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Remembering the Panthers' 1996 run to the Stanley Cup Finals

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Old
05-21-2008, 08:20 PM
  #1
Al Bundy*
 
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Remembering the Panthers' 1996 run to the Stanley Cup Finals

I can't believe it's taken me this long to ask this to you guys, but now's the time:

Feel free to reminisce about Florida's run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals.

Were they a good team heading into the playoffs, or were they average before they made that run?

And HOW did that team manage to do what they did in the playoffs?

Also, this question:

If that 1996 miracle team played Pavel Bure's 1999-00 playoff team in a best-of-seven series, who would win?

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05-21-2008, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Bundy View Post
I can't believe it's taken me this long to ask this to you guys, but now's the time:

Feel free to reminisce about Florida's run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals.

Were they a good team heading into the playoffs, or were they average before they made that run?

And HOW did that team manage to do what they did in the playoffs?

Also, this question:

If that 1996 miracle team played Pavel Bure's 1999-00 playoff team in a best-of-seven series, who would win?
A lot of people sell the talent on that team short, but I think it was a very talented team, who also played the clutch and grab game to perfection and trapped very well when both were heavily in style. We had great goaltending, a great defense corps of Svehla, Jovanovski, Murphy, Carkner, Warrener, Laus, and Woolley, and an underrated forward group that was so balanced, they got good production from every single line that playoffs. We were the 4th seed going into the playoffs, but the trade deadline acquisitions of Sheppard and Straka really took us to another level I thought, even though we didn't finish the regular season hot. We were very well coached, MacLean was a great coach who the players loved and believed in.

We just took Boston totally by surprise I thought. We jumped on them right from the puck drop of Game 1 and never let up, they just couldn't deal with us. We were such a hard working and gritty team, and we didn't let other teams breathe, and that was really our signature. Guys like Skrudland, Hough, Mellanby, Lowry, Lindsay, Svehla, Jovanovski, Laus really set the tone all year and we had so many leaders, especially Skrudland. He was a great captain that the boys followed without hesitation. In the Philly series, Jovanovski really came to the forefront, his battles with Lindros that series were epic. We just beat Philly and Pittsburgh with what we used to win all year, hard work, a balanced attack, timely scoring, great defense, and unbelievable goaltending. Beezer had one of the greatest playoff performances I've ever seen by a goaltender that spring, he really carried us to the Finals in large part. But Colorado was just too deep and talented, we were clearly overmatched, even though the last two games were very close and could have went either way. Still, I think all Panthers fans were still ecstatic after that run, it's one of the greatest Cinderella stories in sports history. An expansion team making it to the Cup Finals in 3 years, it was just special and for Panthers fans who experienced it, I'm sure none of them will ever forget.

And the 96 team would have beaten the krap out of the 00 team.

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05-22-2008, 09:15 AM
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I second that the '96 team would have beaten the '00 team - because it would have been very similar to the team that swept the '00 team in the first place, New Jersey. Both teams played the trap and played a very physical defensive game. The only difference is the Panthers had Beezer instead of Brodeur, so they lacked the puckhandling talent Brodeur brings to perfect the Devils' trap system. Jovocop also wasn't on par with Scott Stevens, so there's that too, but if Billy Lindsay and Tom Fitzgerald could shut down Lindros and Lemieux, they could handle Bure, too.

'96 team still would have beaten the '00 team in 5 or 6 mostly one-sided games. The one or two they'd lose would be by one goal.

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05-22-2008, 10:13 AM
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The 96 team played great defense, went to the front of the net, won battles in the corners, and didn't take **** from anybody. I remember Mario Lemieux saying it was the best defensive team he ever played against.

They would have kicked the crap out of the 2000 team.

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05-22-2008, 04:40 PM
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'96 - 12
'00 - 4 (all from Bure)

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05-22-2008, 05:20 PM
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I remember leaving for five days on the "camp trip from hell". Grade seven class-bring & make your own shelter (tarps, no tents allowed), all your own food,no outside showers or bathing, only allowed matches for fires , no porta-potties etc.... I'm surprised I survived to witness the 96' playoff run

I missed watching the first two games in Boston when I was on my camp trip. I was hoping for a split when I got back home. Not getting to watch the team most of the season (living in western Canada with no digital cable at that time) , it was easy to see during the entire playoff run how much heart/hard work this team poured out. They did not have the star talent level up front of the 2000 playoff team, but the 96' team knew how to shut down the star players no matter how ugly it looked (excluding maybe the Finals in a couple games there). Going into that playoff run, I thought maybe six-seven game series win over Boston ,then Philly was going to be real tough to make a series out of it .I remember my dad telling me that the Panthers had no shot at beating Philly. Everyone underestimated that club, even a hardcore fan like myself to an extent (that's why the word MIRACLE gets thrown into the equation when talking about the run).

I think the 96' club would have taken out that Bure-led club in five games if the series was played in that era.

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05-27-2008, 10:13 AM
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The 96 Panther team, what can I say, I loved them. That was the first finals I really got into as a kid, I was 10. I loved Beezer, being an ex Ranger helped too thou. I wanted a Beezer Cat jersey so bad that next Christmas, never got it . That team had so much heart, it wasn't an allstar squad, just had a lot of guts. I'll never forget game 4. "Oh what a save!!!, JOhn Van-beez-brook" I saw a lot of similarities with the 96 Panther team and the 03 Ducks team, I'll always have a soft spot for those two, and as a reason I often root for the Ducks and Cats (when they're in, been so long) in the PO's.

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05-27-2008, 11:17 AM
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I loved watching the playoff run of the Panthers. Does anyone have a link to a video or a picture of the game vs PITT when so many rats were thrown on the ice that the goalie had to hide in his own net?

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05-27-2008, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by taloncarde15 View Post
I loved watching the playoff run of the Panthers. Does anyone have a link to a video or a picture of the game vs PITT when so many rats were thrown on the ice that the goalie had to hide in his own net?
The Hextall/Roy video's would be even better than the Barrasso. Maybe that is the former Pens' fan in me saying that ( Pens were my team until the Panthers came along,that was a tough series to root for ,but I made my choice).

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