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Peeke's Points

Peeke's Points: Mid-Season 390

Saturday, 01.02.2010 / 1:22 PM / Blogs
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Peeke\'s Points: Mid-Season 390
Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since Day One, is back blogging on for a third season, giving the point of view on the Cats from a serious, die-hard fan’s perspective in his own blog titled Peeke's Points (formerly YourBLOG).

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 27) plays there as well. His youngest son (age 11) is a member of the Panthers ’98 Panthers Alliance Tier 1 Pee Wee team.

Peeke's Points Archive

The Panthers are half-way to what…another season of mediocrity? At the season’s mid-point (41 games) we have amassed a whopping 16 victories…a .390 win percentage. We stumble to this half-way mark losing three in a row. I love the Panthers…I’m a die-hard fan, but I also try to be realistic when I collect my thoughts to write this blog.

So…here’s how I feel half-way through this season…ANGRY. Yet another season of the same feeling the same time of year. My second son plays on the ’98 Panthers Alliance Tier 1 Pee Wee team. A bunch of us dads were talking recently how our boys have NEVER seen an NHL playoff game. Isn’t that sick…these boys are in Middle School and unless they have miraculous memories watching a game in diapers, they have YET TO SEE A PLAYOFF GAME. I know that the league is more balanced than ever before and we still find ourselves in the playoff hunt but why can’t we be this year’s Colorado (52 pts) or Phoenix (54 pts). Take a look at Phoenix…a team that has everything going against them. Check it out…ownership and bankruptcy issues, team sale and Gretzky leaving, abysmal attendance and re-location possibilities. It’s a team many picked to be at the bottom of the league. Their leader in points is Shane Doan, who has only 26 points and puts him 91st in the league. Their leading goal scorer is Scottie Upshall with 14 goals. Yet here they sit #5 overall in the NHL. Here’s a team that refuses to let EXCUSES get in the way, and instead just goes out there and figures out a way to be successful…now that’s a great story. Why can’t we be like that??? 

How ironic that Montreal comes to town Thursday night after an extended road trip and ends 2009 with beating our Panthers. Montreal nudged us out of the playoffs last season via a tie-breaker, and then the Jacques Martin led Canadiens embarrass us in game #41. A must-win game and we find ways to lose it. I am ANGRY !!!

In my pre-season blog (09/30), I offered up my Eastern Conference predictions. I was close on a few and way off on others. Without concern towards divisional seedings, the list below is what I predicted and in parenthesis is where the teams currently reside.

1. Washington Capitals (2) This highly entertaining team will battle the Devils and Penguins for the #1 spot. I still predict they will end up as best in the conference at the end.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins (3) Tremendous high end talent will keep them at or near the top. Prediction…#3

3. Philadelphia Flyers (9) I was a little off on this one, but they are on the move having won four straight before their loss on New Year's Day in the Winter Classic, and will make the playoffs.  Prediction…#6

4. New Jersey Devils (1) This is one franchise I am jealous of…a true model of consistency.  Prediction….#2

5. Boston Bruins (5) Right on the mark with this one. Tim Thomas is playing great and they roll out three good lines. Prediction…#5

6. Carolina Hurricanes (15) Way off on this one. There is no way they can overcome their poor start. They will get the top pick in the entry draft and if you’re not making the playoffs, that’s a good thing. Prediction…#15

7. Florida Panthers (13) Can they grab 54 out of a possible 82 second half points??? Doubtful.  But I’m sure we’ll witness a strong surge only to be disappointed again. I hope I’m wrong, but the realistic side of me says we come close…once again. If we played Coyote-like in the first half I would be more optimistic. Prediction…#9

8. Buffalo Sabres (4) I thought they would make the playoffs if Ryan Miller had a good year.  He is…and they will be in. Prediction…#4

9. NY Rangers (8) They will compete for the 8th spot but fall short. Prediction…#10

10. Montreal Canadiens (7) The thought of seeing Jacques Martin behind the bench for a playoff game is upsetting…but it will happen. Prediction…#8

11. Atlanta Thrashers (10) After a decent start, they are sliding a bit. Does Kovalchuk get traded before deadline??? Prediction…#11

12. Toronto Maple Leafs (14) They will be in the mix of eight teams vying for the final playoff spot. Prediction…#14

13. Ottawa Senators (6) An Eastern Conference first-half surprise. They will maintain the momentum and find themselves in. Prediction…#7

14. Tampa Bay Lightning (11) Another team that has a shot, will compete, but end up on the outside. Prediction…#12

15. NY Islanders (12) It’s possible…but not this year. They’ll be close like many others, but will need to look forward to next year. This is a team on the rise. Prediction…#13

Parity is the reason more teams will compete for the last couple playoff spots. That’s OK with me…I’m a big fan of the salary cap. The Panthers have a shot for sure. Hopefully, they approach the new year with a determined focus and reel off a major winning streak. By the end of January, we’ll know the fate of this team. It starts with the Penguin game Sunday…a game that looms quite large. They all do now…as we find ourselves in that familiar spot…LOOKING UP.

Happy New Year panther fans. I always enjoy your comments, so continue to write me at




1 MTL 48 32 13 3 128 108 67
2 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 49 25 14 10 144 125 60
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31


N. Bjugstad 46 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 46 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 43 9 17 1 26
J. Jokinen 45 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 44 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 1 20
S. Bergenheim 35 8 9 2 17
A. Barkov 35 5 10 -5 15
B. Campbell 46 3 11 -1 14
D. Kulikov 41 1 13 -3 14
R. Luongo 18 11 8 .920 2.42
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96 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 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 © 1999-2015 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.