HAPPY HOCKEY SEASON – Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Preview

Two things for the record right off the bat:

 

  1. The logo above is unequivocally the best logo in Panthers history and there really is no argument about it.
  2. I am by NO MEANS a hockey expert. I’m a fan just like you. I’m going to be wrong sometimes, but I will always double down on my opinions no matter how wrong you might think I am so don’t argue with me. Or do. It may be more fun that way. But fuck you, I’m right.

Anywho, it is the eve of a brand new year for our beloved Florida Panthers, and what better way to start off the season?

 

I have a lot of hate in my heart. I mean A LOT. I hate a lot of things. Some of those things are taxes, children, how hard it is to find good fitting jeans, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. I hate their team, I hate their fans, I hate their stadium, I hate their uniforms. Everything. To me they’re like the Jets or the Knicks. Gotta beat these guys no matter what or else Twitter is unbearable. Twitter is my haven, and if you take that away from me, I might 13 Reasons Why myself.

 

I digress.

 

I’m going to start by saying that I think we are better than good in the net. Yes, Luongo is getting older, but Optimus Reims has shown us that he is pretty damn good, and I know Panthers Twitter had a few of it’s own asking for a little bit more of Reimer. I’m not going to get into to much, but I’m happy where we are there.

 

Defensively, I think were above average. I’m not going to say were elite, but were pretty damn good. Ekblad looks healthy. I read that he cut out drinking beer and dairy, which is about 80% of my diet. If you’re going to give up the good things in life for your sport, you’re going to dominate, and I think this is going to be the type of year that Ekblad is discussed amongst the elite in the league.

 

I can speak for all of us Panthers fans (I think) (Shrug emoji) when I say that Keith Yandle did not have the year we expected, but I do think he played much better towards the end of the year. I think if that momentum carries over to this season, and we have guys like Matheson and McCoshen step up, were going to be damn good.

 

Offensively is where I’m worried (is this a problem for all Miami based teams?) but I think were in a good situation. I love that we locked up Barkov and Trocheck (still tripped) for a long time, and I really like how Dadnov looked this preseason. I do however find it interesting that we kept Tippet? That was a bit of a head scratcher, but clearly Boughner and the front office see something in him, and I’m a big believer of baptism by fire. If we’re going to get to where we want to be as a franchise, you need your first round picks to hit. Yes, he’s young. I get that, but like most sports, you can either play or you can’t. We don’t know how long its going to be before Borgstrom comes around, and we traded Crouse. We need guys to stick, or else you’re going to keep copy+pasting vets and rando’s on one year contracts. I like the move, but if the kid can’t play, next man up. Other than that, we need someone whose going to step up and consistently put the puck in the net.

 

Will Bjugstad bounce back? Will Huberdeau stay healthy? Is the McCann we saw in preseason the truth? I think we can be pretty damn good if we fire on all cylinders, but thats IF.

 

I’m not going to get into states or Corsi or +/- tonight. Tomorrow marks a new season and we play the fucking Bolts. My prediction (as it will always be when we play them) is that we will a quarter million to zero. Seriously, fuck those guys.

 

 

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