Each night is like a new season for the Florida Panthers. Each game comes complete with new players, a new attitude and a new outcome. Earlier in the week it was some crazy coaching scheme called 'winning', but now the focus has shifted back to losing. Hot off a stretch where the Panthers were able to find the back of the net ten times in seven periods, the Cats have just one goal in the last two games; a goalie misplay. Meanwhile Jacob Markstrom toils away on the center stage putting up 3 consecutive starts allowing only 1 goal, though this time he'd have nothing to show for it as his team fell 3-0 to the New York Islanders.
You can never predict when and where the effort will show up. After losing an otherwise hard fought game in New Jersey, the Panthers were hopeless against a weaker team who's struggled on home ice. We can all be thankful that in this up and down stretch the Panthers haven't damaged their prized 30th standing, though a bit more consistency would be nice. For the coaches, finding a way to manage that inconsistency may cause some major headache when 2013-14 rolls around and the Panthers want another shot at being a good team.
- Jack Skille(upper body), Erik Gudbranson(illness) and Erik Selleck(concussion) would all be out for the game, meaning the Panthers would have to dip into the San Antonio barrel once again; this time bringing up Greg Rallo. What's there to say about him other than he wasn't a
Selleckdisaster, which is all you can ask for at this point in roster call ups.
- What happened to Marty Reasoner? After enjoying a career high in points at 34 years of age with Florida, he has 1 goal in 87 games with the Isles, and all of 11 points. I get why a guy would run from the Panthers and never look back, but for having been one of Florida's best at the time and likely offered an extension, it looks like he may have made the wrong choice. I sure would have taken him last year.
- Tyson Strachan is Ellerbying his way through his expiring contract. Through the first part of the season the Strachan experiment seemed to work out alright, but since trading for the superior skill of TJ Brennan; Strak isn't doing well with the new competition. Honestly, Strachan was probably meant to be nothing more than a low priced stop gap for a defense that needed a bit more size and more grit. However you need more than that to stay in the NHL, and in all likelihood he'll be back in San Antonio next fall.
- While I complain about defensemen, Dmitry Kulikov sure hasn't looked great in his return from injury. Sure you expect players to look a bit rusty when they return, but Kuli looks as if he missed an entire season.
- Something the Panthers will need to work on for next year is positioning, which pretty much led directly to the Islanders first goal. Positioning isn't something that will be magically fixed when players return from injury.
- With all of the injuries lately, I'm surprised opposing players will go anywhere near the boards with Panthers trailing behind them.
- Maybe when one is hanging in your closet it looks terrible, but in action the Islanders black 3rd jersey isn't that bad.
- Is it time to break up the kid line? A month ago the answer would be a resounding no, but anymore the scoring from that line has gone dry. Unfortunately the problem with shuffling those players into other lines is that Jonathan Huberdeau is going to get screwed. Shore would fit well on the third line as a winger with Shawn Matthias and Scottie Upshall and Peter Mueller is suitable for first line minutes, but Huberdeau would be stuck on the second with less skilled linemates and little chemistry with them.
- Casey Cizikas is the next Cal Clutterbuck.
- I'll give the Panthers credit, they sure know how to drag out their inevitable losses.
- Find Islanders recappery at Lighthouse Hockey.
Tuesday the Cats head up to the Air Canada Center in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs for the second time this season, first on the road. Earlier in the year the Cats were shut out by some guy named Ben Scrivens, and at that point it seemed the Panthers were destined to miss the playoffs. Will the Cats get their revenge? Probably not, but we'll be here anyway. Cats at Leafs, 7pm.