The link between the Pens problems and Panthers problems is a far, far stretch, at best.
The short, short version of the Panthers problems....think of them as the Pirates of the NHL.
Their owner, Alan Cohen, never puts enough money into the team to make them contenders. Cohen also seems to make too many decisions based on friendship, not business (for example, Keenan's 2nd term in Florida was a friendship decision, and not a good business decision).
The Panthers main problem is a lack of star players. Because hockey is new to the area (even though it's over 10 years old), they need a few flashy superstars. The building was packed when the team had Pavel Bure. The hockey fans and hopeful new hockey fans went nuts every time he touched the puck and rushed it up ice.
Jokinen is not that type of player, and their other big name that the fans associated with, Roberto Luongo, was traded. There were way more Luongo advertisements around town than anything associated with Jokinen.
There is a true lack of a "hockey" fan base here in South Florida. I was appalled at the lack of attendence for the Pens game on January 10th. Crosby and Malkin, arguably the two best young stars in the game, and the place looked half full at best....because these aren't hardcore diehard hockey fans that "get it."
The real shame is that the Panthers have one of the nicest arenas in the NHL, but don't have a hardcore fan base to fill it.