3-0 lead heading into the third period. Almost a lock for 2 points in the standings. Instead Phoenix pulled the rug out form under this team and left Sunrise, FL with a 4-3 shoot out victory. I usually give a game recap but I’m not going to do that. The Panthers were leading 3-0 heading into final period and they found a way to lose. If this team was as creative with their play on the ice as they are with their ways of losing, they’d be in the playoffs.
I get the “let’s tear it down and rebuild” direction this team is taking, but honestly how much is it really helping this team when Pete DeBoer is still publicly stating that the goal is to win games? I know that’s his job and I know that may be what the fans and ownership want to hear, but how is that helping this team when this season is lost? This team is not making the playoffs.
A few ideas:
1. How about giving Keaton Ellerby, Jason Garrison, and Dmitry Kulikov more time on the ice? Running Bryan McCabe, Keith Ballard and Byran Allen into the ground is accomplishing nothing. Let’s see what the young kids can do with regular minutes. Playing Ellerby under a minute per game is a waste of a player on your bench.
2. Play Shawn Matthias with top line talent. Let’s see how he runs with the likes of David Booth or Nathan Horton. Matthias, Horton and Byron Bitz are the biggest forwards on the team. I want to know if Matthias can use his size AND skill with top wingers.
3. Do something with the power play. Anything. Fire the coach, use 4 forwards and 1 defenseman, use 5 forwards, hell, decline the power play time all together. The reality is this team looks like a bunch of pick-up gamers instead of NHLers on the power play.
4. Give Scott Clemmensen more playing time. Tomas Vokoun is the best trade chip we have. For all intents and purposes he’ll more than likely be moved during the off season (probably at the draft since the Panthers love to make headlines off the ice instead of on it). Clemmensen is signed for the next 2 seasons. Lets see what kind of player he is by giving him more games. More consecutive games. Practice is practice but it dulls in comparison to a real game. How can we expect him to play once every month and a half and be sharp? We need to see what type of player he is heading into next season.
5. Does anyone besides me think that this is a horrible passing team? I mean really bad. Stephen Weiss and McCabe can move the puck around but since the Olympic break I’ve seen more pucks get caught up in skates or off the mark than I can remember with this team. Work on the “basics” of hockey. Passing needs to get better.
Look, I’m just a fan, and I can only call it as I see it. I’m sure ownership/coaches opinions are leaps and bounds different from mine, but I don’t understand how Randy Sexton, putting the ball in motion to revamp this team, and Pete DeBoer not truly exploring what this team’s assets are, can help turn things around for next season. We know the players that have been around for a few years and what we’re going to get production wise out of them. I think it’s evident who needs to go and who we can build around. But for the rest of team; rookies, second year players, lets find out what we got.
And you know what, if that makes our record worse for the remainder of the season, so be it. Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin or Vladimir Tarasenko would all look great in a Panthers sweater for years to come. Speaking of Panthers sweaters, thanks Emily.
About the Author
Written by Jack Powell
My name is Jack Powell. I'm 26 and work for a civil contracting company in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I've been a Panther fan since the team was formed in 1993 and don't ever plan on not being one. Looking forward to see what new Panther GM Dale Tallon is going to do to rebuild this franchise and make us a Cup contender!!