Think back to the 2008-09 season for a second. Jacques Martin had thankfully given up his coaching duties to Pete DeBoer, and everything was looking good in Pantherland. The team was close to a playoff berth, and finally reviving a fan base. Throw in a horrible month of March, and the Cats miss the playoffs by a tiebreaker, and JM bolts for greener pastures in Montreal, leaving Randy Sexton to clean up the mess. So… after seeing what we have just seen the Panthers
do, I wonder what would the team look like if we had actually made the playoffs in that season.
For a start… JM may not have bolted to Montreal. If he hadn’t, well many of the players all of us diehards loathe from the Keenan and Martin eras may still be wearing Panthers sweaters now, and we’re left to deal with their ridiculous contracts and the fact that they don’t give 100% (here’s lookin’ at you Rusty). Pete DeBoer and Jim Hulton may still be here, in favor of a better coach like… Kevin Dineen: who would probably become the coach for Minnesota or Ottawa. And Dale Tallon… the best GM in the history of everything, would not be in South Florida. He’d be taking another team from the doldrums and making them awesome. Would you want all of the progress we have made since Martin left to be washed away for a playoff berth?
I know it sounds bad because we haven’t made the playoffs in 11 years, but for a 4 or 5 game romp by Boston over us would not have saved the fact that the team would not look the way it does now. It just wouldn’t have been worth it. We were all heartbroken that we missed the playoffs that year, but now, I gladly rejoice in the fact we missed them.
It’s a very scary thought looking back on it now. I’d rather go down the path we went down because we missed the playoffs than the really scary one we would have gone down if we made them. Would you?