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Peeke's Points: Never Again

Sunday, 12.14.2008 / 8:43 AM ET / Blogs
Florida Panthers
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Peeke\'s Points: Never Again
Panthers Blogger Cliff Peeke
Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since Day One, is back blogging on for another season, giving the point of view on the Cats from a serious, die-hard fan’s perspective.

A Michigan native who’s played hockey (admittedly average at best) most of his life, Cliff grew up watching Red Wings games at the old Olympia Stadium. His allegiance changed to the Panthers the moment it was announced South Florida would have a team.

Cliff has played in adult leagues at IncredibleIce and his oldest son (age 25) plays there as well. His youngest son (age 9) is a member of the Jr. Panthers ’98 Squirt Travel Team.

Peeke's Points Archive

I took a couple good friends, and we each brought our 10 year old boys to the Devils game on the night before Thanksgiving. My buddies had limited knowledge of the game, and I felt bad that the game being played by the Panthers was certainly far from entertaining. We played sloppy and slow, rarely connecting on our passes, and allowed the Devils to take a two goal lead. And against the Devils, a lead like that is usually insurmountable.

Knowing that my family had to get up at 4:30 am on Thanksgiving to catch an early flight to Philadelphia for Andrew’s Jr. Panther travel hockey tournament, I did something I never do… left my seats to leave the building before the horn sounded. Just as we reached the concourse a goal was scored, which we saw on the TV, and we raced back in. We scored again with seconds remaining to force overtime, which we eventually lost… but we did earn a point… a point that seemed impossible to earn with time winding down in the third period. That point was huge. Without it, we would have been 8-12-0-1 and the season looking bleak. With it, and the mental victory gained, we went to 8-11-2. That was followed by another point earned against the Rangers on the Friday after Thanksgiving in a shootout loss. And then we reached another gear winning six of the next seven games.

Including the comeback point against the Devils, the Panthers have earned 14 of a possible 18 points. We are one of the hottest teams in the league, and as I wrote a week ago, we are doing this with too many good players not playing due to injuries. Somehow, we figured it out, and in the process the team seems to be finding its identity. And thankfully, we are not using injuries as an excuse for pathetic play. It’s different this season… and so refreshing. Injuries affect every team… the good teams work through them.

I love Anderson’s play in the net (see previous blog), and then Vokoun comes up with a huge win Friday night against Keenan’s Flames. I wish the game was televised, I would have enjoyed seeing the look of defeat on his face… I’m obviously still angered at how he set this franchise back a couple of years with his botched tenure as a GM here. And by the way… what’s up with the no televised games… we’re missing some great contests from what I hear and read. So I’ll be back on the internet for tonight’s game against the Canucks.

Because of the hole we dug earlier this season, we can’t let up for even one shift. Because even though we’re HOT, we are still sitting smack dab in the middle of the pack at #15 of 30 teams. We can’t let up. We have two more road games before we play again at home. Imagine if we can rack up a few more points before our home game.

If we do… then next Sunday’s home game against the Avalanche will be an absolute riot to attend. Let’s fill the place up. It’s a 5:00 start… a great time to bring the kids. More than anything… it’s a meaningful game in late December and that’s something we’ve not had much of in the past several seasons. And I promise not to leave early.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18 is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks and NHL Draft name and logo are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.