Ladies and Gentlemen, Saturday night in Fife was not only the battle of the two oldest teams in the league but the two top teams going at it for top spot in the Elite League. Welcome to the auld barn, the Nottingham Panthers.
Well folks I managed to speak to one of the Cat’s Whiskers presenters and my good friend, Tina Taylor. Here’s how the interview went.
How do think the Panthers did last season? CHL aside it was a thoroughly frustrating season, domestically we were so disappointing and the CHL success made it so much worse, if we can beat the likes of Bern then why couldn’t we repeat that success against our EIHL rivals. It just didn’t add up.
But, there is no way on this earth I would trade the season that we had, it was a great advert for the league, I think we did ourselves proud and it showed the other teams in the CHL that they had to take us seriously. Going out to Zurich and standing at my seat just before face off, I was so proud, it was one heck of a ride!
What did you make of the league in general last year? The league is only as strong as its weakest contender and the Capitals, sadly, continued to be just that. Most teams made improvements and that cliche of ‘The league is getting better year-on-year’ seemed to apply. The Caps started well, showed some intent and made the right noises but ultimately their demise was surely inevitable!
The league challenge was a fun watch from the outside as I don’t think Panthers fans ever felt like we were truly in it.
How have the fans in Nottingham taken to not having the Capitals in the league? I think there is some emotion attached to the team no longer being in the league, Edinburgh is a fabulous city to visit and Murrayfield Rink is a real relic, it reminds the ‘old guard’ of the way things used to be! The worst part was the way it all eventually happened, they truly believed they were in a position to go for another season, would anything really have changed had they been allowed to continue playing? Probably not, they didn’t seem to have a capacity to learn from their mistakes but on a personal level I’m delighted that we won’t have to answer any more ‘How long can the Caps continue like this’ questions on the podcast!
Speaking of the podcast, how do feel the new show is going minus the Old Guard? What we’ve lost in experience we’ve gained in enthusiasm, Ant is the guy I bounce off in terms of ideas and effort, Sam and Joe are always able to make themselves available which helps when trying to get a panel together on recording nights! Aaron has had to take a back seat due to a change in job and being a new Dad but he’s taken on maintaining the website which is a big help seeing as the rest of us haven’t got a clue! (!) and Adam is the voice of reason even if he doesn’t think so, he contributes sound opinions and he keeps me sane when there’s so much going on and so much to do!
We’re still kind of finding our feet and trying to continue to put out a sound product, there will be some hiccups along the way but that’s to be expected when so much has changed!
How do think the Panthers are shaping up this year so far? New coach, lots of new faces and a different ethos and playing style, at the time of writing we’re at the top of the league and have been since gameday 2 of the season, it probably won’t last and lot depends on the ‘C’ word, not that one, I mean Christmas!
So far, when they’re playing well it’s a great team to watch and generally speaking, the feeling I get is that we’re a cautiously optimistic fan base at the moment.
What are your predictions for the year? We on the podcast did a predictions blog actually so I might encourage your readers towards that rather than repeating myself! 😉
I have already failed on one of them as I thought Cardiff might have had a shot at emulating our progress in the CHL but sadly it wasn’t to be!
What do you think of GB’S chances against the big boys? I think it’s ridiculously exciting that we’re playing in Pool A in the World Championships, were there any hotels/B&B’s/lodges/apartments left that weren’t going to cost a years wages I’d be heading over there myself! I think it’s a big ask for us to escape without being relegated back down again but as we saw with Panthers CHL campaign, if the work rate and effort is there and we get the best players fit and healthy enough to give it their all then who knows? A British team was able to cause an upset in a European competition, so why shouldn’t GB be able to display the same kind of tenacity, grit and passion? They’ll need a bit of luck along the way but what an experience it will be for them as players and for us as fans.
I would once again like to thank Tina it’s always a pleasure doing these interviews with yourself and the gang and as always best of luck with the podcast.
Feature Image: Panthers Images