As promised, here are the answers to the 10 questions for the Florida Panthers for 2010.
Thoughts and comments are most welcome!
1) Is David Booth fully recovered from his concussions from last season? If he is, and he says he is, how close is he to having his career end with another hit to the head?
While I have no idea of what it’s like to have recovered from one of these let alone two, I have to think that even if Booth’s healthy, he’s really one bad hit away from it being over. My concern will be his style of play. Will he still skate hard down the wing and work the corners, or will he stay on the perimeter and away from traffic? It would be nice to think that we can get 35 goals from him, but in all honesty if we get 20-25 and he stays healthy, those are number we should be thankful for. I hope he surprises all of us and returns to form. He deserves it.
2) Can Stephen Weiss improve on his numbers from last season when many in the organEYEzation felt he had a “breakout” year?
For me, I think he’s peaked. Last year may have been it. If he played with more fire in his belly, he might have scored 35 goals. He was on a bit of a tear last season, but once Horton got hurt, that was it. Now there’s no Horton. Wow, what the hell did I just imply? Anyway, I think we’ve seen the best of Stevie. And it’s not good enough.
3) Will Chris Higgins get his scoring touch back again, or like many players who come here already on a tailspin, will he continue to spiral downward?
Higgins is hoping to regain his touch of course, but can he. Dale Tallon feels that he may have been snake bitten. True I would say to a degree. However there’s a reason he was playing on the third and fourth line for the Rangers most of last season. It would be nice to see him get at least 20 goals, but unless he gets power play time and unless the cobwebs are out, we may be looking at 15. For the money, not bad. But we need more regardless.
4) What are the chances of Rostislav Olesz playing all 82 games this season? Hell, would we be happy with 65? What kind of production can we expect?
For the amount of money this bag of injuries is getting, playing all 82 games would at least mean that he survived. It’s not little injuries that he gets either, so maybe he needs to look at conditioning as well. His potential is that he’s been expected to be a major contributor which is why Uncle Jack gave him the fat contract that we’re stuck with. JM, when you left you should have taken this bust with you.
5) The tenure of head coach Peter DeBoer has to be a situation that will be closely watched. If the Panthers get off to another slow start, how long before he’s replaced?
Last season took a toll on Pete. You could see it in his face many nights behind the bench. His tactics are not only questionable at times, but make me wonder if he’s really NHL coach material. His magic worked in juniors, but we’re talking NHL now, and I’m thinking his message is going in one ear and out the other. Although, what does that say about the players? Anyway, if we’re at 25 games and we have less than 22 points, he’s a goner. The leash on my German Shepard was short because he was a tiger in disguise, and I didn’t want him eating people we passed by. The leash on DeBoer is short because he’s not followed through on his threats, and his style is, well, junior. That needs to change.
6) Does first round draft pick Erik Gudbranson make the team coming out of training camp? Or will he be better served by staying in the minors one more season?
This is probably too early to tell. I would think that he can beat out guys like Keaton Ellerby and Patch Adams, but there’s definitely no need to rush him. If he’s the real thing and shows in camp that he can handle it, then I’m all for him staying here. But the fact of the matter is, this kid’s a winner. To be surrounded by a team that struggles to win and has losing attitude won’t help. I’m rooting for him to make it though!
7) Tomas Vokoun. While he’s not likely to be signed to a contract extension, will the Panthers give him away, let him complete the season and lose him for nothing, or actually make a meaningful trade?
The window for a blockbuster deal has most likely passed by. If, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if for some odd reason the Panthers are sniffing a playoff spot, Vokoun isn’t going anywhere. I like Tomas, and I honestly wish him well and want him to succeed. He deserves to be on a winner. I would just hate to have him walk away for nothing, or a couple third round picks. There’s no reason that I can think of that he’d resign for a hometown discount.
8) How many games will Andrew Peters play, and what are the chances that he averages more than 2 minutes and 14 seconds per game?
Deboer and Uncle Jack both seem to dislike players like this. Nick Tarnasky at least had a touch of ability and wasn’t a total disaster on the ice. My guess is Peters will see very limited action if any, and spend alot of time doing the Rochester shuffle.
9) What’s the infatuation with Little Stevie? He’s just a number two center, shoved in the number one spot. I dare anyone who reads this to analyze his play over a ten game period. I promise you that you won’t be as impressed as the organEYEzation wants you to be. So what gives?
Drafted fourth overall in 2001. Yea, nine years ago, and some are still waiting for him to break out. Forget it. The comparisons to Steve Yzerman are unfounded and way off. At best he’s a second line center, and that would be on an average team. There is no way he’s a number one on any team that made the playoffs last season. He lacks a number of things including height, snarl and body checks. He’d rather avoid them. I wish we could avoid him.
10) A simple yes, or no on this. Will the Florida Panthers make the playoffs this year? When they don’t, will confetti be spread throughout the arena?
As for the confetti, god help us if that fiasco is repeated. I still have that pit in my stomach from last season when I saw that happening. But with Party City as one of the sponsor’s, anything is possible.
Just not the playoffs!
Thanks for reading.
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