I wanted to take a few minutes and make notice of a few Panther players that have been carrying this team lately and are deserving of some extra mention.
Stephen Weiss who I admitely give alot of crap to is playing lights out lately. After 34 games he has 15 goals and 14 assists for 29 points. Now if you project that out that looks like 36 goals and 33 assists for 69 points. If he is able to achieve that I’d be impressed. Which for me is saying alot! Weiss is not a youngster anymore and has been around for eight seasons. This type of production is long overdue, so not to rain on the parade, it’s nice to see, but alot of how he’s been scoring is being in the right place at the right time. That’s fine, as well as opportunistic. What I’d like to see more of is….more of it!
Nathan Horton a player who has a ton of talent and drives me crazy sometimes has been fairly consistent lately. He has 11 goals and 21 assists for 32 points with a recent Hat Trick. He must however show consistency as that has been his problem for quite sometime. If he puts his mind to it and does what he’s good at, all the time, he can be a difference maker. He needs to shoot more and pass less. He has the ability to someday score 40 goals, but he has to work hard, hustle, create scoring chances and shoot the friggin’ puck more.
His overall record and stats don’t show it, but more often than not Tomas Vokoun has been keeping the Panthers in games that could have easily been blow outs. As long as the Panthers are sniffing a playoff spot it doesn’t make sense to trade him and he has never said publicly that he wants to leave.
Speaking of that, I feel the need to clarify something that was in my previous post today. I made a reference about Dennis Seidenberg and Jay Bouwmeester, and while I thought about it for a few minutes before I printed it, it still came out wrong. I am not comparing Jay and Dennis at all, other than the fact they both wear number 4. What I was trying to say is that while we had Jay, we played the same way we are playing now. I think that Dennis brings a bit more physicality and shot blocking, yet gives up some offence. Jay was obviously a very graceful and smooth skater, had offensive skills but was a bit overrated. He looked so good because anyone else he was paired with usually wasn’t nearly as good. He does have some holes in his game, which may go unnoticed in Calgary which has a collectively better team. So, once again, don’t think I’m comparing the two as they each have different qualities.
Michael Frolik has looked much better lately and maybe has settled down a bit. Good for him as the sopphmore jionx was starting to strangle him. He has 9 goals and 9 assists for 18 points and has been playing with Horton and Weiss and getting some more chances, so that could be the answer. Once again, consistency is the key here and we need to see more of it.
Dmitry Kulikov. Here’s one that I’m on the fence on. While he hasn’t really looked out of place, he’s has gotten burned a couple times and early on was getting hammered by some soled checks. He posseses a pretty decent slapshot from the point which I wish he would use more and is certainly quick enough to keep pace with most, but has shown at time to be a liability. His +/- has improved although it’s still a -7, I would like to say he’s making strides. 82 games is alot so we’ll see how this one shakes out.
Keep working hard boys. You’re getting results, but you can’t let up!
Thanks for reading.