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Peeke's Points: Coincidence?

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Panthers Blogger Cliff Peeke
Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since Day One, is back blogging on for another season, giving the point of view on the Cats from a serious, die-hard fan’s perspective.

A Michigan native who’s played hockey (admittedly average at best) most of his life, Cliff grew up watching Red Wings games at the old Olympia Stadium. His allegiance changed to the Panthers the moment it was announced South Florida would have a team.

Cliff has played in adult leagues at IncredibleIce and his oldest son (age 25) plays there as well. His youngest son (age 9) is a member of the Jr. Panthers ’98 Squirt Travel Team.

Peeke's Points Archive

In less than four hours after I grabbed the Season Seat Renewal Kit from the mailbox, the Panthers treated me to an awesome experience at the arena last night. What a game! Should I have been surprised? Think about it…in past seasons, the Panthers have played their best hockey AFTER the renewal program gets kicked off. This year is different in two ways…(1) the Panthers are actually in the playoff race as opposed to figuring out a way to make up 15 points or so, and (2) this year’s renewals started a bit sooner. I’m thinking it’s more than just coincidence and here’s my suggestion…begin the renewal process when we receive our season tickets package. Start renewing for ’10-’11 season when we receive our tickets for the ’09-’10 season. That way, it will insure a quick start. Obviously, I’m not serious, but I recall writing last year that the Panthers played their best at renewal time…COINCIDENCE???

Last night’s game was a treat. Great nail-biting action sprinkled in with a few all-to-common phantom penalty calls. I love our defense.

Ville Peltonen makes a big difference. The CPR line has really blossomed, and as a fan, you get the sense that they have some great chemistry out there. But an interesting problem is on the horizon…Peltonen and Dvorak are UFA’s after this season. I can not imagine them traded at the March 4th deadline, so I’m hoping something works out with them. All three, along with Greogry Campbell, are valuable.

Another impending UFA is defenseman Karlis Skratins, one of my favorites. Not flashy, although he has racked up some points, but plays the game hard every shift. Focus on him during a game and you’ll see what I mean. He embodies the work ethic that seems to best describe this team…character, hard-work, determination, and hustle.

Bryan McCabe does not get our first goal last night without Cory Stillman placing a beautiful pass onto his stick. From my vantage point, Stillman’s vision and passing has got to be the best on this team.

Please put this disclaimer on the back of the ticket…You may be imposed an entry surcharge of $25 if you enter the arena wearing a Flyers jersey (or Rangers, Sabres, Red Wings, etc). Then re-distribute those dollars to loyal season seat owners that have to put up with the raucous, cackling antics. Better yet, let’s spread the word about our team…invite some new fans to a game…let the game itself (like last night) sell them on this good investment…and increase our base.

If we continue to play like we do after the renewal packets come out, I’m sure that we’ll see a positive spike in attendance. Winning cures all…Chicago struggled mightily with attendance until they turned their game around.

In my last blog I mentioned Cory Murphy’s new-found success with the Lightning. My disappointment was not that he was let go (there really was no room with the way our great defense has been playing), but that of all teams it had to be the Lightning. I just wanted to clear that up. But I still can’t help myself…he collected another point last night in Tampa’s win over Montreal…that’s four points in three games. Alright…I’ll stop.

Speaking of the Lightning…they have won three straight…and should be a concern. They are only eight points behind us. 

More Lightning stuff…how was it that Artyukhin got only two games for that knee on knee to Peltonen. And considering the referee only called him off for a two minute minor…you have to wonder if these guys are held accountable for their in-game calls. What if Artyukhin pulled that stunt on Crosby?

And how was that Flyers off-the-skate goal a goal last night?

Big game Thursday night against Montreal…fill the place up with Panthers fans.

It’s great to be sitting in 8th but let’s not settle there. Let’s shoot for the 5th slot…and that means defeating Montreal on Thursday.

I welcome your comments, so e-mail me at
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