There, I have said it and I stand by it. It sucks as a fan of a team to have to admit that, but admitting is the first step, right?
Let’s take a quick look at who is ahead of them in the division:
- Boston – absolutely destroying the NHL right now
- Toronto – very good regular season team with a few of the most talented players in the league on their roster
- Tampa – won back-to-back Cups and then went back to the SC Finals against a juggernaut in Colorado
- Detroit – Steve Yzerman’s up-and-coming version of Tampa. Pretty soon we will be talking about them like it is 1999 all over again.
Sure, the Panthers won 4-0 last night against Columbus; however, didn’t Tage Thompson score 4 against the Blue Jackets in the first period?
Ok, they beat Boston and Detroit at home, but both teams were fresh off of hard-fought victories against Tampa.
Even when this team has looked great, like their 5-2 win over Boston, they cannot stay consistent. Do you remember what happened the next few games? They blew a 4-1 lead in the 3rd period to the Blues, then lost in OT to the Oilers, and got rocked 6-2 by a very underwhelming Calgary squad before beating the Canucks and Kraken.
As I have said for the past 2 seasons, the Panthers do not want to play defense, so when they play a team that can shut them down, they will not win.
Did you see Ekblad last night against Columbus? He was often lower than the forwards and the only time I see him battle for pucks in a corner is in the offensive zone. Can someone inform him that corners are not only used for hookers and bus stops?
There was a powerplay last night and Ekblad was going for the screen in front of Elvis. Like WTF are you doing?
Another thing I have said since day 1 is that Paul Maurice is not the right guy for this team. Paul Maurice has squandered great teams before and he is on pace to do it again. Look at some of the teams he had in Carolina and Winnipeg. Don’t you think he should have a Stanley Cup ring by now?
Maurice is known for overplaying veteran guys and not giving the younger players a chance to play. This being said, did anyone notice how much ice time Eric Staal gets?
Guess Eric Staal’s TOI from last night’s game? 17:34! Yes that is over 17 minutes for a 38-year-old guy who should be a 4th line center. Paul Maurice, what are you doing?
As I have said in numerous posts, I think Staal has a lot to contribute to this team, but he should be a guy playing no more than 10 minutes.
Finally, the Panthers definitely won the Tkachuk trade without question. The two teams share a fairly similar record; however, look at their individual stats this season:
Who would you say is making a more meaningful impact to their team? Not to mention they have the same contact length while Tkachuk is 6 years younger. Huby is already on the back 9 of his career.
The only reason I bring this up is because I am tired of hearing about the fans complain about this trade. Zito made the smart trade. Let’s look at the facts!
Huby wanted a Barkov like contract which he deserved; however, would you want to sign a 29 year-old for 8 years at $10 million? He already is not living up to that contract.
Weegar is an orange cone/pylon that belongs in the ECHL. If you think differently, please meet me before a game because you are an idiot and need some sense slapped in to you.
Tkachuk is a young stud who plays a full 200 foot game with meanness, toughness, and grit. He is the guy you want on your team when the playoffs start. Not some whiny, French primaddona.
In summary, there need to be a few major changes as the players need to start committing to the defensive game before the Cats can win. On top of that, Zito better start looking for Maurice’s replacement sooner rather than later as he will be next on the hot seat if things do not improve.