Friday Flashback: 1980s Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers Rivalry

celtics-lakersI used to follow the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs – especially in the 1980s.  Okay, I will confess that I was actually an Atlanta Hawks’ fan but let’s just keep that between us okay?

In the 1980s, the most intense rivalry was between the Boston Celtics led by Larry Bird and the Los Angeles Lakers with Magic Johnson with “Showtime”.  The NBA finals between these two teams were always epic.  When this time of year rolls around I always think back to these games.  These two teams faced each other in three NBA finals in the 1984, 1985 and 1987.  The Lakers won two of three in these matchups.

1984In the 1984 finals,  this was the first time with the Magic Johnson–Larry Bird pair facing off in the finals. After the Lakers won Game 1, a crucial steal in Game 2 led to a tie game and the Celtics were able to win in overtime to tie the series. The Lakers won Game 3 easily and almost won Game 4, but were again thwarted. Now tied 2-2, the Lakers and Celtics each held serve at their home court to send the series to Boston for Game 7. Game 5 was a classic, with Bird coming up with a huge game in one of the (literally) hottest games ever (97 °F (36 °C)) in the non-air conditioned Boston Garden. Game 7 was also contested in hot temperatures that hovered around 91 °F (33 °C). The score was close but the contest eventually went to the Celtics. Cedric Maxwell scored 24 points against the Los Angeles Lakers in the decisive Game 7 victory.

  1. May 27, 1984 at Boston:  Lakers 115, Celtics 109
  2. May 31, 1984 at Boston:  Celtics 124, Lakers 121 ot
  3. June 3, 1984 at Los Angeles:  Lakers 137, Celtics 104
  4. June 6, 1984 at Los Angeles:  Celtics 129, Lakers 125 ot
  5. June 8, 1984 at Boston:  Celtics 121, Lakers 103
  6. June 10, 1984 at Los Angeles:  Lakers 119, Celtics 108
  7. June 12, 1984 at Boston:  Celtics 111, Lakers 102

(Celtics win series 4 gams to 3)

Los Angeles Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1985 NBA FinalsThe following year, the Boston Celtics were looking to repeat as NBA Champions for the first time since the 1968–69 season. The Celtics had homecourt advantage for the second year in a row as they finished the regular season with a 63-19 record while the Los Angeles Lakers compiled a 62-20 record. The Lakers looked to bounce back from the previous year’s painful loss to the Celtics in the championship series, and were still seeking to beat Boston for the first time ever in NBA Finals history.   In the series clincher the Lakers held the Celtics to just 18 third quarter points to blow open a game tied at halftime. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 29 points and James Worthy 28 as Los Angeles became the first opposing team clinch a title in the Boston Garden. Magic Johnson dished out a game-high 14 assists. Celtics’ forward Kevin McHale scored 32 points and grabbed 16 rebounds–both game-highs–before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Larry Bird’s dismal shooting continued as he hit just 12 of 29 shots.

  1. May 27, 1985 at Boston:  Celtics 148, Lakers 114
  2. May 30, 1985 at Boston:  Lakers 109, Celtics 102
  3. June 2, 1985 at Los Angeles:  Lakers 136, Celtics 111
  4. June 5, 1985 at Los Angeles:  Celtics 107, Lakers 105
  5. June 7, 1985 at Los Angeles:  Lakers 120, Celtics 111
  6. June 9, 1985 at Boston:  Lakers 111, Celtics 100

(Lakers win series 4 games to 2)

Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics - 1987 NBA FinalsAfter winning the championship over the Houston Rockets in 1986, the Celtics once again faced the Lakers in the 1987 finals and seeking to repeat.  The Lakers finished the regular season with a league-best 65–17 record. Head coach Pat Riley made a pair of strategical moves, shifting the offensive focus to Magic Johnson, while acquiring center Mychal Thompson via trade midway through the season. Both moves helped alleviate the load off of the aging Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who turned 40 during the playoffs. Also taking a greater role in the Showtime offense were A. C. Green and Byron Scott, who supplanted Kurt Rambis and Michael Cooper in the starting lineup. With a 3 games to 2 lead, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrived for Game 6 with a shaved head and a determination to close out this series. For a while, though, it appeared like the Celtics would steal it. Magic Johnson had only four points at the half and Dennis Johnson poured in 18 for the Celtics on his way to a game-high 33 as Boston led 56-51 at intermission.  The Lakers scored the first two baskets of the second half to cut it to 56-55. On the Celtics’ ensuing possession, the ball came loose toward the sideline and James Worthy gave chase. Worthy went to the floor, batted the ball inbounds to a breaking Magic Johnson, and Magic slammed home a breakaway dunk. This gave the Lakers their first lead of the game since 13-12, 57-56, and they never trailed from that point, winning 106-93.

  1. June 2, 1987 at Los Angeles:  Lakers 126, Celtics 113
  2. June 4, 1987 at Los Angeles:  Lakers 141, Celtics 122
  3. June 7, 1987 at Boston:  Celtics 109, Lakers 103
  4. June 9, 1987 at Boston:  Lakers 107, Celtics 106
  5. June 11, 1987 at Boston:  Celtics 123, Lakers 108
  6. June 14, 1987 at Los Angeles:  Lakers 106, Celtics 93

(Lakers win series 4 games to 2)

The Celtics and Lakers would not meet again in the NBA Finals until 2010.

In the 1980s, the Lakers appeared in eight NBA Finals winning five titles.  The Celtics played in five finals winning three.

 

 

 

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Obscure Sports News (5/16/18)

rochester
Rochester Knighthawks edge Georgia Swarm 9-8 to advance to National Lacrosse League final

 

Alliance of American Football (AAF) – Announced that they will place a team in Salt Lake City, Utah when they begin play next spring.  Salt Lake City joins Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis and will play at Rice Eccles Stadium, which is the home field for the University of Utah.  The Memphis team has announced that former Chicago Bears’ great Mike Singletary will be their head coach.

American Arena League (AAL) – The Georgia Doom upset the Richmond Roughriders 56-44 in Macon, Georgia after the Doom replaced head coach Derek Stingley with Defensive Coordinator Gerald Dockery.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The Toronto Rush (4-0) held on to defeat the Montreal Royal 21-18 to stay undefeated and atop the East Division standings.  Montreal drops to 2-3.  In other divisions, the surprising Atlanta Hustle are tied with the Dallas Roughnecks at 4-1 in the South.  Madison is 5-0 in the Midwest but Indianapolis (6-1) is right on their heels.  The West seems to be wide open as 2.5 games separate the first and last place teams.  The Los Angeles Aviators and San Diego Growlers are tied for first with 4-2 records.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The Albany Empire (2-2) defeated the Washington Valor (0-4) 53-42 on Friday night at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in front of a crowd of 9,036. Empire quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 257 yards and seven touchdowns earning himself the game MVP award. Empire receiver Malachi Jones had six receptions for 120 yards and three receiving touchdowns, while chipping one rushing touchdown and earning himself Offensive Player of the Game. Terence Moore was named Defensive Player of the Game with six total tackles and a fumble recovery.

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) -The Omaha Beef made just enough plays to edge out the Bismarck Bucks in an offensive explosion 79-78.  After a tough game last week against Sioux City, John Gibbs showed what he can potentially be for Omaha. A week ago, Gibbs had one touchdown in the air and two on the ground, but it was the three interceptions that hurt the Beef the most. Saturday night, Gibbs had eight total touchdowns (7-passing/1-rushing) and most importantly, no interceptions. Gibbs found receivers Daniel Mckinney, Brandlynn Clark and Jerimiah Eaton open all game. Mckinney lead the receivers in receptions (6) and total touchdowns (5), Clark added two touchdowns, and so did Eaton, with one of his touchdown catches coming with under 10-seconds left in the game.

Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) – The online, fan-involved indoor football league has delayed their start date to the summer of 2019.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The six-time world champion league leading Arizona Rattlers (9-1) defeated the Green Bay Blizzard (1-8) by a score of 62-26 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Rattlers have extended their current win streak to eight.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – The Denver Outlaws fell 24-22 in a back-and-forth, high-scoring game to the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Despite scoring a season-high 22 goals and rallying from a five-score fourth-quarter deficit, Denver was never able to overcome a Chesapeake 13-point third quarter and four two-goal tallies. Midfielder Drew Snider led all scorers with a career-high six goals-representing only the 20th six-goal game in Outlaws history.

Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Glendale Raptors were named the Major League Rugby Team of the Week the league announced today. The Raptors have jumped out to a perfect 4-0 start after a 31-27 win against the San Diego Legion. Facing a 21-10 deficit in the second half, Glendale used strong defensive pressure paired with timely stops to swing the momentum of the match. Down three with under 10 minutes to play, Raptors’ flanker Zach Fenoglio finished off a sequence of phase play with a try and the ensuing conversion proved to be enough for Glendale.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Columbus Lions stunned the Carolina Cobras 55-54 when Columbus quarterback Mason Espinosa found Durron Neal for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired then kicker Lindsey Wolfe made the extra point for the win.

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – The Rochester Knighthawks edged the Georgia Swarm 9-8 in the Eastern Division final while the Saskatchewan Rush knocked off the Calgary Roughnecks in the West final.  Rochester and Saskatchewan will faceoff for the NLL title with Game 1 at Saskatchewan on May 26th.

National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) – Added the Minnesota Whitecaps to the league as their fifth team joining Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and Metropolitan in 2018-2019.  The Whitecaps were already an independent team which started in 2004 and played in the short-lived Western Women’s Hockey League in 2010-2011.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The Orlando Pride (3-2-3, 12 points) earned a 2-1 win over Portland Thorns FC on Saturday afternoon, defeating the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions in front of over 17,000 fans at Providence Park. The match not only marked the Pride’s first win over Portland in Club history, but extended the team’s unbeaten streak to five straight games. Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Christine Nairn got on the score sheet for the Pride, both putting in their first goals of the 2018 season.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Los Angeles Sparks and defending champion Minnesota Lynx will tip-off the league’s 21st season on May 20th.  The league will again have 12 teams with the only relocation being the Las Vegas Aces which moved from San Antonio.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

career

When I was a child, adults would often ask me this question. Now that I am in my 50s I am not asked that question anymore. Now that would be a little creepy wouldn’t it?  When this blog is posted, I will be on my way to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This brings back memories of when I would answer that question that I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. I never quite made it there. Honestly I STILL don’t know what I want to be and now  that I’m all grown up – or am I?

I grew up during the Apollo Moon missions in the late 1960s and 1970s. I was glued to the television for the launch, moon landings and splashdowns of every Apollo mission. I was fascinated by the space stuff. I remember that I had to have Tang instant drink because that’s what the astronauts drank. I went crazy when Tang included a toy model of the lunar rover on the package. My mother used to tell me that if I wanted to become an astronaut that I would have to ride the Scream Machine rollercoaster at Six Flags over Georgia. At the time, it was the highest rollercoaster there. I did eventually ride the Scream Machine but it never furthered my career path to becoming an astronaut.

When I look back, I can see that I have taken many twists and turns along life’s journey. So the answer of what I wanted to be when I grew up has changed many, many times over the years.

As my excitement over being an astronaut faded, I later wanted to be a professional football player. That lasted until I tried to play and came to the painful reality that my body would never match my desire to do it. I later thought I would make a career of the military when I joined the Air Force. The job I signed up for was to be a bomb loader which I thought sounded cool and exciting but when I entered active duty I was told that job was no longer reserved for me and I had to pick another career field. I had maybe five minutes to choose another career field or get out of the Air Force. I didn’t have much to choose from in the list. The choices were security police, fireman, cook or administrative specialist. I would like to say I had a profound reason for choosing admin specialist but honestly it was because they had the shortest technical school.

Let me be honest, being an admin specialist was BORING. I hated it. It was nothing more than being a secretary at times. Fortunately, the admin career field had many other options. One was working in the post office. I volunteered for a remote assignment in Thule, Greenland to get into postal work with the idea that I might transition that to working for the postal service when I got out of the military.  After working in the post office, I know now why people “go postal”. Working in a post office for one year settled it for me. I didn’t want to be a postal worker when I grew up either.

When I came back to the states I was assigned to a mobility unit in Georgia as an admin specialist again. I had no idea what a mobility unit was until I went to training and spent a week digging fix holes and running through the woods. I was in the Air Force version of the Army. Although I liked the people I worked with, I hated being an admin specialist. One day I saw and ad in the base bulletin for a special duty assignment with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). They were the FBI of the Air Force. I volunteered and spent the final years of my Air Force time with that agency. I got to do a lot of cool things and worked with a bunch of good people. Some asked if I was going to become an agent but honestly I never considered it. It wasn’t something I thought I wanted to do. During the time with the AFOSI, our office worked with one of the Assistant United States Attorneys from the local office. She was pretty awesome and I had a lot of respect for her and the work that she did. I was impressed. So much so that I wanted to work in her office.

it took a while before I made it there. When I left active duty, there were no openings in that office. I ended up working with a private investigative agency in Atlanta. I was given a private investigators license and given assignments. Let me assure you it was NOTHING like it was on TV. I was terrible in following people. Surveillance was boring and being a process server was not a fun experience. Did you know that no one is happy to be served with a subpoena? I once drove to Zebulon, Georgia to serve a subpoena. I knocked on the door and when I had confirmed I had the right person, I handed the subpoena and then heard the recipient ask his daughter to go get his gun. That was probably the point when I was ready to move onto something else.

Fortunately, I got the chance to work with them U.S. Attorney’s Office even if I was back in an administrative job again as a legal assistant. Yeah, I still hated it and was constantly looking for a move to something else. I thought maybe a move to a paralegal position would be it. I studied and took some paralegal assignments but when I attended my first paralegal training, that fizzled rather quickly along with the blue book and sherpardizing or whatever they called it. I called it snoozeville. Not for me. So I continued as a legal assistant.

Something unexpected happened while I was working as a legal assistant, I found a job with the local newspaper and started working part-time in the sports department.  I would eventually become a part-time sports writer which I truly enjoyed doing.  I would have to say that of all my jobs, the sport writing was the job I enjoyed the most.  I attempted to go full-time but those doing the hiring didn’t think I was ready.  That hurt me but I pressed on.  This is probably why most of my blog entries are about sports-related topics.

I was still stuck in the legal assistant job during the day.  I eventually found my opening when I would help our IT person with various projects.  I also assisted the attorney’s with graphics they could use in trial.  This eventually led me to become a computer specialist.  This was better suited for me that being a legal assistant.  As technology progressed, there came a need for a litigation technology specialist who could help the attorney’s with graphics, document management and trial presentations.  That’s where I am today.  It has been a career field that fit me.  It has been challenging and exciting.  I have been involved in many high-profile trials in the offices where I have worked.

I have also stayed involved with writing.  The part-time job as a sports writer lit some sort of fuse inside of me.  I have had the opportunity to have articles published in magazines as well as self-publishing some novels.  Sure, I would love to be a full-time PAID writer but so do millions of other writers.

So when you ask me what I want to be when I grow up?  What do I say?  So far it has been:

  • Astronaut
  • Professional Football Player
  • Bomb Loader
  • Administrative Specialist
  • Private Investigator
  • Legal Assistant
  • Paralegal
  • Computer Specialist
  • Sportswriter
  • Litigation Technology Specialist
  • Writer
  • ?

My life has taken some interesting twists and turns along the way.  As I was growing up many people assumed that I would become a preacher since my father and grandfather were also preachers.  I can assure you that I never desired that path.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that calling, it was just never my calling.

So what do I want to be when I grow up?  Today I am exactly two years from being eligible to retire from my current job.  Check back with me then and we will see what’s next on the list.

Cairo Hell Hounds Win First Egyptian Bowl title

Yes, believe it or not they do play American-style football in Egypt.  That’s right.  The country with the Pyramids.  They actually played Egypt’s version of the Super Bowl this weekend:

Egypt
Cairo Hell Hounds Claim First Egyptian Bowl Title

 

Cairo Hell Hounds 12, Cairo Wolves 0

The Hell Hounds capped an undefeated season by shutting out the Wolves 12-0 to capture Egyptian Bowl IV, earning their first Egyptian National Football League title.

With the win, the Hounds broke the three-year title stranglehold of the GUC Eagles. The Hell Hounds beat the Eagles once during the regular season and again in the playoffs to reach the final.

The Hell Hounds entered the game riding a season-long unbeaten streak but faced a much tougher Wolves team than expected. The Hell Hounds were led by quarterback Matthew Kershey who threw two touchdown passes to Abdelraouf Hassan while the defense kept the Wolves off the scoreboard.

Kershey is a veteran of International American Football finishing his sixth season overseas.  His first season was with the Kraljevo Royal Crowns in Serbia’s first division in 2013.  He has also played in Russia, Germany, France and Poland.  He played in 2017 for the Moscow Bruins.  Kershey is originally from Pennsylvania and a graduate of Lackawanna Junior College and Westmoreland College.

Final Standings:

  • East
    • MSA Tigers (3-2-0)
    • Cairo Wolves (3-2-0)
    • Cairo Warriors (1-4-0)
    • Gezira Thunder (0-5-0)
  • West
    • Cairo Hell Hounds (5-0-0)
    • GUC Eagles (4-1-0)
    • Cairo Bears (3-2-0)
    • AUC Titans (1-4-0)
  • Playoffs:
    • Cairo Hell Hounds 14, GUC Eagles 10
    • Cairo Wolves 27, MSA Tigers 6

The Egyptian Federation of American Football (EFAF) is the governing body of the sport of American Football in Egypt, sponsored by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The Egyptian Federation of American football (EFAF) owns and operates American Football Leagues in Egypt; tackle and flag, including players, coaches, officials and administrators.

Since being founded in 2014, EFAF has firmly planted itself on solid ground. It started the Egyptian National Football League (ENFL): an organized men’s league with three successfully concluded seasons. EFAF also collaborated with American Football without Barriers (AFWB), the non-profit spearheaded by Gary Barnidge of the Cleveland Browns and Breno Giacomini of the New York Jets – at the time – to organize a four-day camp with professional football players in Egypt that included a coaching clinic as well as players’ camps for juniors as well as more advanced players.

EFAF also organized the first ever international club-level match between the Cairo Wolves and the Amman Barracudas (Jordan) in early 2016 at the Olympic Stadium in Maadi, which the Cairo Wolves won 40-20. And to continue its series of achievements, EFAF successfully organized the first ever flag football league for women in Africa and the Middle East, the Egyptian Flag Football League (EFFL) which had about 100 participating athletes in three teams.

EFAF has also succeeded in drawing several professional American coaches, leading to 4 out of the league’s 6 men’s teams having American coaches in the 2016 season. The 2016/2017 ENFL season also saw the appearance of import players on the American football scene: Foreign players who come to Egypt to play football under contract. Three teams had import players in the 2017 season. EFAF has been organizing officiating courses to increase the pool of local talent that is able to understand and apply the rules of the sport.

EFAF is currently composed of 8 affiliated teams, with more than 800 registered members. EFAF is a socially responsible organization seeking the expansion, popularization, and development of American Football in Egypt.

Mother’s Day For The Rest Of Us

As I prepare myself to see all the loving tributes to mothers today, it is a painful day for me and it always will be in some way. My mother passed away in December 2015. Things did not end well for us. I deal with it the best I can and take comfort that she no longer has to experience any of the pain she had.

The transition of going from a child to a man was difficult for our mother-son relationship. Sometimes it’s hard for a mother to accept it when another woman comes into her son’s life. I am sure that was at the core of a lot of our issues.

I had to make some difficult decisions both good and bad which put a lot of strain on our relationship. I won’t lie. It was very difficult. I’m a lot like my mother in that I won’t just let things go and I am a fixer. I want to fix things. This created more problems than it helped. There were many times of strife and separation between us. Even with all of the differences and periods of silence at least she was always the one who would make an effort at some point to reconcile. We would often find ourselves back to the place of starting over again. Unfortunately, something would happen to bring us back to the same place of separation once more. We were never able to sustain any consistency in our relationship.

It’s easy in a strained relationship to see the negative. I was not always good at looking past the negative. That has been a difficult lesson for me.

In remembering the good things – my mom had a awesome sense of humor. She always found humor in any situation. I definitely see that part of her in me. We had a lot of funny moments together. My mom loved going to garage sales, yard sales and any rummage sale she would definitely brake for. One time we went to a yard sale and suddenly a dust devil touched down and took a flimsy card table several feet into the air tossing everything on it into every direction. We laughed for a long time about that one.

I treasure the good times. That’s what I hold on to now. Yes, there were some ugly times but I choose to remember the good – especially today. Do I have regrets? Absolutely. I’m sure we all have them but you take the good with the bad. When it’s too tempting to focus on the bad you push that away and cherish the good times. That’s the way I deal with it.

I have thought a lot about my mom since her passing. I relive things in a different way and try to look at them from her perspective. Her life was affected a lot by physical pain. She had some awful episodes with migraine headaches. She also had many other ailments which I am sure made life difficult for her. In addition to the physical pain she also had to endure the harsh life as a preacher’s wife. People are cruel and judgmental in the church. Perhaps the thing that really dealt her the most difficult blow of all was when her father passed away in 1989. I don’t think she ever recovered from that and life was never the same for her. She was indeed a daddy’s girl and she missed him terribly. I don’t fully know all the details of what she went through in the years after that. I’m sure that pain contributed to the strain of our relationship too.

I believe in heaven and I believe she is there. I take comfort and knowing she’s no longer in any pain and she’s right where she has wanted to be. She’s reunited with my Pa-Pa. I hope one day I will be reunited with her and the past problems we have will fade away.

I wish things had been different between us – especially in her final days. Most of my family sees only one side of the situation and have made up their minds without walking in my shoes. That’s fine. I deal with it. I don’t waste my time fretting over what they think. I have heard the saying that there is always three sides to a story – my side, your side and the truth. They haven’t walked a day in my shoes so they don’t know what they think they know.

Sure I have regrets. If you have a good relationship with your mother I am happy for you. Hold onto it. Do want you can to work through the difficult parts. If you are forced to make decisions to set boundaries – keep them. Don’t flip flop about it and don’t wimp out. If you’re a man, be a man. Not a mommas boy. If you find yourself in a strained relationship suck it up and deal with it. Life isn’t always fair. Not everyone is going to have the Hallmark Card relationship with their mothers. You just do the best that you can.

It may have ended tragically for me but I live my life hoping that I will be the son she could be proud of. That is how I honor her on this day.

Smashed-ville

After 95 games the season is over. Nashville’s Game 7 loss to the Winnipeg Jets ended a season of high expectations for the Predators who came within two games last year of winning the National Hockey League’s ultimate prize.

Yes, I know they won the President’s Trophy for having the best regular season in the NHL this season but you aren’t going to see anyone skating around with that one in the air or chanting that “We’re Regular Season Champs”. Do we at least get a plate or a saucer since we didn’t win the Cup?

Bottom line. This really stinks. I won’t lie about it.

Anyone that knows me knows I am not a bandwagon fan. Heck, I have been an Atlanta Falcons’ fan forever. That alone should tell you something about my allegiance to my teams and my familiarity with being disappointed.

To me, the season means nothing without the championship. It really sticks me that the Predators got the home ice advantage and blew it. It was nothing special playing at home. That just boggles my mind. I don’t care what celebrity you ushered in their to sing the National Anthem or how many of those stupid catfish fans throw on the ice to redneck things up.

There is a lot of blame to go around for this colossal collapse to the expectations for this team.

Pekka Rinne said that he let the whole team down. I’m not going to sugar coat it – he’s right. But he’s not the only one. The defense had breakdowns at the most crucial times throughout the season. P.K. Subban was another source of frustration. Mike Fisher came out of retirement for what? Kyle Turris never turned into the offensive giant he had been in Ottawa. A total bust for getting pucks in the net. And what happened with Kevin Fiala? Sure, he got the overtime game winner in the only home win in the series but we needed him to be a goal scorer which he really didn’t become.

Yes, I have stewed on this for the past two days.

Something needs to be done about the goalkeeping. I know everyone loves Rinne and I want him to do well too but it’s time to change. Mike Fisher should go back to retirement. Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala should be traded. Eelin Tolvanen needs to be in the lineup. I really don’t know what to do with P.K. Subban.

The Predators won’t win the Cup with this team. I watched every game and I’m telling you that they never made it easy. It is bad when your team has a 3-0 lead and you know it won’t be enough.

Maybe at some point I will appreciate this past season. It is going to take me a while. I can tell you that I’m nowhere close yet.

Yes I’m mad and pissed off about it.

I know those fans who like to live in La-La Land and refuse to listen to anything negative about their team. I’m sorry to to bring them back into reality but there is a lot of negative here to deal with but that doesn’t mean I won’t “Stand with Us” or any of that other rah rah stuff.

I don’t care who wins the Cup now. I’m not one of those fans who roots for the team that eliminated us because of some twisted allegiance in thinking that because the Winnipeg Jets beat us that if they win the Cup it will mean they had to beat us to do it. That’s stupid. I want Winnipeg to get blown away. I want them to feel the pain of getting so close and not win it.

My wife made some very sharp observations about the Predators in this years’ playoffs. She didn’t think they were trying and that something was just off with them. I think she was right. The Predators weren’t having fun like they were last year when no one expected them to do what they did. They were not able to handle the weight of the expectations.

This one hurt. It’s going to take me a while to recover. Yeah, I know it’s just sports but I can’t convince the bitter feeling in the pit of my stomach right now.

I am all too familiar with my teams losing. I’m used to it. Remember I said I have been a Falcons fan? The pain of disappointment is nothing new but you never get good at dealing with it.

I am smashed.

Friday Flashback: 1993-1994 Florida Panthers

John-Vanbiesbrouck-panthersBefore the Vegas Golden Knights hit the ice for their first season in the National Hockey League (NHL), the 1993-1994 Florida Panthers had the best start in the NHL.   The Panthers entered the NHL when Blockbuster Video giant Wayne Huizenga was awarded a franchise for Miami in 1992.   In the 1993 expansion draft, Florida took former Vezina winning goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck with the top pick. He went on to post a solid 2.53 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in the Panthers’ first season.

Their first-year success has been largely thought by hockey experts to the trap defense that Panthers’ coach Roger Neilson used which is a defensive strategy to prevent an opposing team from proceeding through the neutral zone to force turnovers.

The Panthers played their first game on October 6, 1993 which was a 4-4 tie to the Chicago Blackhawks.  Scott Mellanby scored the first goal for the Panthers and went on to tally 30 goals to lead the team in their maiden season.  The Panthers got their first win on October 9th as Vanbiesbrouck made 36 saves in a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Panthers had a chance to make the playoffs in their first season; however, they faded into an 8-game winless streak at the end of the season and was eliminated from the playoffs when the New York Islanders grabbed the last slot.  The Panthers finished with a record of 33-34-17 for 83 points which, at the time, was an NHL record for points by an expansion team.  They missed the playoffs by one point.  Oddly enough, one single point in the standing kept them out of the playoffs again the next season.

After narrowly missing the playoffs in their first two seasons of existence, the Panthers finally broke threw in a big way as they made it to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals against the Colorado Avalanche.  They were swept by the Avalanche in four games.  They have not won a playoff series since that season.

The Florida Panthers had the best start of any NHL expansion team until this season when the Vegas Golden Knights took the ice for the first time.  The Golden Knights have exceeded what the Panthers had accomplished and currently preparing to play in the Western Conference final in their first season.

Best NHL Expansion teams:

  1. Vegas Golden Knights (2017-2018)
  2. Florida Panthers (1993-1994)
  3. Philadelphia Flyers (1967-68)
  4. Anaheim Ducks (1993-1994)
  5. Columbus Bluejackets (2000-2001)
  6. Nashville Predators (1998-1999)
  7. Hartford Whalers (1979-1980)
  8. Minnesota Wild (2000-2001)