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. Blue Jackets

Stars of the game

1st: Ryan Johansen (1G-1A-2P)

2nd: Jimmy Hayes (1G-0A-1P)

3rd: Mark Letestu (1G-0A-1P)

[Read more…]

Will March Belong to Shawn Matthias Again?

Ah March.

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and yes, Shawn Matthias is scoring.

Just as it was last season when injuries freed up valuable minutes to any player willing to work hard enough to take them, the Panthers’ most enigmatic forward is once again heating up as the team plays for pride during the final full month of the 2013-14 regular season.

Yes, just as college basketball goes mad in March, so to does Matthias.

In a trend that began last year when he played his way into the national spotlight after scoring 11 goals during the month of March – including two stellar goals in particular that earned him some extended airtime on ESPN and an ESPY nomination – Matthias has once again found himself heating up as we wave goodbye to February.

[Read more…]

Panther Parkway Post-Game: Panthers vs. Blue Jackets

Stars of the game

1st: David Savard (1G-1A-2P)

2nd:Artem Anisimov (1G-0A-1P)

3rd: RJ Umberger (1G-0A-1P)

Goals (Blue Jackets 6, Panthers 3)

CBJ: RJ Umberger (16) (Powerplay) Assists: James Wisniewski, Jack Johnson

CBJ: Cam Atkinson (18) (Powerplay) Assists: David Savard, Jack Johnson

FLA: Shawn Matthias (6) Assists: Unassisted

FLA: Nick Bjugstad (14) Assists: Shawn Matthias

CBJ: David Savard (4) (Powerplay) Assists: Nathan Horton, Ryan Johansen

FLA: Sean Bergenheim (14) Assists: Tom Gilbert, Nick Bjugstad

CBJ: Artem Anisimov (15) (Short-handed) Assists: Unassisted

CBJ: Nick Foligno (16) (Empty Net) Assists: Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Murray

CBJ: Matt Calvert (7) (Empty Net) Assists: Mark Letestu, Jack Johnson


Believe it or not, Nick Bjugstad recorded his first multi-point game in the NHL with a goal and an assist!

Tweet of the game

Next Up

The Florida Panthers take on the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

Tune into FOX Sports Florida to catch all of the action!

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

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

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Panther Parkway Post-Game: Panthers vs. Blue Jackets

1st: Sergei Bobrovsky (.973 sv% – 36-37)

2nd: Ryan Johansen(1G-1A-2P)

3rd: Boone Jenner (1G-1A-2P)

Goals (Blue Jackets 4, Panthers 1)

CBJ: Boone Jenner (9) Assists: Ryan Johansen, Nathan Horton

CBJ: Ryan Johansen (22) Assists: Boone Jenner, Nathan Horton

FLA: Brad Boyes (15) Assists: Brian Campbell, Scottie Upshall

CBJ: Nick Foligno (13) Assists: Nikita Nikiitin

CBJ: Mark Letestu (8) Assists: Corey Tropp, Derek MacKenzie

[Read more…]

Game Day Preview: Panthers vs. Blue Jackets. Everybody’s Got A Hunger.

FLORIDA PANTHERS: 21-26-7 (49 PTS.) vs. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: 27-23-4 (58 PTS.)


GAME DAY SONG: An excellent live version of Prove It All Night, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

The final game of a four game road trip ends tonight in Columbus against a Blue Jackets team that is looking for their sixth straight win against the Florida Panthers.  This is the first of three meetings this season between the two clubs who haven’t faced off since March of 2012.

The Panthers are struggling in a number of areas, but goals against lately seems to be the biggest issue.  Florida has given up 16 goals in the last three games, and I don’t need to do the math for you to tell you that on average, that’s a bad statistic.  If the Panthers don’t tighten things up beginning tonight, more of the same is going to continue against a Columbus team that has six players in double digits in goals scored.

Erik Gudbranson sat out his third game in a row Thursday, and Tomas Fleischmann joined him in the press box as well, being a healthy scratch for the first time as a member of the Panthers.  More is expected from both players, however the Panthers are a better team with them in the lineup despite the struggles that each are going through.  Florida needs Gudbranson’s physical play, especially in front of the net, where the opposition seems to be setting up office in front of whoever’s protecting the goal.  As for Flash, in spite of the fact that he’s only scored five goals in 52 games, he does create chances, and works hard on every shift.  You can’t deny that he’s working hard, but he’s clearly frustrated though, and it’s possible a night off might have done him some good.

[Read more…]

GIF: Thomas Vanek Scores Between the Legs Goal vs. Blue Jackets

Just two days after Tomas Hertl dazzled us all with his impressive between the legs goal against the New York Rangers on Tuesday, Sabres forward Thomas Vanek decided to throw his name into contention for this season’s goal of the year.

The 29-year-old winger tied the game at 1 early in the 1st period of tonight’s game after using a very “Hertle-esq” move to sneak a puck through the five-hole of last year’s Vezina winner, Sergei Bobrovsky.

[Read more…]

Panther Parkway Noon Headlines: Craig Anderson, Hawks Clinch, Olympics,Columbus, and More.

What better way to spend your lunch break than catching up on all of last night’s amazing NHL action that you may have missed! Here are the top stories and videos from the all of yesterday’s action around the NHL.

*The above video shows Ottawa’s Craig Anderson clearly hi-sticking Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils.  Hello Eugene Melnyck!

* The Three Stars for Friday night via Puck Daddy.

* The Chicago Blackhawks clinch the Central Division, and sweep the season series against Detroit.  Madhouse Enforcer.

* Does P.K. Subban deserve consideration for the Norris Trophy?  Globe and Mail.

* Scott Morrison, one of this writers favorites tells us why the NHL owes the fans the Olympics.  Sportsnet.ca.

[Read more…]

Around The NHL: Sunday March 10th, 2013

What better way to spend your Sunday Brunch than by catching up on all of last night’s amazing NHL action that you may have missed! Here are the top stories and videos from the all of yesterday’s action around the NHL.

*Vladimir Sobotka, Sergei Bobrovsky and Tuukka Rask were the three stars from Saturday’s action. Puck Daddy.

* Sidney Crosby and James Neal shoot the Penguins to an ovetime win against the Leafs. TSN.

[Read more…]

He Coulda’ Been A Panther. A Look At Round One Of The 2002 NHL Draft

In 2002 the Florida Panthers held two very special components of the entry draft: the number one overall pick, and a second pick in the first round! The organization had a chance to potentially set up their future for a very long time if they made the right choices.  When it came down to it however (remember this is hindsight), the Panthers botched it.  Yes, that’s right.  As I have said many times, those days thankfully are long gone thanks to having Dale Tallon here at the draft table, where he has made some outstanding selections.

The drama of the first pick of the draft for the Panthers will always make us ask what if.  As you recall, there was a trade between the Panthers and the Columbus Blue Jackets, where the two teams swapped spots at one and three.  The Panthers had their eyes on the smooth skating, puck moving, and crisp passing of Jay Bouwmeester.  A tall, slender, and quiet young man, Jay was thought of as someone who could potentially develop into a Niklas Lidstrom type.  The Columbus Blue Jackets had coveted high scoring winger Rick Nash, and were deathly afraid that the Atlanta Thrashers would grab him at the second spot.  With that threat looming, the Panthers moved down to the third spot, and the Jackets moved to number one taking Nash.  Atlanta selected goaltender Kari Lehtonen, followed by the Panthers selecting Bouwmeester.

[Read more…]

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