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03-06-2012, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Good Afternoon. I finally decided to create an account after years of lurking and having a blast reading the threads here on the sight. I'd like to consider myself pretty knowledgeable about hockey as I have been around the game my entire life. I figured since today is an off day that it would be a good opportuntiy to introduce myself. Im sure this probably won't be the correct thread to put this in and if so I apologize up front.
I grew up in Massachusetts a die hard Hartford Whalers fan (Hopefully most remember the Whale and aren't too young on here) as I lived closer to Hartford then Boston. Being a Whalers fan was interesting to say the least and certainly full of heartache. Year after year we had an underachieving team and ownership that generally didn't give a damn. Hell we threw a victory parade just for winning one round in the playoffs back in 1986. The similarities to the Panthers are quite striking except the fact the Panthers actually made the SC Finals before. Fast forward a bit to when the Whale sold off Ronnie Francis and Ulfie to Pittsburgh and the beginning of the end was near. Then the Brendan Shanahan fiasco was the final nail as he cried his way out of town delivering the final nail in the coffin. Karmanos ripped my heart out and moved the team to Carolina. The year the Canes won the cup I couldn't even stomach watching the end. So to this day Boston and now Carolina are at the bottom of the barrel for me.
The irony continues as I ended up moving to San Antonio, TX shortly after the Whale left town. I followed the Rampage from day one as a season ticket holder the first three years as I got to see the likes of Wade Flaherty and Travis Scott in net along with Filip Novak, good old Denis Shvidki (sp), Jeff Toms, Rocky Thompson along with many other less then sterling names. Not to mention JayBo and his I'm too good for the AHL and don't want to be here attitude during the lockout. Nate wasn't much better and at least Weisser didn't complain before they sent him off to Chicago to play in a winning environment. 2006 rolls around and I get a job off in South Florida that was too good to pass up. This enabled me to finally get to see NHL hockey again. Me and my children went to anywhere between 10-15 games a year over the next three years. Loved the BAC and the atmosphere at the games even though the team struggled.
Long story short I follow the Panthers on NHL Center Ice now living in New England and have watched every game this season. The start of the season was amazing and certainly more then I was expecting. I love Kevin Dineen for obvious reasons as the man wore his heart on his sleeve every night and was a true captain in every sense of the word. The man scored the last goal ever in Hartford Whalers history April 13,1997. I cried my eyes out as he ripped it past Rick Tabarraci playing for Tampa. This team personified Kevin Dineen during the begin of the season. They worked hard, didn't take shifts off and gelled quicker then anybody thought they would. It's been difficult watching since the first of the year as the division is there for the taking and the team has struggled mightily scoring goals. No matter the outcome I still love this team and sooo want to see playoff hockey in South Florida this year. Getting Steeger and Kuli back will certainly help and Theo playing lights out still is a must. Really like the pickups in Smitty and WW and hope Guds uses the recent benching as a good learning tool. Now if Flash can stop ringing the post and Weisser plays like he even cares then all the better.
Im really happy that Santos and Tallon have also taken a big interest in making the Rampage competitive as well. The fans in SA have suffered a long while also as there have only been two playoff appearances in ten years and one was a sweep the first season. I went down to SA for the holidays and saw the team play Houston, unfortunately the 'Page looked awful that night and Marky actually got pulled from the game. I don't think anybody on this board asides from possibly a few Rampage fans has mentioned just how good DGM is in goal. I got the pleasure to see him in Hartford alot last year and he is solid. If the Panthers ever got in a pinch between the pipes he certainly deserves a chance. (Hell he is miles better then Brian Foster). I really hope the affiliation agreement continnues beyond this year as constantly shuffling really does nobody any good. That and with the abundance of great talent coming through the pipeline in the next few years, I want to have the ability to see these guys in San Antonio. The climate and environment down in SA is very similar to South Florida minus the beaches and I hope Tallon and Santos do the right thing and extend the deal. I have rambled long enough and hope to be able to contribute in the future.
Go Panthers and Go Rampage. Long Live The Whale
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