Addition By Subtraction. Attitude Change Makes The Difference

I am surprised as you are.  I’m as pleased as you are.  I’m enjoying it as much as you are!

Wow!  Four solid games where the effort by the Florida Panthers has been there for 60 solid minutes a night.  I know it’s only four games and I’m not ordering playoff tickets just yet, but without a doubt you must be happy-not satisfied-with the effort that we’ve seen so far.  In talking with my writing partner Dave Lasseter between periods last night, we’re more than pleased.

Who are these guys?

They’re playing the way they need to and have to.  Hard work,  great attitude and solid effort is all we’ve been asking for and for a change we’re getting it.  When Dale Tallon the new GM came in, he said things will be different.  He would create competition and demand 110% effort from everyone.  If not, you’re gone. No more country club atmosphere.  You will battle for ice time, and you will battle for a roster spot.  While many of us were scratching our heads about the release of Michael Grabner, maybe Dale knows more than we do.  It’s not always about talent.  It’s also about effort, attitude, and heart.  Sometimes those attributes take you a lot farther than anything else.

Now while I pinch myself, and before you accuse me of jumping off a bridge or of being paid off to change my perception of this team,  let’s put a few things in perspective.  With only a few changes things are different.  In my estimation the removal of Nathan Horton and his lazyass attitude may have been the biggest change that’s affected this club.  Horton didn’t want to be here, and Tallon granted his wish.  So long.  I don’t care if he scores 40 this year, as long as the Panthers can play with this tenacity and desire, I’ll be pleased.

Gone are people like Jay Bouwmeester who was only here to bide his time before a better deal came along.  Careful what you wish for Jay.  The grass isn’t always greener.  Gone is Uncle Jack who left a sinking ship for one of the most glorious jobs in the NHL, coaching the Montreal Canadiens.  Known up there in some circles as Count Chokula, his time could be short.  Gone is Randy Sexton who while some credit as stock piling draft picks, I will always remember his as getting fleeced in the Jaybo trade.

Glad to still have, Tomas Vokoun.  One of the classiest players we’ve had over the past few seasons.  Opinionated at times, but his heart is always in the right place.  He is in mid season form right now.  Also Bryan McCabe.  After escaping the media blitz of Toronto, McCabe has settled in very nicely here and is providing just what we’re looking for.  Solid defence, minimal mistakes and contributing offensively.  These two players are going to make decisions tough for the organ-eye-zation come March 2011.

Can we keep this up?  How long will it last?  I don’t have the answer for that yet.  What I do know is that for four games, we’ve been in everyone including the one’s we lost.  We aren’t beating ourselves, and we’re working hard.  You can’t ask for too much more than that right now.

The beer always taste better after a win, and last night was no different.

Thanks for reading.

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Tags: Bryan Mccabe Dale Tallon Jay Bouwmeester Nathan Horton Tomas Vokoun Uncle Jack

  • slapshot1106

    Way to keep it positive Frank. Nice changes, nice to see the team competing… Wouldn’t the ultimate be beating out Horton and the Bruins and a playoff spot… Sure it’s early, but we’re all ready to start drinking the Kool Aid..

    And I among many have always been looking to seek offers for T-Vo, but we may have to rethink the position at some point. I’m not one that’s ready to give the crown to Markstrom so early before he proves he can handle it.. At some point, we might want to see if T-Vo would be interested in staying on for 1 or 2 or 3 years… Nothing crazy like Luongo’s contract, but maybe 2 years at about $5.5 per, maybe with an option at the end…

    • Frank Rekas

      Slap Shot: thanks for the comment. Don’t want you to think I’m softening up, but it’s nice to see them play this way.
      As for Vokoun, it’s going to be a difficult decision. if he signed for 2 years at 4 mil and they load up with some incentives that might work. It also depends how Markstrom comes along too.

      If Vokoun can bring scoring, someone young, then the management team has to consider that.

  • slapshot1106

    As good as T-Vo is playing and even if he keeps it up, I don’t see any teams giving us a 1st line CTR or even power FWD for an expiring T-VO contract…

    The only teams I can think might be interested are Philly, Ottawa, and the Kings… I highly doubt Philly’s offering Carter. Maybe Spezza in a package deal. Probably the most tempting, but I don’t think that’s the best option. As far as the Kings, they don’t seem to have enough offense themselves… Maybe Quick and Stoll or Handzus…

    Either way, I think everyone’s too willing to give it all to Markstrom.. Many teams have goalie prospects that never make it, or also take longer than expected… Vancouver’s got Schneider, Kings have Bernier, and the Caps always come up with one or two from somewhere..

    I’m sure Tallon will wait it out to see what happens closer to the deadline, but T-Vo seems to hold the better hand.. If he puts up solid numbers, he’s going to have at least 3-4 teams interested.. He’ll be able to pick his spot, and will probably get much more than $4mil+bonuses.. Personally, I think he’d rather stay here. Considering trade options probably aren’t the guys we’d be looking for, I think bringing him back is probably the best bet…