With round one of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs in the book it is time to move on to our predictions for the semi-finals, which begin tonight. before doing so, let’s take a look back at our predictions and see just how well we did.
Minnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues
Marc’s Prediction: St. Louis Blues, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: St. Louis Blues, 5 games
Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Marc’s Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Nashville Predators, 7 games
Anaheim Ducks vs Winnipeg Jets
Marc’s Prediction: Anaheim Ducks, 7 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Anaheim Ducks, 6 games
Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames
Marc’s Prediction: Calgary Flames, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Vancouver Canucks, 6 games
Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators
Marc’s Prediction: Montreal Canadiens, 7 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Ottawa Senators, 7 games
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Detroit Red Wings
Marc’s Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning, 5 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 games
New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Marc’s Prediction: New York Rangers, 4 games
Ryan’s Prediction: New York Rangers, 6 games
Washington Capitals vs New York Islanders
Marc’s Prediction: Washington Capitals, 6 games
Ryan’s Prediction: Washington Capitals, 7 games
Marc: 7-1 teams, 3-5 games
Ryan: 4-4 teams, 3-5 games
Round 2 Predictions
Over the next two days 16 teams will begin their quest to be named the 2015 Stanley Cup Champions. This season there are a few teams missing that are usually regulars in the playoffs, such as the Boston Bruins and last year’s champions, the Los Angeles Kings. They can thank the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, and New York Islanders, all teams that have not frequented the playoff picture in recent years, but have had a change in fortune this season. The 2014-2015 campaign was a tight race to the postseason, so hockey fans are guaranteed tough match-ups throughout the first round and beyond. That is why it will be harder this year than in the past to predict which club will come out on top, but we are going to give it our best try.
In any professional sport over the course of a season teams have defining moments that separate the winners from the rest of the league. During the last couple of months we have highlighted nine of these moments from the Florida Panthers 2011-2012 season. Now, after over a month of waiting, it is finally time for us to reveal the number one moment on our countdown. Trust us when we say that this is a moment that will go down as one of the best in franchise history, especially considering the fact that all of the so called “hockey experts” wrote off the Panthers before the season even began.
#1 – SouthEast Champs (April 7th, 2012)
Leave it to the Panthers to wait until the final game of 2012 to have one of the most important season defining moments in franchise history. Florida held the number one spot in the SouthEast division for the majority of the season until Washington forced them into a must win situation in game number 82 against the Carolina Hurricanes. If Carolina wins the Cats drop out of the top spot in the SE, lose home ice advantage for the Stanley Cup playoffs, and fail to secure a divisional title that they owned for most of the 2011-2012 season. Thankfully Florida finished the year strong by defeating the Hurricanes 4-1 and winning their first ever divisional championship.
While the win was great the post-game celebration was even greater, especially for the diehard fans. The cheering section that has gathered in front of Pantherland since 2007 grew larger than ever before, no matter how hard Michael Yormark and his Club Red goons, aka security personnel, tried to stop it. On that night Panthers fans were finally able to speak the words “playoff hockey” inside the BankAtlantic Center for the first time in over a decade. Most importantly, during that glorious night, the fans were finally able to put the past 12 heart breaking years behind them.
Clearly everyone has their own favorite moment from the 2011-2012 season, including our good friend Donny Rivette, founder of Litter Box Cats. We reached out to Donny and asked him to share his most memorable moment from last year and this is what he had to say.
“What stands out to me? Simple: October 15, around 6 p.m, watching fans file in to the newly en-reddened BankAtlantic Center for the first home game of the 2011-12 campaign. Regardless of an existing 1-1 record, surprising to no one, given the previous opponents were the Islanders and Penguins. What cemented the impression was a sense of newfound excitement and reset-button enthusiasm which had been missing in previous openers. Before it was “here we go again; hope for the best but unquestionably ready for yet another pointless sweater giveaway in early April”. The undeniable sign of a True, though realistic fan, but this home opener had hallmarks of something far different. Nothing clear enough to establish as a physical manifestation of Victory By Committee, but anyone in the building that night should stand by the stereotype of a Community Engaged. This was a Big Ticket.”
“Unquestionably, more than a few folks morphed from “I attended due to boredom and/or a free ticket” to “I’m sold on this because it’s solid entertainment,” which was evident just in walking through the concourses as the game went on. The Panthers hadn’t yet won 2 games and word began to carry: this is where the action is. I’ve never personally met a larger number of admitted non-hockey fans before that night who changed their collective tune within an hour, and all were beside themselves with praise for a sport they previously gave so little attention to. A terrific night which set the stage for all which followed.”
We hope that our readers enjoyed Sunshine State Hockey’s countdown of the top 10 moments of Florida’s 2011-2012 season. This year was truly one to remember for Panthers fans everywhere. Hopefully the National Hockey League and its players association can reach a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before the September 15th deadline so we do not have to wait any longer for another memorable hockey season in South Florida.
Finally we would like to thank Donny Rivette from Litter Box Cats for his great input. We also want to remind our readers one final time to click through the links below for the full experience of moment #1.
The National Hockey League released the three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial trophy yesterday and among those selected was Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell. The other two individuals nominated for the award were New York Islanders left winger Matt Moulson and forward Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers.
Each season the Lady Byng trophy is handed out “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association votes on the winner which is announced at the annual NHL Awards Show held in Las Vegas, NV.
Campbell’s nomination comes after a solid campaign in which the 32 year old defender registered 53 points (4 G, 49) and averaged 26:53 minutes of ice time per game while only taking three minor penalties the entire year. What is even more impressive is that “Soupy” managed those impressive stats while playing in all 82 games for the Panthers this season. If Campbell were to win the Lady Byng Memorial trophy he would be the first defenseman to do so since Detroit’s Red Kelly won it after the 1953-1954 NHL season.
This year’s NHL Awards Show will take place on June 20th, 2012 from the Encore Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada. Be sure to tune in to see if Florida’s own Brian Campbell can take home the Lady Byng.