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Peeke's Points

Peeke's Points: One-Fifth Of The Way

Tuesday, 11.15.2011 / 12:00 PM / Blogs
Florida Panthers
Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since DAY ONE, is back blogging on FloridaPanthers.com for a fifth 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.
 
A Michigan native who’s played hockey most his life (admittedly average at best), Cliff grew up watching the 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 owns InXpress USA – South Florida (DHL international shipping and Freight).  He has a wife and two sons (Trevor, 29, and Andrew, 13).  Andrew has played on Tier 1 Jr. Panther teams since first eligible, and will be playing defence for the Bantam Minor, Tier 1, AAA, Florida Allliance in the ’11-’12 season..

Peeke's Points Archive

Please note that the views expressed in this blog are views expressed by the blogger only and are not necessarily the views expressed by the Florida Panthers Hockey Club.

Even after the loss to the Flyers Sunday night, we are a respectable 8-5-3 for 19 points. If we stay at this pace through the remainder of the season, we’ll have 95 points…good for a playoff spot.  There is very little room for losing streaks and an important road trip lies ahead with games at Dallas and St. Louis. My pre-season prediction included the following statement….

FLORIDA PANTHERS…If the team is 6-4 after ten games, they will have enough confidence and talent to surprise critics and fill the arena with fans starving for something of relevance down here. Goaltending tandem of Theodore and Clemmenson will be the deciding factor.

After ten, we were, in fact, 6-4, and I still stand behind my prediction. We have the talent up front and on defense, and our goaltending has been very, very good.

But before I continue on with the Panther points, I want to bring a couple important items out in the open…
  1. The Florida Alliance AAA ’98 hockey team, comprised of many former JR Panthers, returned a week ago as CHAMPIONS of the Nike Bauer AAA Tournament in the Chicago area. This team practices and plays often at the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs.
  2. The Saveology.com Iceplex is also home of the big JR Panthers Thanksgiving Tournament (Nov 24-27). Making a long trip to play in this tournament are three international teams…RUSSIAN 98’s, Slovakia 98”s, and Slovakia U-16’s. Many of these boys still need a home to call “home” while visiting and playing. They will be arriving soon…so if a family is interested in an awesome experience of welcoming one or more players, I would encourage you to quickly contact Alex Braverman at 561.213.1051 or email at albocaex@att.net. Here’s a testimonial from a family that hosted players from Russia in February…. “When we were asked to host kids from Russia, I must say we were a little apprehensive, mainly due to the language barrier that existed between our children. But I must say the experience was nothing short of terrific. The kids got along great and spent hours playing and having fun. The kids were extremely polite and respectful. It also gave our son an opportunity to see how kids in other parts of the world train and play hockey. Even after the boys left back home, the kids stay in touch and look forward to seeing each other in the future” Again, it’s encouraged to reach Alex quickly if you are interested in this neat cultural experience. 
Back to the Panthers…here’s a few points…
  • Our 4th-ranked Power Play was not clicking Sunday against the Flyers. We just seemed out of sync and I think some of that was because of the aggressive penalty killing the Flyers employed. They quickly came out and challenged our points and rarely sat back. I love that type of penalty kill and wish the Panthers utilized that more often. We allow too much movement and possession by the opposing team. The Flyers totally neutralized our PP.
  • Sign Jason Garrison soon…let’s not drag this out. He’s one of those late-blooming players that I can’t imagine in another uniform.
  • The Booth trade…this made sense even though northern media made us look like fools at first. The point here is that his salary was so out of whack with the return. He is on target for another minus -30, or more, and that’s with a supposed good team like Vancouver. With several years remaining on the contract, we had to “sell” while we could still move the contract and obtain immediate help. Also, with a few of our prospects in the wings, we had to think future.
  • Speaking of Vancouver, I ran across an article in NBC Sports Hockey Talk in which Roberto Luongo was mentioned. The trade return was abysmal but aren't we better off without that albatross of a contract. Here’s what was written…. “How much longer before the Canucks do something with Luongo? Is there any scenario where Schneider could become the starter in Vancouver? At this point, is there any team in the entire league that would take Luongo and his ridiculous contract?” Interesting.
  • I’m a big Evgenii Dadonov fan. I was happy he was recalled and happier to see him score against Philadelphia. I thought he had a good first game back and am hoping to see a lot more.
  • The Brian Campbell trade has turned out very good so far. He absolutely slows the game down, has a calming influence, is such a talent, and is just what this franchise needed. Great move…although originally slammed by northern media.
  • And I will take Jack Skille over Michael Frolik any day.
  • Matter of fact, most of Tallon’s moves have been working out so far this year.
  • Keep track of the Panthers prospects. For once, we have a stable of prospects in Juniors, AHL and college that will keep the future bright.
  • I am looking forward to Mikael Samuelsson suiting up in a Panther uniform (again). 
  • Bantam hockey players in South Florida have not seen a playoff game yet. Somehow I wish that message would get to the Panthers. These kids would love it. 
Please give some serious consideration to helping the Russian and Slovakian players find a welcome home while they are down here playing hockey. 

I always appreciate comments from fellow fans and welcome them at cliffp@inxpressusa.com.
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