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Florida’s Over Achievers

The Panthers are the only South Florida sports team that doesn’t completely suck; they’re just a notch below .500, and are very much alive in the weak Southeast Division. But just think about that for a moment: That means the best assemblage of athletic talent in the lower third of this state almost wins as many games as it loses. There’s nearly a one-in-two chance. Just about half. All of their games, but divided by two and minus a couple. Wow!

The Panthers are playing decent hockey at the moment, thanks largely to Coach Jacques Martin’s ability to scare them into not sucking. Last week Martin called out the team for sloppy play and lackadaisical shooting, prompting critics to believe heads would roll if things didn’t turn around. Fortunately, the players responded with a monster win against the Islanders; maybe because they knew Martin wasn’t just making idle threats. The coach is not afraid to ditch star players (remember Roberto Luongo?), and there’s serious speculation that the roster will be ripped apart this off-season if the Panthers don’t make the playoffs. We’ll see if anything sticks Thursday night when the Cats return home to the BankAtlantic Center to face division rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes.
Thu., Dec. 20, 2007


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