Out since October 24th from the hit by Flyers captain Mike Richards, Panthers forward David Booth will make his return to the ice Sunday afternoon at home against the New York Islanders! Booth was the Panthers leading goal scorer last year and we all know that goals are what the Panthers need right now. I will be very curious to see how much ice time he gets and what situations he’ll be used in. Will he be on the first line with Weiss and Frolik? On the second with Reinprecht and Olesz, or the third?
Now let’s not get too carried away as he’s not going to be 100% right off the bat. While he’s been skating at full speed and carefully preparing in practice, nothing takes the place of game action. His first hit, his first check, and his first tumble need to happen quickly and uneventfully. So we can all move on. I’ve never had a concussion so I can’t possibly know what it’s like to come back from one, but I would imagine there is some bit of nervousness that goes with your first game back.
I am cautiously excited about this as there is no doubt we need David Booth. Healthy, scoring, and with that infectous smile of his.
Speaking of scoring, he couldn’t be coming back at a better time. With last night’s loss to the Washington Capitals the Panthers have scored only 7 goals in their last 6 games. The loss last night by a superior Washington team was not necessarily as bad as the score indicates, but still the Panthers had trouble finding the net as they had more than eonough chances. But as we all know, not enough finishers.
Tomas Vokoun was victimized on two goals as the puck lay in front of him after he made the initial save, but no one on the Panthers could clear the puck. On Washington’s third goal, Vokoun was completely screened and had no chance of making the save as he never saw the puck. Mike Knuble (love the name, and love the player) scored twice for Washington.
The Panthers appeared to have lots of energy last night and made some things happen, but the Caps proved that they are as good as their record indicates, and when you’ve won eight in a row, it’s not happening by chance. They really are that good. Regardless of our offensive deficiencies.
Stevie Wonder with the only Panther goal, finally scored, as he has been stuck in a real drought. It was his 20th goal of the season, tying his career high. While he now has two goals in his last fifteen games, prior to that he might have been on pace for 30. Now that seems like a longshot, but stranger things have happened. The return of Booth could make a difference, and we’ll just have to see how that plays out.
In other news Capitals defenceman Mike Green has been suspended three games for his elbow on Michael Frolik which occured during last nights game. An eventful night as Green was involved in two interesting plays. The elbow to Frolik and a collision with Panther defenceman Dmitry Kulikov. The Kulikov hit looked worse at first glance then it really was, as Green was entering the offensive zone, going for the puck which he tapped deeper in the zone. Kulikov was already heading for the hit, and Green made an attempt to get out of the way, and sort of side step it. He should have just went head on, but his quick manuever caused a knee on knee hit. No fault for Kulikov, and Green left the ice, tried to return, and left again. Even coach Bruce Boudreau made the comment to the effect that he made himself a bit more vulnerable by trying to move out of the way.
In any case, it was a tough loss. Vokoun played well, but we needed to score when we had some chances early. had we done that we could have changed the outcome of the game. Proving once again the real need for a true offensive weapon.
Randy? Anything going on?
Thanks for reading. And welcome back David.