Stephen Weiss has waited longer than any other active NHL player to make the playoffs and now that dream has become a reality as the Florida Panthers on Thursday secured their first playoff berth since 2000.
The Panthers were currently living through the worst playoff drought in major North American sports and despite a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals where were still able to earn a spot in the eight-team field for the Eastern Conference.
Speaking at a post-game press conference Weiss revealed:
”It’s been a long 10 years. ‘You wonder if you’re doing the right thing. At the end of the day, it was worth staying.”
Weiss was drafted as the No. 4 pick for the Florida Panthers in 2001 and played the last 11 years without the chance to compete in the NHL playoffs.
The playoff spot came about after the Buffalo Sabres loss 2-1 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Speaking of his teams long journey Alex Ovechkin added:
”This year it was kind of a struggling season. Nobody knows who’s going to be in playoffs, us or Buffalo. Buffalo was fighting a lot and today when we see the score sheet — Philly help us a lot and give us a break.”
In an amazing feat of playoff dreams trumps, only six professional teams have ever had worse playoff elimination streaks:
Buffalo Bills (NFL), Baltimore Orioles (MLB), Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), Kansas City Royals (MLB), Washington Nationals (MLB) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB).
The Florida Panthers will now look to turn around their gameplay which has included droppign five straight games and eight of their last nine.