| Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since Day One, is back blogging on FloridaPanthers.com 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
I last wrote prior to the trade deadline, and my thoughts were very clear…trade Bouwmeester IF we received decent value in return. Fans like us will never know what the exact offers were, so I have to trust that GM Martin did not like the deals presented to him. Ok, I’ll buy that. So, aside from the Eminger acquisition (which I liked), we were quiet. The downside of the Eminger trade was having to throw in a third round draft choice. Pittsburgh was able to acquire Bill Gueren for less. Still, we have to look to the future and Eminger gives us more depth for now and next season.
But since the trade deadline, we have won only once in four games (3 out a possible 8 points). Three losses were to teams we are battling with for a playoff spot. Not good. It may take 95 points to reach the playoffs in the east. That means we have to earn 18 points in the 14 remaining games…a 9-5 record…almost 2 out of every 3 games.
It starts tomorrow night against our cross-state rivals. The Lightning feature three ex-Panthers on their blue line (Krajicek, Welch, and Murphy). Murphy’s been gobbling up a ton of minutes and Welch has been getting more ice time than he would have over here. Those two definitely want to prove that we made a huge mistake discarding them, and I’m certain they will get more than enough ice time to prove it. This is a must-win game for us. A loss would be devastating. Win this game and we have eight more victories to go.
I hate looking at the standings today and seeing the Rangers and the Dive Team above us. We’ve got two games in hand over Carolina. I think Pittsburgh is a lock to make it.
The number one star last night was ex-Panther Olli Jokinen, as the Flames beat Detroit. Jokinen’s move from Phoenix to Calgary certainly accentuates the fact that we won that trade. Here’s how it ended up for Phoenix…Boynton, Ballard, a 2nd round pick and a 3rd round pick for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prost, and a low 1st round pick. Coyotes got hosed.
Saturday’s Hockey Night in S. FL. vs. Lightning is a must-see event, and a must-win game. I’m already pumped up. I put the last four games behind me and am willing to start a clear slate for the remaining 14 games. It starts Saturday. GO PANTHERS !!!
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