In order for the Florida Panthers to have any success this season, they are going to have to get superb goaltending from both Tomas Vokoun and Scott Clemmensen. Offense wins during the season, and defense wins championships as the phrase goes, but for the Panthers, their defense has been their best offense.
Scoring goals this season is going to be a struggle, therefore with a revamped set of defensemen, keeping the puck out of the net will be crucial.
In a very telling article recently by Miami Herald Reporter George Richards, he spoke with Vokoun who is starting his training a month earlier than everyone else. He wants to be in shape and wants to have the Panthers turn things around. Tomas knows that he has had typically slow starts the last two seasons, and those early season struggles must stop in order for the Cats to be successful.
In addition to that though, Vokoun would like more on the roster. He told Richards that the roster could use a couple more players, veteran guys. He also added that the team does have talent, and in order for the team to be successful, they will have to use that talent.
Vokoun’s record starting out in 2007 was 0-3. The Panthers also started slowly in 2008 going 2-3 and Vokoun was 5-10 in the first two months. These are the trends that must be changed. While all the blame cannot be place squarely on Vokoun’s shoulders, he knows that he has to be better, and is working very hard at making a difference this season.
The addition of Scott Clemmensen as his backup will also force Vokoun to work harder, and be sharper. Coach Peter DeBoer says that Clemmensen is going to push Vokoun for playing time. Let’s be clear, Vokoun is the number one, but we know DeBoer is not afraid to use his backup as he did last year giving Craig Anderson ample playing time when Vokoun struggled.
Vokoun can handle the load of number one, but he must be at his best especially with this year’s lack of firepower and unknown defense. He is going to be the difference maker for this team. He was vocal about the play in front of him in 2007-2008. He was 100% right on those nights when he felt that the team wasn’t giving their all in front of him. Tomas is a fierce competitor. He wants to win. He’s been in the playoffs before and wants to be back there again, and believes that this team is capable of making the playoffs, but he has little patience for less than stellar play in front of him. That does not mean he’s infallable. When he’s bad he knows it, will tell you, and wnats to get right back out there and fix it. All he wants is his teammates in front of him to give the same 100% effort that he gives.
This year is going to be very similar. His patience is going to be tested. How he responds will be the anecdote to the teams success.
Thanks for reading.