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Monday, October 26, 2009

Now Hiring, Enforcer Position

I am willing to bet that everyone has seen the Wizard of Oz by now. Everyone remembers the bases of the movie, follow the yellow brick road to find the Wizard. Each character in the movie went on the journey seeking something different. The Tin-man wanted a heart, Scarecrow wanted a brain, and Dorothy wanted to go home. That leads us to my personal favorite character in the film, the Lion. In the wild, lions are one of the most aggressive animals that don't back down from anything. The Lion in the Wizard of Oz? He had no courage what so ever, and that is why he went on the journey to see the Wizard.

Now I am sure most of you are asking yourselves, "Why the heck is he talking about the Wizard of Oz?". The answer is pretty simple, the Florida Panthers need to go down the yellow brick road to find some of their own courage.

Everyone by now has seen what happened in the game on Saturday against the Flyers, so I will spare you all the details. I personally feel that the heat was dirty and uncalled for, and the league should have handed out at least a three game suspension, but I digress. I wanted to talk more about our teams effort to defend their star player after the hit, along with some other interesting events in the game.

Situation 1: Dominic Moore takes a huge elbow to the face, leading to a busted and bloody nose. Team reaction? Nothing, not even as much as an exchange of bad words.

My Take: I can let this one slide. It was penalized, but I would have liked to seen the veterans stick up for the new guy.

Situation 2: Radek Dvorak takes a knee on knee hit, he is injured on the play. Team reaction? Nothing again, you folks starting to see a pattern here?

My Take: You go after the cheap player that just injured your best PK guy on an illegal hit. There was no penalty on the play, which surprised me, but the point is that no one stood up for Dvorak after the hit.

Situation 3: David Booth gets blind sided by Mike Richards and is taken out on a stretcher. Team reaction? A little shoving, nothing else.

My Take: If this was any other NHL team there would have been a brawl. When your star player is laying there on the ice, not moving, because some player decided to take it upon themselves to throw a vicious, dirty hit to the head it is up to the team to stand up for their downed player. The Panthers seem to have no concept of the word team this season, and it is very disappointing.

Situation 4: Dmitry Kulikov is plastered into the boards by Dan Carcillo. Team reaction? You guessed it, a big fat nothing.

My Take: Bill Lindsay said it best, Kulikov is an eighteen year old kid and it is not his place to stand up for himself. Someone should have went after Carcillo and defended the young rookie.

So lets take a count shall we? Four times the Flyers got away clean with abusing players without as much as a single punch thrown. I have said it all over the web and I will say it here too, this team has no concept of what it is to be a team. Saturday night was one of the most disappointing displays by the Cats I have ever seen. Sure Peter DeBoer didn't want them to attack in that way, but rather on the scoreboard. Well Pete, I didn't see a close game from that point on, so why not let the boys go at it.

Another reason this troubles me so much is the fact that teams watch tapes, and those teams will know that the Panthers leave their players open for anything and the guys will get destroyed. If this team doesn't stand up for their selves and their teammates soon, they will be beaten and pushed around all season long.

To close out this rant I just want to say I really hope David Booth doesn't have long lasting effects from this hit. We have seen it before in a promising player named Eric Lindros, and we all know what happened to him after the Scott Stevens hit.

I also want to say to all those out there calling the hit clean by comparing it to any hit dished out by Stevens, this is the new NHL, a league that is suppose to protect players health for they can have long careers and a healthy life after. There is no need for shots like that in this sport, and to any fan that thinks there is I feel very sorry for you and ask you to put on skates, take the same hit, and see what your opinion of head shot is after that.

All I know is that this fan does not buy season tickets every year to see players laid out on the ice like that, no matter the jersey.

If you have any comments or questions, please contact me at or post them on our facebook page.