Panthers back into playoffs


The 2020-21 season was the first full season for a Panthers GM in the EHE league and the team's performance was their best ever. The team finished 2nd in the Atlantic Division and 5th in the league with record of 52-24-6. The Panthers will play in the first round against the Sabres. We called manager Shean Gardiner and asked him a few questions.

- Guten Morgen, Was kann ich für Sie tun? - Shean answered in his native German.

- Hi Shean. I know we agreed to do the interview after the season is over, but our editor has asked us to do a short piece now.
- Yeah, I'm having a real problem with time. Let's make it quick.

- Of course. First of all, I'd like to congratulate the team for making the playoffs. And you did it pretty confidently - you've guaranteed your participation in a few rounds before the end of the regular season. How do you evaluate this part of the season?
- We'll sum it all up later. We've only taken the first step towards our goal so far.

- Still, many would say this is the best season for the Panthers in the league. How did you manage to achieve such a result so quickly?
- A hockey team is a complex mechanism in which every, absolutely every detail is important. It is impossible to answer that question right away.

- Perhaps the acquisition of Tavares played a major role?
- John is a great guy and he's a leader both on the ice and in the locker room. He has definitely made us a stronger.

- The Panthers have been involved in a few more trades over the course of the season. Let's talk a little bit about that.
- No no no. Let's talk about that after the season is over. I promise you an exclusive interview(laughing).

- Ok, deal. Then a few words about the playoffs. In the first round you will play against Sabres. What do you think about your opponent?
- The team finished 7th in the league. What else is there to say. It's a great team. And all the leaders of the team are quite young, the team not only has a great present, but I'm sure a terrific future.

- Speaking of youth. Won't that affect the playoffs? In those games it's very common for experienced players to take over the key position.
- In spite of the fact that our team's average age is greater, our guys haven't played much in the playoffs, to put it mildly, so our chances are equal here. And there`s probably no point to talk about experience when you have young guys like Matthews, Connor, Tkachuk, Dubois...

- By the way, how do you plan to play against Mathews and Connor - the first and third scorers of the regular season?
- I'm sure Todd(McLellan) will surely come up with something, although it will be really hard.

- You have played 4 times against Sabres this year and won three times, does that add to your confidence?
- To my great regret it makes no difference. Playoff matches are a completely different competition. And all of our matches have been evenly matched.
- Yes, 2 of 4 ended with a difference of 1 goal and in another one a goal was scored in an empty net.
- That's what I'm talking about. I'm sure it will be a very tough series for both teams.

- Thank you for taking a few minutes and good luck!
- May the strongest win!