Lots of juicy stuff from Steve Gorten at the Sun-Sentinel today, but of all the tidbits presented, I'm going with the ascension of Rostislav Olesz to the second line as "bigger" than goaltender Scott Clemmensen's first start with his new club.
|2009 - Rostislav Olesz||5||1||0||1||-3||0||0||0||0||0||15||6.7|
"He's in better shape [than last year], he's faster, he's more aggressive, he's stronger on the puck. Again, it's only five games, so you don't want to get too overexcited about a guy. But I think we're starting to see what he's capable of."
- Panthers coach Peter DeBoer on Olesz
Can't say I recall ever hearing any of those words in a description of Rusty's play. As Gorten mentioned, Olesz leads the club with 15 shots (averaging three per game). So often in years past at this point in the season he would have already played himself off the first three lines or battling nagging injuries. I'm curious to see how he responds with Steven Reinprecht and Michael Frolik; it's an opportunity he should hang onto with a kung-fu grip, this being his Big Moment for 2009-10. We know he gives his all, tries hard, shows up, etc, etc. But it's been similar to a curse for the kid: he's had zippo for positive luck and never - but never - catches a break. This is his time to make fans forget the past and be the first-rounder the organization has waited five seasons to see blossom. Frolik-style numbers year after year should be the norm.
Meanwhile, DeBoer needs a scapegoat, and for the moment it's Cory Stillman, who's been bumped to the third line with Greg Campbell and Radek Dvorak