For those of you who didn't read this post or haven't seen The Sixth Sense, Dr. Malcolm Crowe was Bruce Willis' character in the aforementioned film. Just like Dr. Crowe, the Florida Panthers don't know they're dead (as far as the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs are concerned). With their Game Ten loss to Ottawa, On Goal Analysis calls Florida at TEE TIME - OUT of the playoffs.
Obviously, this is a big disappointment, particularly after the Panthers came this [ ] close to making the playoffs last season, losing the 8th seed in the East to the (unworthy) Montreal Canadiens in a tie-breaker (there's no doubt in my mind that the Cats would've been MUCH more competitive against the Bruins last April). Unfortunately, not only are they NOT building on last season's almost-success, but Florida seems to have taken a step backwards. Key factors in the Panthers' demise:
1. A slow start for David Booth (9GP, 2-1-3, -5), followed by a concussion just as he seemed to be getting in gear.
2. Uneven goaltending. Thus far, Scott Clemmensen has not met expectations raised by his performance in New Jersey last season. Of course, he doesn't have the Devils playing in front of him, either. Tomas Vokoun simply hasn't been good enough for Panthers fans to forget about Craig Anderson.
3. The stats, man, the stats: In every key statistical category considered by OGA, Florida ranks no higher than 19th in the NHL. The two most important categories, however, tell you all you need to know: 2.10 Goals/game (28th) and 3.80 Goals Against/game (29th). In fact, the Panthers rank 28th or lower in 7 of 10 key stats. Ugh.
Though we've called Florida OUT, there's still a sliver of hope. After all, On Goal Analysis' Playoff Qualifying Curve-based calls are only right about 90% of the time, and the Panthers haven't dropped below the level of the PQC-busting 2007-08 Washington Capitals. We'll continue to monitor Florida throughout the season, and let you know if anything changes.
On a personal note, we OGA Boys really enjoyed having Whale4ever, aka Donny, of litterboxcats.com on JabberHockey (the OGA BlogTalkRadio show) last weekend. While we had a rather long list of questions for Donny, the hit on David Booth was (naturally) the primary topic. OGA extends to young Mr. Booth our best wishes for a speedy and full recovery, and not just because we have him on several of our fantasy teams.
Take me back to On Goal Analysis.