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. Sharks

Stars of the game

1st: Roberto Luongo (52-54 saves – .963%)

2nd: Brandon Pirri (1G-1A-2P)

3rd: Brian Campbell (0G-0A-0P)

Goals (Panthers 3, Sharks 2)

SJS: Marty Havlat (8) (Powerplay) Assists: Brent Burns, Matt Nieto

FLA: Brandon Pirri (9) Assists: Unassisted

FLA: Quinton Howden (3) Assists: Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes

FLA: Scottie Upshall (14) Assists: Joey Crabb, Nick Bjugstad

SJS: Brent Burns (19) Assists: Joe Thornton


So many highlights. So little time. Quinton Howden scored his 3rd goal in 4 games, and is currently riding a 4-game point streak. Jimmy Hayes has tallied 9 points over his last 9 games, while Brandon Pirri has notched 7 points over his last 8 games. But the real story of the night was Roberto Luongo stopping 52 of 54 shots against the San Jose Sharks, who also broke a franchise record with 29 shots in a period.

Video of the game

The most amazing thing you’ll see all week. Bravo, San Jose. Bravo.

Tweet of the game

Next Up

The Florida Panthers take on the Phoenix Coyotes at the Jobing.com arena, on Thursday at 10:00 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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Video: Tim Thomas Talks After Panthers’ 3-0 Loss to Sharks

Even in defeat, Panthers’ goaltender Tim Thomas once again put on a spectacular show for the home crowd as the Florida Panthers fell to the San Jose Sharks by a final score of 3-0.

After stopping all 21 Sharks’ shots in the 1st period, Thomas lost his shutout in the 2nd period as Joe Thornton was able to beat the Cats’ defense and bury an easy breakaway attempt.

From that point on the Panthers would go on to allow two more goals as Thomas constantly found himself under heavy fire. Though he walks away with a loss, Thomas still looked spectacular while stopping 36 of 39 Sharks’ shots.

Here is what he had to say after the game:

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Game Day Preview: Sharks vs. Panthers. The Highway Is Alive Tonight.

SAN JOSE SHARKS: 29-12-6 (64 PTS.) vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS: 18-21-7 (43 PTS.)

GAME DAY SONG: The Ghost of Tom Joad Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

The Florida Panthers went a span of 45 games this year when they scored three goals in a single period of a game.  Opening night against the Dallas Stars was the last time the Cats scored three times in a period prior to taking a 3-0 lead against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.  It was also only the fourth time this season when the Panthers scored multiple goals in the first period.  Such is life for an offensively challenged team, so when they score as often as they did Tuesday, it is really something to celebrate.  Slow starts have been the achillies heel for the Panthers all season as they’ve only had the lead after one period of play nine times all season.  Although their has improved recently, quick starts have not been the norm.

The Panthers played a solid game Tuesday against the Islanders and seemed to be clicking on all cylinders.  The uptempo style with the aggressive forecheck they are now playing seems to have made them a more competitive team.  While they continue to search for consistency, when Florida plays like it did Tuesday, they can at least compete with most any team in the NHL.  The Panthers are now 3-0-1 in their last four home games, and were 8 points out of the last wild card spot prior to the start of last night’s games.

[Read more…]

Video: Rookie Tomas Hertl Puts on a Show in San Jose

After scoring a total of six goals through his first two career NHL games, it’s hard to imagine any player is having a better week than San Jose Sharks’ rookie winger Tomas Hertl. Though it is still very early in the 2013-2014 season, the 19-year-old Hertl already has experts racing to amend their Calder Trophy picks for this season as the rookie continues to showcase his exceptional scoring talents. Although Hertl first made headlines by scoring two goals against the Phoenix Coyotes on October 5th, the Czech Republic native made the hockey world explode on Tuesday night when he tallied four goals against a hapless New York Rangers’ team that should be very happy to be getting out of San Jose.

While scoring four goals in a game as a rookie is cause enough for celebration, Hertl’s night went from exceptional to insanity when he netted a dazzling between the legs goal over the shoulder of a helpless Martin Biron with 7:55 left in the 3rd period of the Sharks’ 9-2 route.

[Read more…]

Video: Teemu Selanne Receives Standing Ovation in Final Game at Winnipeg

Still in the very early stages of his NHL farewell tour, beloved winger Teemu Selanne found himself tonight in the place where it all began – Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Possibly the greatest player to ever put on a Jets’ sweater, Selanne, 43, competed in 231 games for the Jets and while recording 147 goals and 159 assists for a total of 306 points. Famously traded to the Anaheim Ducks on February 6, 1996, Selanne also spent time playing for the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks before returning once again to Anaheim in 2005.

While it may be almost two decades since Selanne laced up his skates for the Jets, it’s clear that no matter where his travels took him, he was never far from the hearts of the people of Winnipeg. In what will most likely be his last trip to Winnipeg before riding off into the sunset, Selanne received one final standing ovation from the fans that wished he had never left.

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Scott Gomez: Ready to Bring Leadership and Experience to Florida

In what could best be defined as an overall quiet offseason for the Florida Panthers, one name stood out from the rest in the team’s large pool of depth signings and veteran spot fillers, former All-Star forward Scott Gomez. Once a name that carried great weight around NHL circles, Gomez has fallen off in recent seasons and for a time became a long running punchline among NHL fans when the veteran forward suffered through a goalless streak that lasted over a year. However, even after being cast out of rabid hockey markets like Montreal and New York, Gomez will look to enter the next phase of his career, this time in sunny South Florida.

Coming off a season in which he seemingly redefined what kind of player he is at this stage of his career, the once 86 point scorer recreated himself as a quality bottom-six forward in San Jose last season – scoring 15 points (2G-13A-15P) in 39 games with the Sharks. While this transition from star to role-player may be negligible to some, Gomez’s evolution piqued the interest of the Panthers and Head Coach Kevin Dineen.

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Scott Gomez Gives The Florida Panthers Options

As odd as that title was for me to type, I’m sure it was just as strange for you to read.  After deciding to rise above the rubble of my day job, I felt the need to comment about the signing of veteran center Scott Gomez by the Florida Panthers.  This could very well be one of the more valuable moves for the upcoming season by the Panthers.  After having his ludicrous contract bought out by the Montreal Canadiens, a seven year deal for $51.5 million dollars that Gomez signed as a free agent to play for the New York Rangers in 2007, the reality is that Gomez is a very low risk, high reward signing.  His contract was ludicrous simply because he failed to produce at the level that was expected.  His best year as a Ranger was his first when he scored 70 points.  That year was followed by a 58 point season which then saw him traded to the Montreal Canadiens in a seven player deal with Gomez and Montreal’s Chris Higgins being the biggest names of the group, along with a defenceman by the naem of Ryan McDonough. Gomez had 59 points in his first season in Montreal, 38 the next, and battled injuries as he quickly fell out of favor with the Canadiens.  Of course one other reason his numbers fell could have had something to do with the stifling game plan of Jacques Martin, however “dat” is discussion is for another time.

Gomez’s lack of production and fat contract made him an easy target for the Montreal faithful, and after the lockout ended last season, the Canadiens bought him out, and Gomez eventually landed with the San Jose Sharks in a very serviceable role, playing 39 games, scoring twice and collecting 13 assists.   The Sharks Todd McLellan had this to say about Gomez during his time in San Jose:

“Gomer has been a very good player for us in a number of different ways. I don’t want to say it’s surprising, but he’s almost like a third or a fourth coach. He’s trying to do things the right way. He’s trying to get guys to keep their shifts short, that we have a high guy, that we don’t turn pucks over. I didn’t know we were getting that in Scott Gomez, but we’re getting it, and he’s been a big influence that way.”

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Panther Parkway Noon Headlines: Outdoor Game in LA?, Sharks, Coyotes’ Sale, 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.


  • Check out these top 10 Dominik Hasek moments, courtesy of Sportscenter. 

  • Senators’ goaltender Craig Anderson falls to the Panthers in his return from injury. [TSN]


  • The Stars snapped the Sharks’ 7-game winning streak. [TSN]


  • What we learned: The Southeast Division is really terrible. [Puck Daddy]

[Read more…]

Each Owner Isn’t Alike These Lockout Negotiations

Does Mario Lemieux want the same thing out of the negotiations as Cliff Viner? Photo source: Wikipedia Commons

The NHL lockout is tough on everybody: the players, owners, and especially the employees and fans. The greed of some affects the lifestyle of many, and the sport of hockey suffers as a result. There’s no hiding the fact that this lockout is horrible.

But if you choose to demonize the owners and blame them for the entire situation, keep in mind that not all owners are created the same. Perhaps some of them are being victimized just the same as those being locked out of money. Most of these owners would actually rather accept the NHLPA offers than lose an entire season to a lockout.

Consider the Panthers’ majority owner, Cliff Viner. Look at all the momentum the Panthers have developed over last year. The team had one of its most successful seasons in its young history, and captured South Florida’s attention ad they made their way to a Southeast Division title. Sportswriters were talking about them, games were being sold out, the tiredness that usually accompanied conversations about the Panthers replaced with excitement. Why would it make any sense for Viner to surrender an entire year and ruin all the positive vibes? It doesn’t.

Also look at the San Jose Sharks’ ownership group, Stratton Sclavos and Kevin Compton. They get sellouts every night at HP Arena and their team is a perennial Stanley Cup contender. But their nucleus is aging: Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau would both lose a year from their careers, and the chase for the Cup would get that much more difficult for San Jose.

Most teams find themselves in a similar boat as these two teams: the possibility of profit and attention is too high to pass up.

So if there are owners who would want hockey to be played, it begs the question of which owners are not as eager.  Since only Bill Daly and Gary Bettman are allowed to speak for the NHL and the owners, nobody can be totally sure.  Good guesses can be hazarded that the big-market teams are participating in driving down negotiations.  Maybe a team like the Rangers or Canadiens would seriously demand a buy-out clause for players, and a team like the Maple Leafs or Bruins would balk at higher revenue-sharing.  These teams, since they are a few of the real power players within the NHL, probably have more say in negotiations than the Panthers and Sharks of the league. At least we assume this, since the positions taken by the NHL in meetings seems slanted more for the richest teams in the league to benefit than the ones with lower budgets.

Whatever the case, there needs to be a realization among the owners in general that there needs to be sacrifice on their part in order to make a deal work and end the lockout.  Some owners already recognize this, but a few are still in denial.

Thanks for reading!  Be sure to comment!

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