In just another attempt to bring the fans closer to the team and vice versa, floridapanthers.com would like to introduce our newest fan blogger, Murphy Burch. Joining YourBlog's Cliff Peeke, Murphy will be writing about his views on the Panthers for this season.
Murphy, an airline pilot originally from North Carolina, is better known as vanmurph on the Panthers message boards and he, along with his wife Vanessa are two of the most vociferous fans at the BankAtlantic Center.VanMurph's View Blog Archive
Well how about that, huh? Do you feel like you got your money’s worth at the BankAtlantic Center last night? As if beating the New York Rangers in a thriller wasn’t exciting enough, we also got the shootout monkey off our back!
Tomas Vokoun could not have picked a better time to get red-hot, and his stellar efforts in the last three consecutive victories have been the catalyst for our surging Panthers. Receiving the first star in the last two games, including the NHL’s second star for his performance against the Hurricanes, T-Vo is hitting his stride just as we enter a critical stretch in the schedule. Last night was a pleasure to watch if you’re a fan of goaltenders. Both T-Vo and Henrik Lundqvist made some unbelievable saves! I actually got on my feet and gave courtesy applause to Lundqvist after he made an incredible stop from the prone position on Nathan Horton’s close-in shot in the 3rd period. In the end though, Richard Zednik’s heroics continued as he pushed one five-hole to win in the shootout.
Karlis Skrastins is one of the best shot-blockers I’ve seen in a Panthers uniform. In consecutive games against Toronto, Carolina, and the Rangers, Skrats sacrificed his body to keep the puck out of the net, and he was quick to swoop in and clear away rebounds. We clearly got the better end of the trade with the Avalanche. Karlis is quietly becoming a fan favorite, and he deserves any accolades that are thrown his way.
Gregory Campbell showed again why he’s one of my personal favorites. The guy is just nails. He played a terrific game in Carolina, and last night he dropped the gloves to settle up for an earlier hit by Brandon Dubinsky. Soupy is having a breakout year, and he’s the player who has, in my opinion, benefited most from Coach DeBoer’s system. I hope he continues to light the lamp, and light up opponents’ noses.
Speaking of Dubinsky, did you see how fast he ended up on his keister after Keith Ballard’s monster hit? That was one of those hits (like the one that cleaned the clock of Dallas’ Darryl Sydor back in January) that will end up on the highlight reel we’ll be watching at the BankAtlantic Center come playoff time. And I’ll just reiterate a sentiment that I’ve blogged about since October: Keith Ballard will be a Florida Panther for at least the next SIX seasons! As I heard someone say in the parking lot last night: Olli who?
The instigator rule was called into play last night, and I thought it was total crap. When one of your guys gets boarded (not crosschecked), somebody better step up and make it right. That somebody last night was Nick Boynton. David Booth took a cheap shot to the back from Paul Mara and ended up headfirst into the boards and then facedown on the ice. Nick immediately went after Mara. Boynton has done that several times this season, and I think he’s to be commended for it. I’m hoping the fact that he wasn’t back out on the ice during the game wasn’t a punishment or the result of an injury, but merely a coincidence. I know 17 minutes is a long time to be in the box, but toughness is important, and Nick’s got plenty of it. We’re going to need that type of grit down the stretch and into the postseason.
The following three items are from emails I’ve received from the Panthers, and I want to pass them along to you.
Tips to make sure your seats are filled for the next 5 home games
The Panthers are surging, the BankAtlantic Center is rockin', and we've seen some of the largest crowds in recent history! Home ice advantage is so important for our boys and we need to fill every seat for each of the home games.
If for some reason you are not able to use your seats we encourage you to take advantage of your Season Seat Benefits! Call 954-835-VIP1 to contact your MVP service team to exchange your tickets for a future game or use My Account Manager to forward or sell your tickets! We want to make sure all seats are filled with Panther Fans!
Season Seat Owners opportunity to fill the BankAtlantic Center!
Season Seat Owners have the opportunity to obtain 2 complimentary tickets for the Tuesday, February 17, 2009 Panthers vs. Devils game! Please call your ticket representative or 954-835-PUCK to get your tickets to this exciting game! Tickets based on availability. We value our season seat owners and are pleased to provide you the opportunity to introduce friends and family to Panthers hockey.*Murph’s note:
If you are not a season seat owner, but you know one, call them and tell them about this promotion. Tell them you want to go to the game on Tuesday and that they need to call their rep to get you your FREE ticket! Last night’s game vs the Rangers showed how much more lively the arena is when there are a lot of people in there, so until the bandwagon gets a full head of steam, we should all be trying to get everyone we know to come out and attend a game with us. The Panthers just made that a lot easier by offering you 2 tickets to give to friends!
Family Fitness Day At The BankAtlantic Center On Feb. 15
Sunrise Sports & Entertainment announced that the BankAtlantic Center will host Family Fitness Day on Sunday, Feb. 15 from 1 – 5 p.m. prior to the Florida Panthers-Washington Capitals game. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place on the Saveology Plaza in front of the arena’s main doors and is a cooperative effort between the United Way, the Broward County Health Department and the Florida Panthers Foundation.
The event will include interactive activities for children and adults alike as Broward County comes together to support healthy living and fitness in the South Florida community. For more information, fans are instructed to call 954-835-7728.*Murph’s final note:
Since the gates to the BankAtlantic Center are going to be opened up early anyway (for Family Fitness Day), and since this is the first warm-weather weekend game in a long time, a rather large contingent of us are going to be getting together in the northeast parking lot at 1:00 to tailgate before the Panthers game. While we won’t really be “tailgating” in the traditional sense (because there’ll be no grilling), we will be out in force gearing up for a very important game against the Capitals. It’s a perfect opportunity to come by and share some time with fellow Panthers fans. Come on out and join us as we continue to build the bonds that are bringing this fan base closer together. I can’t think of a better time to get to know some of your fellow Panthers fans than now, as our guys make a run at the playoffs for the first time in this millennium. Speaking of building bonds, members of the Cowbell Club (if you bring a cowbell, you’re a member) have been gathering in front of Pantherland after every home victory this season. It’s been a terrific way to send our fans out the door on a positive note, and to let the fans of the opposing team know that not only are the Florida Panthers for real, but so are their fans. The videos of the celebrations are showing up on YouTube and people are starting to see that there is true hockey passion is South Florida. If you’re passing by and want to join in, please feel free to do so! The more the merrier. (No cowbell necessary, just an inclination to stand and cheer for your team)
Thanks for stopping by the blog. This next week will be HUGE, so hopefully there’ll be a lot of positive stuff to write about! Until then, LET’S GO PANTHERS!
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, or if you just want to say Hi, I can be reached at: VanMurph@hotmail.com
Thank you to everyone who emailed me after the last blog entry. It was a pleasure to correspond with each of you (though I’m still in the process of answering all of the email). I received quite a bit of email from Panthers fans in, of all places, Toronto! It seems there are lots of Panthers fans in Ontario, and my last blog entry (about the Leafs game) prompted several of them to write to me. I appreciate the passion Canadians have for their sport, and I appreciate it even more when that passion is firmly behind the Panthers! Thanks Guys!