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To all my fellow Panthers fans out there, “now is no time to panic.” I know we spent the whole offseason talking about the fast start we needed to get off to this season, and yet we sit here at 1-4 after five games. But as coach Pete DeBoer said recently, in a month we could be four or five games over .500 and no one will even remember our 1-4 start. It can turn around that quickly, so don’t judge this team yet.
If there is anything we know for sure, it’s that coach DeBoer, Bryan McCabe and their charges have heart. They have the wherewithal to make things right, to change things up and get back on the winning track.
Tomorrow night is a huge home game against a very good Philadelphia team, and we’ll need all your passion, excitement and support at the BankAtlantic Center if we are going to come out on top.
I’m sure that, to a lot of you, this seems a bit like a broken record, but five games does not make a season.
The team had a challenging training camp schedule and after opening the season in Finland, we played three games in four nights beginning last weekend. After putting forth a strong effort in a 3-2 loss in Tampa Bay on Monday night, the team had Tuesday off, before two great days of practice in preparation for Phialdelphia tomorrow night.
I urge you to remember that this coach is a man who has seen a lot of adversity in his career, and still managed to win hockey games and championships. I urge you to remember that there is leadership in this locker room in the shape of McCabe, Cory Stillman, Bryan Allen, Stephen Weiss
and others. I urge you to remember that there is talent and work ethic on this team, from David Booth to Michael Frolik to Keith Ballard to Tomas Vokoun. I urge you to have faith.
It may seem like I am asking a lot, but after only five games, it is not yet time to judge. Having spoken to coach DeBoer and general manager Randy Sexton this week, there is no panic in them. There is urgency, for sure, but no panic. They have confidence in this team and it’s ability to respond to a challenge. I would encourage you to feel the same way.
Yesterday, though, was a day for us to celebrate, as we marked the official ribbon cutting of the Panthers’ new training facility at incredible ICE in Coral Springs. Yes, the facility itself has been open for over a week, and the third rink has been in use for over a month, but we took yesterday as an opportunity to honor everyone that contributed to the approval, design, funding, construction and opening of this incredible facility. Personally, I will put our new training center up against any other practice facility in the National Hockey League – no questions asked. And I think that all the media and local dignitaries that took a personal tour of the state-of-the-art expansion yesterday afternoon, would be inclined to agree.
But now is the time to look ahead, to a huge game tomorrow night in front of what will likely be a large and raucous weekend crowd. I expect the “Rink” to be “Rocking” once again, as it was on Opening Night. I expect thousands of blue Growl Towels to be waving in concert at every opportunity. I expect an inspiring performance from the boys in blue. And I expect a Panthers win.
Thanks for reading and go Cats.