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Peeke's Points: Keep It Simple: Just Win

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

I’ll keep this one simple… go to Raleigh and come back with two points. Period. I can not imagine how any Panther fan will not be glued to the television Thursday night as we play the Dive Team. I don’t care that we are only 37% of the way into the season, this is a game we must win. Come out strong and play every shift as though it’s playoff hockey.

Here’s why… we are now 10 points behind first place Washington and we can not afford to let them out of our sights. We should focus on the Division lead rather than “just making the playoffs”. Control our own playoff destiny… finish first.

Last night two East teams defeated two West teams. All three teams in our division that played last night skated off with two points. The Dive Team has a two point lead on us and Toronto is but a point behind us. It’s going to get congested with Buffalo and New Jersey (both ahead of us) in the mix as well for the final spots.

And I don’t think we should be content as an organization and fans to just be good enough to TRY to gain entrance into the playoffs. Take the division and we grab at least a #3 seed.

But the reality is that right now, even with the team having played very well lately, we are tied with the Los Angeles Kings with but 31 points. Heck, even though Ollie’s Coyotes have played one more game… they are a point ahead of us. I’d rather us keep better company and we’ll find that if we’re at the top of our division.

So… to set the stage… 10 points is a hill to climb. And there’s nothing to suggest that the Capitals will be on a downslide anytime soon. We have to claw our way up… and that’s the goal I’m hoping the Panthers take… Division winners. Because if we make that our goal, it makes every game a huge game, and that makes Thursday’s televised game a must-see event. It’s got to be playoff intensity every shift. It’s either that or we keep checking the standings to see how far away the #8 spot is and compare ourselves to the likes of the Kings, Coyotes, and Maple Leafs…. c’mon.

Win in Raleigh and come home to a fired-up crowd on Sunday… just win.
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