It was supposed to be different this year. Hell, it was different this year.
It's hard to believe now, but it really was only two months ago when the Herald ran a front page story with this headline: "Panthers Hockey Fans Are Frisky Over Playoff Prospects." The Cats had won a robust 22 out of 39 games, and the night after the story ran, they took down the league-leading Boston Bruins in Sunrise.
So what the F happened? With Montreal's overtime point and the Ranger's 2-1 win over the Flyers last night, the Panthers are officially out of the playoffs. Again.
For those keeping score at home, that's eight seasons in a row without a playoff game in Sunrise, the longest streak in the NHL -- and the second longest ever in a league where it's kind of hard not to accidentally stumble into the playoffs at least once every five years or so.
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And hey -- if you bought a four-ticket "Panthers Promise Plan" package this year, you get four free tickets to watch the team choke next year!
Just to rub some salt in the wou ... um .. to remember better Panthers times, here's a nice little feature on John Vanbiesbrouck. Try not to cry in your Budweiser when you realize the Year of the Rat was only thirteen freaking years ago.