It is that time of year again. The time when hockey fans make predictions that probably will not be correct, but we do it anyway because it’s fun. For the 2013 campaign I decided to bring in two hardcore hockey fans from different websites. One covers video games and entertainment while the other follows the greatest sport in the world. Please give a warm welcome to the predictions of Rudy Colon from Kona’s Korner and Rob McMahon, formally a writer for Sunshine State Hockey, who is now with Penalty Box Radio.
Two out of the three of us seem to agree on each category, and surprisingly we all share the same views on three divisions: the Northeast, Southeast, and Pacific. Since we cover the Florida Panthers here at Sunshine State Hockey it is important to focus on the Southeast division for a moment. The reason all three of us are in agreement on our prediction is because the Hurricanes just looks so good on paper. Carolina went out and acquired Jordan Staal to add scoring depth at the center position, not to mention the fact that he should have some decent chemistry with his brother Eric. Add them with the likes of Alex Semin, who is still a legit scoring threat, a maturing Jeff Skinner, an emerging number one defenseman in Justin Faulk, and Stanley Cup/Conn Smythe winning goaltender Cam Ward and it is clear why all three of us chose Carolina to win the Southeast.
Will our predictions hold true or are they doomed to fail? Only time will tell. Until then, let’s just enjoy the fact that we finally have NHL hockey back.
For moment #4 on Sunshine State Hockey’s top 10 countdown of the best moments from the Florida Panthers 2011-2012 season I am going to share my personal experience. By doing so I hope that everyone can realize just how special this moment was, especially for someone who has never witnessed live playoff hockey until this season. This rare event is something every hockey fan dreams of witnessing in their home arena, no matter how nervous they get. Of course I am talking about game 7.
#4 – Game 7, nothing better (April 26th, 2012)
Even though the final score of game 7 between the New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers was not one the home fans wanted it seemed everyone still left the BankAtlantic Center smiling, including me. Why would people smile after such a tough loss? Because we got to scream to the top of our lungs when Marcel Goc tied it late after the Cats trailed for the majority of the game. We witnessed the Panthers leaving it all on the ice until Adam Henrique scored the final goal in double OT for the Devils. We smiled walking out of the BAC that night because we got to see our team go to double OT in game 7 after not watching playoff hockey in South Florida for 12 years. Most importantly though there were smiles on our faces because we all knew that this was just the beginning.
By the way, those same New Jersey Devils that the Panthers pushed to the brink of elimination are currently locked in a battle with the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals. The Devils also easily made it past the Philadelphia Flyers in round two to advance to their current series, so Florida’s performance in the quarterfinals looks really good at this point. As Panthers fans continue to watch the 2012 NHL playoffs and imagine what could have been we all still keep those smiles on our faces because we know that soon it will be the Panthers locked in a heated Eastern Conference finals’ battle to see who advances to play for the Stanley Cup.
Browse the links below for great content related to moment #4 and be sure to check in with SSH tomorrow when we reveal moment #3 on our top 10 list.
This is just going to be another quick post containing our predictions for the Eastern and Western Conference finals. We will look at our previous guess work in a future post before the start of the Stanley Cup finals. Until that time please enjoy our predictions for the Kings/Coyotes and Devils/Rangers.
#1 New York Rangers VS #6 New Jersey Devils
Ana: Rangers in 6 games
Marc: Devils in 7 games
Rob: Rangers in 5 games
#3 Phoenix Coyotes VS #8 Los Angeles Kings
Ana: Coyotes in 7 games
Marc: Kings in 7 games
Rob: Kings in 6 games
This is just going to be a quick post containing our predictions for the semifinals of this year’s playoffs because the puck drops on the first game of round two in less than 15 minutes. We will post an article discussing our predictions from the quarterfinals sometime tomorrow as well as who to watch in the second round. For now here are Sunshine State Hockey’s picks for the next round:
#1 New York Rangers VS #7 Washington Capitals
Ana: Capitals in 6 games
Marc: Capitals in 5 games
Rob: Capitals in 6 games
#5 Philadelphia Flyers VS #6 New Jersey Devils
Ana: Flyers in 5 games
Marc: Flyers in 6 games
Rob: Flyers in 6 games
#2 St. Louis Blues VS #8 Los Angeles Kings
Ana: Blues in 6 games
Marc: Kings in 7 games
Rob: Kings in 6 games
#3 Phoenix Coyotes VS #4 Nashville Predators
Ana: Coyotes in 7 games
Marc: Predators in 5 games
Rob: Predators in 5 games
Aside from the actual Florida Panthers making the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs there are a lot of former Cats on the other teams participating in the post-season. What is the point of bringing this up? During the 12 year’s without playoff hockey Panthers fans would use this time of year as an excuse to cheer on former members of the organization. Thankfully that is not the case this season as fans in South Florida finally have their club to cheer for in the final 16. Of course that does not mean we should completely forget about our team’s history, especially the bright spots (David Booth) in the dark 12 year’s without playoff action. To help bring back some memories, good or bad, we have compiled a complete list of former Panthers players currently playing for the other organizations in the post-season.
#1 New York Rangers:
#44 Steve Eminger – D, played 9 games for Florida during the 2008-2009 season.
#2 Boston Bruins:
#11 Gregory Campbell – C, was a member of the Panthers from 2003 to 2010.
#18 Nathan Horton – RW **, drafted 3rd overall by Florida in 2003.
#44 Dennis Seidenberg – D, Traded to Boston from Florida on March 3rd, 2010.
#4 Pittsburgh Penguins:
No former Panthers on Pittsburgh’s active roster.
#5 Philadelphia Flyers:
#6 Andreas Lilja – D, played in 135 games for the Panthers.
#6 New Jersey Devils:
#18 Steve Bernier – RW, spent the 2010-2011 season in South Florida, registering 15 points in 68 games.
#20 Ryan Carter – C, started this season with the Cats before being claimed off of waivers.
#7 Washington Capitals:
#29 Tomas Vokoun – G, was the Panthers #1 goaltender for four seasons before signing with Washington.
#6 Dennis Wideman – D, picked up 9 goals in one season with Florida.
#8 Ottawa Senators:
#41 Craig Anderson – G, a definite fan favorite during three year’s in Sunrise, FL.
#35 Alex Auld – G, part of the blockbuster trade that sent Luongo to the Canucks.
#17 Filip Kuba – D, played only 18 games in two year’s with the Panthers.
#1 Vancouver Canucks:
#4 Keith Ballard – D, still famous in South Florida for his hip check on Evgeni Malkin.
#34 Byron Bitz – RW, was injured during the majority of his time with Florida.
#7 David Booth – LW, spent six year’s with the Panthers before being traded at the start of this season.
#20 Chris Higgins – LW, another member of the 2010-2011 “blueprint” squad.
#1 Roberto Luongo – G, a member of the Cats for five seasons before being dealt to Vancouver.
#2 St. Louis Blues:
No former Panthers on St. Louis’ active roster.
#3 Phoenix Coyotes:
#13 Ray Whitney – LW, was on Florida’s roster the last time the team made the playoffs.
#4 Nashville Predators:
No former Florida players on the Predators active roster.
#5 Detroit Red Wings
#44 Todd Bertuzzi – RW, traded to Detroit for Shawn Matthias in 2007.
#6 Chicago Blackhawks:
#67 Michael Frolik – RW, drafted by Florida in the 2006 entry draft.
#5 Steve Montador – D, played as a d-man and forward during his three year’s with the Panthers.
#7 San Jose Sharks:
#22 Dan Boyle – D, stayed in South Florida for four seasons and played in 129 games for the Cats.
#18 Dominic Moore – C, NHL journeyman that spent one season in Florida.
#8 Los Angeles Kings
LA does not have any former Panthers on their active roster.
** indicates currently injured players
That makes for a total of 23 players that played for the Florida Panthers at one time during their careers. Some, like Roberto Luongo and David Booth, had a bigger impact on the Panthers history than others, but the fans in South Florida still appreciate the time those men gave to their favorite hockey team.
Do not forget to tune into game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals match-up between the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils. Tonight’s game will be a good one, especially since the series in now tied 1-1 after Florida’s win on Sunday, their first in 15 year’s. Coverage begins at 7:00 PM EST on the NHL Network.