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As opposed to the Red Wings, Penguins, Devils and all other great franchises that have built and maintained solid reputations and kept them, our club is still looking for a foundation from which to start. '95-'96 was a complete fluke of nature. Ultimately, I became convinced this franchise would've been better off never having made it to the SC Final so soon and unexpectedly. We got complacent as a result. I'm talking about Steve Weiss, Rostslav Olesz and Nathan Horton, especially. They're certainly compensated beyond their abilities and not one of them can honestly tell you that they've thrown their heart and soul into their game just yet. Maybe they like the anonymity of hockey down south, but when does it happen for real??? What's missing is the will to make something respectable and lasting in this franchise. It's a priviledged position to be in that they still haven't grasped yet. Other players see it instinctively, like a David Booth, for example. I had the pleasure to meet DeBoer and shake his hand recently at Inc Ice. Earlier, I saw the way he worked and pushed those rookies. He commanded attention. All eyes on him. There's no question that he has their respect. DeBoer is a serious man. He looks you in the eye when he talks to you. He seems an even-tempered, results-driven man. You can immediately understand his appeal with his players. The more he's getting deep into their mellons. I'd like to think these guys are done being punked in this league and I wish DeBoer the best of luck.
I think it was a good choice. I thought it would be between McCabe and Stillman. The players seem satisfied with this choice. No complaints there. About the Panthers getting dissed by ESPN and also the Yahoo fantasy thing: Let's set aside our foolish pride and get real about it. We're still a hollow team and a healthy, constructive, honest evaluation has long been missing. What's been missing is a good, soul-searching disgust from one end of this club to the other. One profound enough to change things. We've been addicted to that stone cold mediocrity long enough. Say what you will, but that dubious honor is rightfully deserved. This club worked very hard for that reputation, on and off the ice, for as far back as I care to remember. We're approaching 15 years since the NHL world has bothered to glance our way. Check out NHL Network sometime. That's 24/7 of pure hockey. When you see the Panthers on that network, rest assured that they're playing the part of the punching bag. They're NEVER talked about in depth. You can watch old footage of Gretzky's hat trick against Beezer.