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Rapid Fire: Playing Percentages, Rats And More

by Bill Lindsay / Florida Panthers
Welcome to Rapid Fire. Panthers broadcasters Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay will hit five different thoughts on a daily rotating basis. It's up to them as far as what topics they want to talk about as teams, and more specifically the Panthers, make a push towards the playoffs and the Stanley Cup.

Bill Lindsay takes his shot at the five things he's thinking about after Wednesday's play around the NHL.

1. Playing The Percentages: We have mentioned the Panthers remaining schedule and this is how it beaks down in terms of strength of schedule. The Panthers play teams left with a combined .496 winning percentage. That is the easiest in the league percentage wise. Carolina is second best in the league at .536. Pittsburgh has the toughest schedule in the East at .584 while Buffalo has the second hardest schedule  with .561 followed closely by Ottawa and Boston at .560. In fact every team in the East besides Florida and Carolina are above .554. This is all good news for he Panthers. You still have to take care of your own business.

2. Parity Rules The NHL: With two weeks remaining in the NHL season 22 of the NHL's 30 teams still have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. 15 teams still have a shot at a division title including four of five in the Pacific Division teams where the top four teams are separated by three points. This is the way the league wanted it...and it is very exciting. Also if you make the playoffs as a 1 seed or an 8 seed, the difference is small. Get on a roll at the right time and you can win the Cup.

3. How Great Is Crosby: The face of the NHL is back and he hasn't missed a beat. Sidney Crosby missed basically a year of hockey and comes back playing at the level he was at before his concussions. He is the most talented athlete in the game but also one of the hardest working. You don't come back the way he has without incredible preparation and devotion to your craft. I love to watch Crosby play as does everyone else. Let's hope he stays healthy for the rest of his career. The NHL is so much better with Sidney Crosby on the ice.

4. Brian Campbell = Panthers MVP: Just had to mention Brian Campbell and the amazing job he has done for the Panthers. The Panthers have never had a defenseman as dynamic as Campbell. The closest thing was Dan Boyle but he did not become good until after leaving Florida. Campbell plays huge minutes, quarterbacks the power play and distributes the puck as well as any d-man in the league. He has been worth every penny for the Panthers. He is a difference maker.

5. "For Rats Sake": (This was Roger Nielsen's favorite expression by the way, he is a man that never swore and this was the closest he ever got to it. One of the greatest men in hockey and started it all down here had Rats on his mind from day one). It is still great to see the Rats come down on the ice at the end of the games. Every time it happens memories come flooding back of days gone by. I love that Panthers fans have kept the Rat close to their heart. It was a special time and hopefully this year will be the start of many special years to come and the Rat will always be along for the ride. Who knew a Rat could be a symbol of good times. 

Author: Bill Lindsay |

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