Hello DailyFaceoff followers, let me take this moment to introduce myself for…well…myself. My name is Patrick Minor and I am going to be your resident Florida Panthers writer. Currently I am student finishing up college in the state of New Jersey but, my roots lie in “suburbs” of Miami, Florida. As for my hockey experience, while it is not as extensive as others, it is equally as personal. As a kid I played street hockey out front of South Miami Senior High and pick-up games at the local “Y” (when my older brother would let me play). Admittedly though, I did not find a connection to the NHL, and the sports world, until I came in contact with the rabid fans of the tri-state area. Now I find myself equally as hungry for wins, although in New Jersey I am one of the few who is hungry for Cat…? Well, Cat…wins…
Okay, well I hope this can be a place where everyone (Panthers fan or not) can get a little insight, argue, and toss in their two cents (well, maybe try and make sure its worth a little more first…). Ultimately, I want this to be place to have fun because I am a fan, too.
So a day after Coach DeBoer referenced a Bill Murray movie to describe the boys of South Florida’s repetitive inability to close down games, the Panthers found a way to lose again. In the fantasy world players get shut out all the time – in the NHL…it actually happens all the time. In fact, there were four other teams that wore the red badge of shutout this past Wednesday, including the league leading Washington Capitals. While all of these teams, with exception of San Jose, were able to come back with a win – only the Cats skated past Marty Brodeur’s record in their following game. Although the Panthers followed the win with a 2-3 overtime loss in the following game, DeBoer walked away with a new way of describing the battered and constantly changing Florida lines, gritty.
The recent injuries to Gregory Campbell and Dominic Moore (although Moore seems to be back for Monday’s battle at the Islanders) have forced young call-ups Shawn Matthias and Michal Repik to step up and find a place on this team. Repik (9 and 9 with AHL of Rochester) seems like he could make a difference once he gets his “NHL legs” and Matthias was not leaving Saturday’s game unless it was in a body bag – which is the definition of grit. With Moore’s return we will have to see who can keep their place. Meanwhile, Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss seem like they are set on moving Rob Niedermayer out of 5th place on the Panther’s all-time list in assists.
So with another 4 games in week 11, the Panthers have a real chance to not only secure some wins, but provide a nice boost to any struggling fantasy team.
The Usual Suspects –
Stephen Weiss C (49% owned in yahoo leagues) – Since sharp shooter David Booth took a nap…Weiss has been fed (the puck) more than a fat kid at a buffet. Despite blanking on his first 3 games of the season Weiss has been on a tear and quickly proven himself by racking up 27 points in 33 games. Not to mention 6 goals and 2 assists in his last 7. Further, take into account that ten of the points this season have come in the last five minutes picking him up will give you some real opportunity to steal the GWG category for the week (once the opportunity comes around for the Panthers).
Steve Reinprecht C (21% owned in yahoo leagues) – If Weiss is the young gun, than Orange Rein’s is your “Huckleberry”. While it seems to be a case of feast or famine he only recently had a 4 game blank after not been held from the score sheet longer than two games all season. This may appear to be a paltry stat but given this role player’s importance with so many young players on the lines – he is going to have plenty of responsibility.
Dmitry Kulikov D (2% owned in yahoo leagues) – Who? Well here is the rookie that Cat fans are…well…expecting more from. Coach DeBoer has already given him plenty of praise and it might be only a matter of time until his 50 minor league assists find there way across the blue line and into the NHL. Then we can let him into our teams and…our hearts. Keep him on your watch list and in keeper leagues expect big things from this future Jay Bouwmeester.
I will save Horton, Matthias, and Repik for a little longer report next time…Go Cat’s!