It’s Rivalry Week(s) here at SB Nation. It’s time to air some grievances.I got a lot of problems with you
people teams! And now you’re gonna hear about it! Up next is the Florida Panthers, who are so bad that they almost get forgotten about.
Who can hate the Panthers, right? They’re just down in Miami staying out of everyone’s way. They don’t have any fans and are a great spot for visiting fans to take over. They haven’t won a playoff series in over 20 years. They’re harmless.
All of those reasons are why we should hate, not ignore, the Panthers.
The Florida Panthers play in, well, Florida
Florida is for beaches, parties, and crazy people. It is hot as hell and I don’t know if they have ever seen ice outside of a hockey rink or margarita. It’s not a place for a hockey team.
“Florida Man” is a thing for a reason, and the Panthers aren’t excused from that.
Fans are celebrated for throwing things on the ice
In Philadelphia it is a huge story any time an item hits the ice (or any playing surface). However, the Panthers fans are encouraged and celebrated for throwing rats on the ice. Rats!
Rats are already awful creatures as it is. Add onto that them being thrown onto the ice? How can you not hate it.
Watching a game against the Panthers doesn’t feel real
You know when you’re watching a game and, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t feel like a real NHL game? Well, that’s every game in Sunrise, Florida. Between the empty seats, horrible camera angle, and lackluster team, it just feels different trying to watch a game against the Panthers.
When the Flyers are in a crucial spot and need a win, fans watching at home want to be able to get up for the game. If it’s against a team in a strong hockey market, it’s easy. If it’s against a team where it looks like they’re playing in a high school barn where only half of their parents showed up, it just doesn’t feel the same.
They left Gerard Gallant on the side of the road
OK, let’s get down to the deeper stuff. The Panthers literally left their head coach on the side of the road in Raleigh, North Carolina after firing him. They forced him to call his own taxi after the Panthers lost his final game with the team.
No one deserves that treatment, – hell, even
Dave Hakstol the worst coach shouldn’t deserve that treatment – especially someone who led the Panthers to new heights. After improving the Panthers by nine wins and 25 points in his first season, he was the head coach for the Atlantic Division at the next year’s All-Star Game. He went on to lead the Panthers to a franchise-record 47 wins and 103 points, earning him a spot as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award in 2016. Just a few months later, he was left on the side of the road.
Gallant got the last laugh, however, as he led the Vegas Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season.
The Panthers are so miserably bad
Do you remember the last time the Panthers won a playoff series. Were you even alive? The Panthers have been consistently bad since the late 1990s.
Even when Gallant led them to first place, they lost to the Islanders in the first round. Hell, four years prior they were the No. 3 seed in 2012, they lost to the New Jersey Devils in the first round. We all know that the Devils went on to beat the Flyers en route to the Stanley Cup Final. How dare they allow the Devils to do that.
In the last 22 seasons before this one, the Panthers won zero playoff series and have won just six games over the course of four playoff series.
It looked like they may have something going this season with Sergei Bobrovsky in tow and a solid team with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau at their peaks. But instead of going for it and pushing for the playoffs, they sold at the deadline, trading away Vincent Trocheck to the Carolina Hurricanes.
At least pretend that you’re trying to win.
The Panthers ruined The Spectrum’s final season
It was supposed to be the Flyers’ time. The Spectrum was in its final full season and the Flyers clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
The 1995-96 Flyers nearly had two 100-point scorers in Eric Lindros and John LeClair. Lindros had 115 points (47 goals, 68 assists) and LeClair had 97 (51 goals, 46 assists). With Ron Hextall back to playing at a high level in Philadelphia, the Flyers looked poised for a run to the Stanley Cup.
However, after being taken to six games by the No. 8 seed Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, the Panthers used the neutral zone trap (yet another reason to hate them) and John Vanbiesbrouck (even more reason to hate them) to beat the Flyers in six games.
The final playoff game at The Spectrum was a 2-1 loss in double overtime in Game 5 of that series.
They should move to Quebec already
The Florida Panthers had the third-lowest attendance this season. They had an average of just 14,104 people at their games, which equates to 82.8% capacity at home games.
I’ve seen more people at a Camden Riversharks game (R.I.P Campbell’s Field).