The Panthers have been a hot topic since inadvertently highlighting an aspect of NHL rules on Tuesday evening which seemingly weren't very black and white: that of who can and who cannot play in the absence of a healthy netminder during a game. While this is likely to be clarified at the next General Manager meetings, the damage was done for Florida in a 3-2 regulation loss at home to Toronto (a team which had yet to win on the road in calendar year 2015).
While we fans remain in a holding pattern regarding the dual fates of Roberto Luongo (undergoing further testing on a shot taken near the throat as best I could see on the Mighty 46-incher) and backup Al Montoya (the word "weeks" is being bandied about in several areas but by no means official as yet), veteran Dan Ellis has been recalled along with Florida goaltending prospect Sam Brittain, currently 5th in the line of succession behind Lu, Monty, Ellis and Michael Houser.
Ellis has already been announced as the starter in Thursday's game when the Panthers host the Dallas Stars, a club undoubtedly holding a grudge toward Florida after that little Tyler Seguin dustup of a few weeks back. Who will be in the backup role? As of late Wednesday night, odds are on Brittain. Not many options remain, since Florida management isn't about to remove Houser from the San Antonio mix with a playoff run in full effect.
Back to the "who can play and who can't" issue during an emergency in net such as we saw Tuesday: there were many facts, many theories, and even more assumptions flying along the byways of the internet throughout the afternoon. Confusion was the order of the day, understandably. As it stands now, TSN's Kerry Fraser - a longtime NHL referee turned columnist - seems to have a solid handle on the situation:
Luongo exited the game after the period and left the arena to get a CT scan at Cleveland Clinic in Weston. When he heard backup Al Montoya got injured trying to make a save early in the third, Luongo raced back to BB&T Center and eventually returned to the game with nine minutes left.
Fully dressed, I'll add in humble fashion.
Welcome to South Florida, Avengers of Seguin.