Morning Free Association: Goodbye, Fancy Cats

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The Florida Panthers won the Presidents Trophy this year after dominating the East from the start and posting a 58-18-6 record for 122 points. IN the first round of the playoffs, they struggled a little bit with the Washington Capitals ultimately defeating them in 6 games. However, when it came to facing their fellow Floridian team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, they turned from fierce panthers to paper tigers.

Florida lost the first two games in their home arena when they should have dominated due to home ice and maybe the last change. The home crowd was downright quiet through much of those games even when they shouldn’t have lost hope yet. After digging themselves into a 2-game hole, they had yet another disastrous showing in Tampa, managing to allow 5 goals and to score only once.

It was their last game of the series last night, the second night of a back-to-back (kind of unheard of in the playoffs) where they played their strongest game. It helped that they had the Hockey Gods on their side, lending their invisible hands to add some mirth to those of us watching who aren’t pro-Tampa. The first instance was when the Bolts seemingly scored the first goal. Andrew Brunette rightly challenged it since it appeared the officials missed a stoppage of play event when the puck hit the netting and bounced down into play. From behind the net Ondrej Palat seemed to signal that he saw this due to his body language while Jonathan Huberdeau was close enough to see it and point it out before a Bolts player took it and potted the puck.

Then a little later, on a faceoff that they won, Nikita Kucherov seemed to have scored the first goal again. The goal was challenged again and determined that the refs missed a hand pass on the faceoff. It would have been a penalty had they caught it but since they found it after the fact, the goal was taken away and that was enough punishment.

It wasn’t until the final frame that the Lightning scored a legal goal and of course it was fucking Pat Maroon. HAVE YOU HEARD THAT HE’S WON THREE STANLEY CUPS IN AS MANY YEARS, FIRST WITH ST. LOUIS AND THEN TWO MORE WITH THE TAMPA BAY?

I know they’re trying to appeal to the casual fan who has stumbled across playoff hockey but really I’m just so fucking sick of it.

After the Panthers went empty net, the predictable empty netter was scored sealing the deal on their season.

Joe Thornton joined the Panthers last summer after leaving San Jose two years ago with a year-long layover in Toronto. He didn’t play in the playoffs until last night, which may be his final game in the NHL. At 43, he can’t have too many chances left.

So, after the Bruins fought hard to stay in the playoffs but lost in 7, I can’t help feel like that’s a better situation than winning the first round and then being swept by the Lightning. It didn’t help that the Panthers, like the Bruins at points this season, had no luck on the power play. They weren’t as stingy on defense as the B’s and to be honest, the B’s have better goaltending. For as much as Sergei Bobrovsky is making, he should be stopping every single puck. As Down Goes Brown writer Sean McIndoe joked in a recent article in The Athletic, Bobrovsky will be an elite goaltender for many more seasons according to his contract. In fact in that piece he was talking about old guys without a cup and he mentioned this when talking about another old guy without a cup, Claude Giroux.

8. Claude Giroux, Panthers
I know, you assumed he’d be higher. So did I, but it’s a very strong field this year. Giroux is a great story as a deadline pickup after spending his whole career with one team. Working against him: He’s still only 34, and let’s just say he’s not the top OGWAC story on his own team. (Neither is Sergei Bobrovsky, who turned 33 this year but will still be an elite goalie for years to come, according to his contract.)

Funny he should come up. Giroux rejected a trade request to Boston instead telling the Flyers he wanted to go to Florida, presumably because he was ready to retire and that’s where the old folks from up north go to do so. Or maybe it was to win the cup. Either way, he isn’t retiring (presumably) and he didn’t win the cup. So have fun chasing that, old man.

Alas, my bracket is seriously challenged.

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Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Yeesh, seeing and hearing all the racist and death threats being thrown at Kadri is disgusting. And to think how many others have to deal with the same thing.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

It’s one thing to not like the way a guy plays hockey… this is disgusting

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Anonymous Stripes!

Satan 81's Sister
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Satan 81's Sister

Morning all. I need someone to give me lots of money so I can just sit outside and do nothing all day.

The London Bear
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The London Bear

I hear ya. Wouldn’t even need to be that much. I could live like a king if someone paid off my mortgage!

IntentionallyWidenberg
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IntentionallyWidenberg

I really enjoyed setting my own schedule and doing yardwork as the desire struck me last week. If you find out where we can get that job, let me know!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Retirement is pretty great .., I’m still way too busy, though

The London Bear
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The London Bear

Morning folks,

I can’t help feel like that’s a better situation than winning the first round and then being swept by the Lightning

100 per cent agree! Panthers fans must be pretty deflated.

Team GB gave it a good go last night, but it turns out letting in five goals in the third period isn’t a good strategy. Who knew? Two games in consecutive days GB led 2-0 and 3-1 and still managed to lose in regular time. And you thought the Bruins were frustrating!

Slovakia are in a similar situation today – need a regulation-time win to go through to the quarter-finals. They have been hugely disappointing with virtually the same team who won Olympic bronze.

Weird weather recently – intermittent strong sunshine and rain. It’s good for the tomatoes and strawberries at least!

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Good morning!
Wow! Bolts are rolling. I’m rooting for the 3peat because Tampa has already hurt me as much as they can. Canes or Blues would rub salt in the wounds…. I could get behind the Flames, but they are burning out. Lucic is fun again, even if he does skate like a 4 year old.
Another glorious day unfolding. Disc golf and lunch at the Amish Market Wagon. Yup, we got some crazy Mennonites in these hills. Then some fishing, which is really just time spent at the lake up the street.

The London Bear
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The London Bear

We went to an Amish market in NYC. They had free WiFi, which seemed bizarre to me.

I wouldn’t begrudge Edmonton the Cup. Their fans had to put up with years of dross and no-one can deny McDavid deserves it. He’s not quite at the OGWAC stage, but he’s been around a while now.

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

There’s a lot to like about the Oilers. McDavid is easy to root for and the speed and skill are jawdropping. I also like that Zach Hyman has blossomed since leaving Toronto. Cannot root for the Avs as Kadri is still a major jerk.

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

I’ll admit that the latest incident may have been accidental and overblown, though.

Long-Winded Striped Mofo
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Long-Winded Striped Mofo

Watching the game now. Blues are going to blow the series over Kadri

The London Bear
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The London Bear

Playoff hockey proves there’s no justice in the world!

IntentionallyWidenberg
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IntentionallyWidenberg

What I saw didn’t strike me as a big deal. I still don’t trust Kadri not to return to his headhunting ways.