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Peeke's Points: Odds And Ends

Tuesday, 01.20.2009 / 10:12 AM ET / Blogs
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Peeke\'s Points: Odds And Ends
Panthers Blogger Cliff Peeke
Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since Day One, is back blogging on FloridaPanthers.com 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 wondered how fans would react to the Jokinen trade as this season moved along, and it’s really been a non-issue. Which proves that the trade was a success and both sides won.  Getting Ballard and Boynton in return was a great move, as we really do have one of the best defenses in the league. Did you see that check that Ballard dished out last night…just one of many throughout the season. As General Manager Jacques Martin had planned, other players have had to step up to replace Ollie’s points, and that’s been happening.

-  One such player that’s really emerged is David Booth. He is one of the most exciting players to watch in this league. His play last night was a perfect example…you had to be there.

-  Which brings up the question…where was the crowd? I expected something in the neighborhood of 16,000+, but it was a bit short of that. We played a good team (with a similar brand of hockey) that we’re battling for a playoff spot with and the local support could have been better. It’s not like there isn’t some good ticket deals out there. Then, we have to put up with the folks from Buffalo who extended their weekend vacation to include last night’s game as, once again, visiting fans feel quite comfortable being loud and boisterous in our arena.

-  And hopefully the Philly and Buffalo fans of recent nights did make the trip…because the thought of fans living down here and loudly cheering against the home team is sick. But what’s worse is the fan that wears their Panther jersey for every game EXCEPT the one where their “old team” arrives and they show up in a visitor jersey cheering against the Panthers. I never understand that.

-  Thankfully, we do have a very loyal and passionate season ticket base. Recent evidence of that is the attendance at the CATS CONNECTION meetings prior to the last five games. It’s another great reminder just how well the Panthers organization does in making us all feel a part of the “family”. Of course, these meetings are taking place very close to the renewal process kicking-off, but why not. If anything, they just reinforce what we already know…this organization’s client services and support just keeps getting better and better…and I always thought it was good to begin with.

-  As opposed to recent seasons when, at this point we are looking way up in the standings, this team is in the upper half of the league and playing good hockey. The Hockey News website even has us #14 in their recent Power Rankings. This season, all doubts have been removed…I’ve already committed to renewing. Finally, hockey operations have caught up to client services in the product being offered.

-  I keep hearing that “fans” want the shoot-out…but not fans that I know. And I’m not bringing this up because of our lack of success in that area. I hate to see a point awarded just to “have a winner”. I never liked the idea…heck…I’m fine with a tie at the end of regulation. This shootout is one of the NEW NHL ideas I can do without and I believe many others can as well.  Now…since we are struggling in the shootout, I like Lindsay/Moller’s suggestion (in their radio post-game) and that is to play over-aggressive in the overtime…maybe three forwards???

-  The other NEW NHL idea is to increase power play opportunities by calling ticky-tack penalties. The first penalty called against Bouwmeester last night is a perfect example. Let the boys play…there are too many stoppages for phantom calls. But it’s not just that…it’s the inconsistency that drives fans nuts. Refs can send Bouwmeester out for two minutes on a “slight touch” which is the same time Tampa’s Artyukhin gets for attempting to disassemble Peltonen’s leg a couple days ago.

-  And speaking of Tampa…what were your thoughts when you heard they claimed Cory Murphy? The first thing that came to my mind was Dan Boyle. Remember how Keenan thought so little of Boyle that he prompted the trade to Tampa for a late round pick…and there he blossomed? I’m not suggesting Murphy is of Boyle’s caliber…but it is eerily similar. So…first thing this morning I checked the box score from the Lightning/Star game last night and guess what? Murphy, who just arrived in Tampa a couple hours before the game, logs over 23 minutes of ice time and gets the number one assist on the winning goal. On the Lightning website, they even mentioned he “quarterbacked” the power play. Please…not again!!!!

-  Isn’t it great that every game now is huge? It is way too much fun going to the arena KNOWING we have a good and exciting hockey team. We’ve got to get two against Dallas.  There can’t possibly be Stars fans trying to escape the cold and vacationing here to take in a game after a day at the beach…we’ll see.

Any comments? Let me know at cliff@goalsuccess.net




1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47


J. Jagr 49 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 52 10 27 10 37
A. Barkov 42 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 52 10 25 12 35
V. Trocheck 52 17 16 4 33
R. Smith 52 16 15 11 31
B. Pirri 48 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 48 10 12 21 22
B. Campbell 52 4 16 17 20
N. Bjugstad 37 9 8 -3 17
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

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