I think I hate the Florida Panthers.
It isn’t just their sissy flying cat logo anymore. It used to be that the average fan had no time to hate Florida because they were perfectly awful and boring. But this new Florida team is good and Ottawa got a new look at them in tonight’s hard-fought 5-4 overtime win.
It isn’t the fact that they’ve suddenly gotten good either that makes the flames of rivalry start to fan. No, it was the ugly, unforgivable Ellerby-Foligno incident, which makes me wonder if Foligno now has a target on his back from NHL refs, or if the refs for this game had timeshares in Florida. A 5 minute charging penalty and a game misconduct, effectively dismissing Foligno for the night in the second period off what was clearly a legal hit aggravated by a fall. This was a simple collision and Ellerby was no worse for wear. It was the kind of incidental contact a lot of us expect to see in hockey- but it was enough for the refs.
The refs got it so wrong in this game. They called Repik’s kick in power play goal a good goal and then missed a total Italian soccer player inspired dive from Campbell late in the third on a so-called penalty from Condra. It was criminal how bad the reffing was for this game. With the league failing to call out players who tackle goaltenders, knee one another and hit between the numbers, this kind of call is ridiculous and a farce. Credibility? Hah!
Ottawa fought to win this game and that’s what makes this victory so sweet. It was a multiple player, multiple point effort. It was a back and forth game, but a much tighter one and Ottawa was good in all three zones. Great defensive play from Condra who made a goal line save in the second, great play from Alfie both defensively and offensively, and a little help from Karlsson and Neil saved this game.
Phillips came out and played an aggressive game and it was a stellar night for defense. With Regin out again due to his shoulder injury, Ottawa dressed 7 defensemen and they played a very responsible game. Anderson was more aggressive as well in the crease, coming out to challenge and playing a solid game against his former teammates. He obviously felt that he had a lot to prove.
And another good outing for the new guy- Kyle Turris picked up an assist on the game winning overtime goal, setting up Bobby Butler who needed this one to boost his confidence. This overtime goal was a redemption goal for both these young players and it couldn’t have been written any better.
The team as a whole should be proud of themselves for how they played this game and how they pulled through in the face of adversity and an unfair situation. They’ve been dealt tremendous highs and lows this season, exceeding pre-season expectations of them, dealing with injuries and trades, a new coach and having to learn quickly how to get better. The first half of the season has been marked by their energy, resilience and never give up attitude, and it has made this a very exciting team to watch, night in and night out.
I’m off for the holidays, so this is me signing off on the 2011 part of the season. Happy holidays everyone and see you all in 2012! Go Sens Go!
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.