You can forgive the Florida Panthers for feeling a tad gloaty this week. After all, they hadn't won a Division title in 18 years (i.e., ever), and they hadn't earned a playoff spot in 12. More than that, there were few who thought they were going to do either of those things this year, and then they went out and did them both.
Monday, the Panthers devoted this video to the experts who said they would finish last in the Southeast.
I can't hear this song without imagining the cast of Freaks and Geeks on photo day.
For what it's worth, the unattributed quotes all come from George Richards of the Miami Herald and Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel, the Panthers' two beat writers. Take that, only people kind enough to cover us!
You can see why Richards and Fialkov might have been skeptical, even now. The Panthers' Division title bid was helped by the fact that the two teams projected to compete for the Southeast title completely crapped the bed.
And it definitely doesn't reflect well that Florida's minus-24 goal differential is three times worse than the only other playoff team on the wrong side of the statistic: their divisional rivals in Washington. Furthermore, despite contending most of the year, the Panthers backed into the playoffs, with only one regulation win in their last 10 games.
But still, let this be a lesson to you. Believe red, or the Panthers' marketing team will make you bleed it (emotionally).