Fifty-five shots against? Panthers had better think long and hard about that number

Several hours after the first game of the 2009-10 campaign for both Chicago and Florida, it occured to me that the Cats allowed 55 shots on goal. Fifty-five. In their season opener. On multinational television.

Fifty-five. That drags out to a mind-numbingly ridiculous average of 4,510 shots over the 82-game schedule. God bless Tomas Vokoun and newly-minted victim netminder Scott Clemmensen. The only defense they're likely to see at this pace may have to come from this guy on the History Channel (whom I actually enjoy quite a bit).

T-Vo and Clemmy had better be bionic or Jedi Masters or perhaps superior to those...'cuz the Cats aren't going to win many games - hell, they won't be remotely competitive - giving up that type of number night after night.

We're talking a starting pitcher in MLB going ten innings every three nights. Ain't happening.

I'm not at all attempting to rain on a well-deserved victory parade: far from it. But the Panthers have a nasty tendency to allow far too many shots, year after year. Imagine Tomas Vokoun's numbers if he hadn't faced an average of 2,034 shots over the past two seasons. Or Roberto Luongo before him.

What's it going to take for this club to throw away that portion of the team's past? Is it that difficult? We're not talking a Detroit-style offense, who can afford to leave their own zone from time to time.

Ingrained in the organization? Or a mental thing among the players?