put themselves in prime position for one of the coveted top picks in the NHL draft.

But losing games on purpose isn't something hockey players do. The Panthers might not have a winning record, but they say they will continue to play hard.

Dunktank In fact, the Panthers could play spoiler. Boston, Florida's opponent on Thursday, is hanging on by a thread. The Rangers, who visit Saturday night, are in the hunt for eighth spot.

The way they look at it, they owe the game that much. They owe themselves that much.

``It's our job to play hard every night, no matter if we're in it or not,'' said McCabe. ``You've got to have pride in what you do out there. We need to win as many games as we can.''

Comments

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With the history of this team. Even if we get a top 5 draft choice we'll wind up with another Anthony Stewert. If a dud is out their we'll find him !!!

What's interesting is that if the Panthers do well this week, they could help push Atlanta into the eighth spot. They're sitting between Boston and New York in ninth place right now.

Forget about the Panthers' draft record. If they get a good pick, I'm betting it gets traded for players who can help turn this team around next year, not in three years.

Advance to the Rear, TANK!!!

Taylor Hall Tyler Seguin Cam Fowler here we come

Both hall and seguin have more points in junior than stamkos. They had better lose.

I am rooting for us to lose every last game. It would be typically of the Panthers to play themselves out of a top 3 pick though. We always seem to pick it up when nothing is on the line. Sigh. We should lose tonight though as Nashville is a strong team.

It is time for the Panthers to hit the "do-over" button. The Panthers need to disassociate themselves with the losing mentality that exists within management. Yormack and JM have created the losing mentality. Everyone within the Panther organization should be told that they need to reinterview for their position including the players. Weed out this losing mentality... From not making trades.. to hitting goalies over the head....

How can you weed out the losing mentality? Who will be the judge of such mentality when the interviewer himself has a losing mentality?

I say TANK the season! The fans of this team want the Panthers to lose every game that's left. Who cares about spoiler?

But, like the other comments above, 1) the Panthers will play harder when there's no pressure; and 2) they'll manage to screw their selection.

No player will tank as they all want to show their worth at this point.

I still say bring in all of the bruisers and rough up the opponents a bit so we are a bit 'feared' instead of mocked.

Sounds like Weiss doesn't want to play here any longer.

Perfect. If Weiss doesn't want to be here, he can get the hell out! I have watched him closely in all of his 8 years and like Jay Bo, is over rated.
He's been here 8 years, and has been associated with LOSING.

As far as getting a top 3 pick, it won't matter if he doesn't have players around him to help develop, mature and lead him. right now wew don't have the roster for that.

We need a complete overhaul starting with management then down to the players. A new coach wouldn't hurt either. Pete's tactics and decisions no longer work

Weiss is tired of being a good player on a bad team. That's all. If the Panthers had picked up a bonafide #1 center (Cammalleri was the only one available last season) then things might have been different.

Maybe I'm bitter (ok yes I'm bitter) but seeing Calgary at #9 brings me joy, remembering how Bouw went -6 after the trade deadline last season.

The Panthers need to lose every game from here out and hope Toronto starts winning. The closer to the bottom, the better the chances of getting Seguin or Hall. Free agency might fix some things but to get superstar talent, you have got to draft high. See Lacavalier, Ovechkin, Stamkos, Crosby, etc.

I'm still giving Sexton the benefit of the doubt. He's been on the job for almost a year now and has done more good than bad (2nd rounders for UFAs, signed Kulikov). If the Panthers can fail a little more, maybe he can get a real top scorer in the draft and become a genuis for it.

Right now they pick 4th (5th at worst). They play Nashville, Boston, NYR, and Buffalo this week and I hope they don't get a point out of them.

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