Which NHL Playoff Team Should You Root For?

Panther Parkway Playoff Preview

We’re hours away from puck drop for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and it donned on me (and on all around good guy Jameson Cooper) that there may be thousands and possibly millions of you readers out there who don’t have a vetted interest in a team this year. Your team may have not made it to the post-season, you could be a new fan or you could have amnesia…if that’s the case, thanks for reading and consult a physician immediately after reading this post. Whatever the reason may be, if you need to latch on to a team for the post-season then do I have a piece for you! There are 16 teams in this year’s post season, some are good, some are really good, some are really really really good and some are just OK. Let’s take a look at which team may be a good fit for you.

Anaheim Ducks

Do you like Disney movies about a scrappy gang of youths melded together by the bonds of teamwork, being poor, and national pride? If so then the Ducks could be the team you’re looking for. Don’t be confused by their captain’s lack of hair – he’s amazing at hockey and will not let you down if you’re looking for a deep playoff run. The kicker is 92 year Teemu Selanne, who is retiring at the end of these playoffs, so if you’re into nostalgia and crying then you’re on the right path.

Boston Bruins

Nobody in their right mind should cheer for the Bruins so if you’re not in your right mind you can cheer for them I guess. Also I hate you.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have been the toast of the NHL for a while now. If you’re that person who wants instant gratification then hitch your horse to the wagon and hang on for dear life. If you’re the person who has never seen a Rocky movie, watches Rocky 4 ,and then tells everyone that you love every Rocky movie then cheer for the Blackhawks.

Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche is made up from a group of young players with an excessive amount of high-end dynamic talent. Players like Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene (injured, but still), Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny, will surely make your eyes pop out of your head. They’re also coached by a crazy person. Their playoff hashtag is #whynotus so if you’re into innovative playoff hashtags you might want to look elsewhere for a team to support.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets have made the playoffs for the 2nd time in their history. Good for them right? If you like an underdog and or jokes about fellatio then you should fit right in with this fanbase. The Blue Jackets are this year’s working class blue-collar team so if you get a kick out of those Ford F-150 commercials where the announcer is pretty much reading everything on the screen, then go ahead and cheer for the Jackets.

Dallas Stars

Jamie Benn, best player by far, has led his Stars to the last playoff spot in the West. I’m sure all of Texas is behind them but if you feel like hootin’ and hollerin’ and ho-downin’ and other Texas slangs then hop right on this chuck wagon!

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit has made the playoffs 23 years in a row. They have won only 4 Stanley Cups in that span, so if you like high winning percentages, then don’t root for the Red Wings. If you like Sweden, rookies, cool breakaway moves and great coaching then they may be right up your alley.

Los Angeles Kings

All of LA’s top C list celebrities are totally into the Kings so if you want to head to Staples Center and snap a selfie with Matthew Perry then you’re in the right ballpark. The Kings are a team that Wayne Gretzky used to play for so if you want to impress your friends with that bit of trivia when explaining your fandom then wear that silver and black.

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota is the self-proclaimed “State of Hockey” which would be accurate if Michigan, New York, New Jersey, California, Missouri, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania all didn’t have hockey teams too. Liars.

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal has won the most Stanley Cups out of any NHL franchise with 24. They haven’t won one since 1993 so if you’re looking to get on board with a group of self-entitled history-clutching crazies, who are desperately waiting to see a cup win in their lifetime then mon ami/e you are knocking at the right door. Poutine is fantastic too, that should be good enough.

New York Rangers

The Rangers are one of three teams in New York (keep thinking of that third one). They’re like the Yankees if the Yankees have only won 4 World Series ever and haven’t won one since 1994 and the one before that was in 1940. If you like not having lofty expectations met then go put on a blue shirt.

Philadelphia Flyers

They sing America the Beautiful instead of the Star Spangled Banner so if you like alternate forms of patriotism then cheer for the Flyers. They’re also historically violent, made the Red Army team refuse to play against them because of it and their fans have the reputation of being a-holes. If this made you mad then you’re probably a Flyers fan already.

Pittsburgh Penguins

If you like cheering for the best at anything then step right up and feast your eyes on Sidney Crosby. Supporting the best hockey player in the world is reason enough to cheer for the Penguins and fans have been doing just that since 2005. I’d like to point out that former arguably best player in the world Mario Lemieux partly owns the team and will be shown frequently on TV throughout these playoffs so if you like passing torches from generation to generation then grab a Pens jersey and get ready to be disappointed by Marc Andre Fleury.

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks have never won a Stanley Cup and have the unfortunate reputation of being “playoff chokers.” If you like great teams with great players then cheer for the Sharks. If you like teal then cheer for the Sharks. If you like the Jaws theme song then cheer for the Sharks. If you want to get offended every time someone mentions the word “choke” then sheer for the Sharks. If you want to be part of their first cup win then don’t cheer for the Sharks because they’re kind of chokers.

St. Louis Blues

Another team without a Cup win ever. A lot of people don’t like the Blues so if you’re a fan of being the outcast who sticks up for their team no matter what horrible thing they do that makes everyone else angry then cheer for the Blues. American almost hero Ryan Miller is their starting goalie. You probably heard of him a few years ago.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Led by elite sniper Steven Stamkos for now, the Lightning are one of those cool teams that doesn’t end in an S. If you like the Oklahoma City Thunder then DEFINITELY cheer for the Lightning because then you can make your twitter handle @ThunderandLightning and you’ll be really cool.

By now you should have a team that suits you perfectly. If you’re still undecided, then refresh this page and read the post again. Go Hockey Go, enjoy the playoffs folks.

Panther Parkway Post-Game: Panthers vs. Flyers

Stars of the game

1st: Claude Giroux (2-0-2)

2nd: Vincent Lecavalier (1-1-2)

3rd: Jonathan Huberdeau (1-0-1)

Goals (Flyers 5, Panthers 2)

PHI: Vincent Lecavalier (20)  Assist: Adam Hall

PHI: Claude Giroux (26) Assists: Nicklas Grossman, Luke Schenn

PHI: Claude Giroux (27) Assists: Mark Streit, Scott Hartnell

PHI: Sean Couturier (11) Assists: Braydon Coburn, Matt Read

FLA: Erik Gudbranson (3) Assists: Scottie Upshall, Vincent Trocheck

FLA: Jonathan Huberdeau (9) Assists: Drew Shore, Colby Robak

PHI: Tye McGinn (4) Assists: Vincent Lecavalier, Adam Hall

[Read more...]

Game Day Preview: Flyers vs. Panthers. Don’t Worry We’re Gonna Find A Way.

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: 40-29-9 (89 PTS.) vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS: 28-43-8 (64 PTS).

TSN GAMEDAY

GAME DAY SONG:  Waiting On A Sunny Day.  Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band

This will be the third and final meeting of the season between the Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers, who have split the previous games with each team winning at home.  Both games were low scoring as the Flyers beat the Panthers 2-1 back in October, and the Panthers beat the Flyers 3-1 in late November.

The Flyers come into this game having gone 4-4-2 in their last 10 games, but they were 1-4-2 in a recent seven game stretch before beating the lowly Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Sunday.  They’ll be looking to punch out another victory against a Florida Panther team that is right now playing the role of spoiler, especially after Sunday’s comeback victory over the Dallas Stars.  The Flyers who have a totally different look since the last time they came in for a visit, find themselves in a dog fight for a playoff spot.

[Read more...]

Video: Jason Spezza’s Shootout Moves Are Too Much For Steve Mason

Deadlocked at four goals each as the third period came to a close, the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers headed to a shootout to decide who would be declared the victor of Monday night’s contest.

Unfortunately for the Flyers, Senators’ forward Jason Spezza had some tricks up his sleeve that he had been saving for an occasion such as this. With no goals scored through the first two rounds of the shootout, Spezza unleashed a series of dekes that would pull Flyers’ netminder Steve Mason out of position, giving way to what would eventually be the game’s deciding goal.

Once again, Jason Spezza gets the last laugh.

Enjoy the video below!

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

Follow Jameson on Twitter @JamesonCoop

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Dylan Olsen Finds Chemistry and Success in His Panther Debut

Who had the five best Florida Panther debuts of all-time?

Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan and Dylan.

All “Chappelle’s Show” related jokes aside, Monday night was truly an event to remember for Dylan Olsen as the 22-year-old defenseman shined in his debut with the Panthers.

Coming over in the trade that sent former Panther Kris Versteeg to Chicago nearly two weeks ago, Olsen spent three games with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage before joining the Panthers on Sunday in preparation for Monday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

With defenseman Matt Gilroy placed on injured reserve prior to Monday night’s action, the stage was set for Olsen to make his highly anticipated debut as the Panthers were set to begin a crucial five-game home stand.

[Read more...]

Jonathan Huberdeau’s Growing Pains are Hurting Panthers

Jonathan Huberdeau has been going through a bit of an identity crisis this season. The dreaded sophomore slump has hung heavy over the 20-year old forward. In 24 games this season, Huberdeau has 11 points (5-6-11). While those numbers aren’t necessarily horrible, they are not impressive enough for a reigning Calder Trophy winner. Since his draft day, Huberdeau has been seen as one of the most important pieces in Florida’s future. Drafted as the top player from the QMJHL, and the MVP of the 2011 Memorial Cup, Huberdeau was known for his speed, crafty hands and playmaking ability. His arrival to the Florida organization gave the team a glimmer of hope for a star-power forward they have desperately craved for years.

As a junior player, Huberdeau proved that he had gamebreaking offensive ability. Huberdeau recorded 257 points (104-153-257) in 195 games played, during his time with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. In the 2012-13 lockout shortened season Huberdeau joined the ranks of the NHL after finishing the first half of the season with the Sea Dogs and representing Canada at the World Junior Championship. Huberdeau played in all 48 games of the season, leading rookie scoring with 31 points (14-17-31).

Since his Calder-winning performance, Huberdeau has struggled offensively. A lot of his struggle can be attributed to his  lack of shooting the puck. Huberdeau registered three or more shots in a game 19 times during the 2012-13 season, including a career-high eight shots against Buffalo, on Feb. 28, 2013. He finished the season with 112 shots. This season, Huberdeau has a season-high of three shots in a game, which he has done three times and a total of 34 shots on the season. A victim of doing too much at times, Huberdeau tends to overplay the puck and attempt to stickhandle his way to the net in many situations

Huberdeau is most dangerous in close quarters. The St. Jerome, QC native does not possess the dangerous shot of an NHL-caliber sniper, and is most lethal when he finds himself one-on-one with a goaltender. His lack of size keeps him from getting to the dirty areas in front of the net. Opposing defensemen are able to easily move the 6’1″, 177-pounder off of the puck and out of goal scoring areas. Huberdeau has strong offensive instincts and is clearly capable of both scoring goals and setting up plays as well, but on the ice Huberdeau looks as though he hasn’t quite figured out if he wants to be a goal scorer or a playmaker. He found success last year in shooting the puck and looked as if his play-making persona from his junior days had a little more to offer. Huberdeau had ten games last season where he registered just one shot, while so far this season he has had 13 games where he was held to just one.

Huberdeau got a taste of being a goal scorer last year, and being pegged as “the next big thing” for Florida. While he struggles to figure out his game, the Panthers are struggling on the scoreboard. Florida’s 26th ranked goals per game (2.12) and a 30th ranked power play (9.3%) could really use Huberdeau to generate anything at this point. With the exit of Stephen Weiss in the offseason, and now the exit of Kris Versteeg, the pressure is on Huberdeau to produce some offense. 

Huberdeau has yet to have a multi-point game this season after having seven of them last year. His career-high-multi-point game was against the Philadelphia Flyers last season, where he registered four points (2-2-4).  The Flyers and Panthers face off on Monday and hopefully Huberdeau can find some of the magic he had against the Flyers last season in that game. The Flyers are playing well right now, winning six of their last seven games, and coming off of a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Huberdeau is pointless in three games, but just before that he was riding a three game point streak. This inconsistency is hurting the Panthers needless to say. Huberdeau’s constant want for flashy plays isn’t showing up on the scoreboard the way he’d like, and it’s also earned him 11 giveaways, the most on the Panthers. In order for him to help his team and salvage the season, he needs to step up now by finding the back of the net, and make better decisions with the puck.

He has a chance to make a difference on a team he performed well against last season on Monday, so he should go into the game with some confidence. Huberdeau is still very young and oozes offensive talent. Getting bigger, learning to play two-way hockey, getting back to shooting the puck more and becoming more comfortable playing against team’s top defensive pairings should be on the list of must-do’s for the youngster. A team’s offense should not be placed on the shoulders of a 20-year old. Unfortunately for Huberdeau, without a consistent supporting cast, along with the high expectations of being a top draft choice and a rookie of the year, the spotlight has been on Huberdeau since the start of the season, and will continue for a long time.

Thanks for reading! We welcome your comments!

Follow All Panther Parkway writers on Twitter: Mike Lewis, @MLewsy11, Dave Lasseter, @davidlasseter, Frank Rekas @FrankRekas,Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530. Visit our Facebook fan page here and give us a like and share anything you wish with us.

Video: Frans Nielsen’s Backhand Shot is Better Than Yours

Having already made his “Danish Backhand of Judgement” famous through years of excellence in shootouts, New York Islanders’ forward Frans Nielsen showed fans on Saturday night that his backhand abilities are not reserved solely for shootouts.

With the Islanders down 3-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers midway through the 2nd period, Nielsen turned what could have been a crippling Flyers’ powerplay into a scoring chance for the trailing Isles. Utilizing a two on one break, Isles’ winger Peter Regin used a nifty pass to set up Nielsen’s lethal backhand. In a moment of pure beauty, Nielsen’s backhand soared past the blocker of Flyers’ goaltender Steve Mason and brought the Isles’ back within one goal.

Although the Isles would go on to lose by a final score of 5-2, Nielsen had yet another stellar game as he continues to build on the best season of his career. Amazingly, Nielsen is currently 4th overall in the league in scoring with 15 total points (7G-8A-15) – trailing leader Sidney Crosby by 3 points.

[Read more...]

Panthers Improved Play Not Enough To Overcome Flyers

Following Saturday night’s debacle in St Louis, a 7-0 loss, there was no way to go but up for the Florida Panthers. Tuesday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers saw the Cats thoroughly outplay their opponent but still walk away with a 2-1 loss.

[Read more...]

Game Day Preview: Panthers vs. Flyers. Is It Really Sunny In Philadelphia?

FLORIDA PANTHERS: 1-1-0 (2 PTS) vs. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: 0-3-0 (0 PTS)

TSN GAMEDAY

The city of Brotherly Love, otherwise known as Philadelphia isn’t so loving after all.  After a 0-3-0 start to the season which has seen the Flyers score three goals in three games, it was announced Monday that head coach Peter Laviolette has been relieved of his duties.  Laviolette replaced John Stevens on December 4th 2009, and has coached the Flyers for a total of 272 games, compiling a 145-98-29 record, which included a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.  Hardly a sub par performance overall, yet Flyers general manager felt that a change needed to be made, and felt something was amiss especially with a 1-5-1 preseason record.

Former Flyer tough guy Craig Berube has been named as Laviolette’s successor, and becomes the 11th head coach of the Flyers in the past 20 seasons, and the 18th in Flyers history.  Berube has served as an assistant to Laviolette and has been with the Flyers as an assistant for the past seven seasons.  From everything that I’ve read, appears to be a coach that the players really enjoy playing for.  General manager Paul Holmgren felt that the chance was necessary based on some things that he saw last season, which apparently have carried over to this season.  The Laviolette firing is the quickest of any NHL coach, and indicates that the Flyers are very serious about turning their fortunes around.  Holmgren made the following statement which led to his decision:

“ We don’t look like a team at all and it felt like a gut feeling idea to make this decision.  I made the decision last night on a plane before we came down from Carolina and here we are today”.

[Read more...]

Panther Parkway Radio: Game 1&2 Discussions, Flyers, Goalies & More

The Florida Panthers have kicked off their 20th anniversary season this week playing two games already, notching a terrific win against the Dallas Stars and then losing miserably to the St. Louis Blues just two days later.  Still very early on in the season, but we have a ton of information to talk about on tonight’s episode! For tonight’s podcast, we will be discussing everything that has been going on this past week, including both games the Panthers have played in, the Philadelphia Flyers disastrous team, goal-tender situations around the NHL and more!

Host: Paige Lewis

Guests: Dave Lasseter and Jameson Cooper

Topics

  • Dissecting the Panthers 7-0 loss agains the St. Louis Blues
  • Panthers 4-2 games against the Dallas Stars. Who stood out?
  • Philadelphia Flyers are just silly
  • Goalie Situation around the NHL

Click the link below for today’s podcast!

http://www.spreaker.com/user/pantherparkwayradio/pp_radio_games_1_2_flyers_nhl_goalies

We welcome and encourage comments and feedback!

Follow the Panther Parkway crew on Twitter: Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530.  Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,416 other followers

%d bloggers like this: