There’s an old adage muttered by coaches, fans and followers of just about any sport that says “Injuries are a part of the game.” For the Florida Panthers, injuries are becoming a bit more than part of the game. After having only minimal injuries to contend with through the first month of the season, the Cats have been making up for it for the past two. It seems after every game, there’s a new person who is knicked, bruised, battered or injured.
The latest injury news came Sunday as the team learned they will be without the services of Cory Stillman for an even longer period of time as he was place on injured reserve for a cracked bone is his vertebrae.
The Panthers did get some good news on Tuesday when it was learned that Bryan Allen (out since 11/24 with broken foot) and Chris Higgins (out since 12/4 with a foot injury) will be back in the lineup Wednesday at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Other than the trio mentioned above, Rostislav Olesz, Radek Dvorak have had extended absences from the lineup. Both add a lot to a talent deprived roster. Dvorak has accounted for some timely goals, while Olesz, who hasn’t had the scoring touch that had been hoped for, has at least been a tireless worker, forechecker and penalty killer. Jason Garrison has missed a game here and there, which has allowed Keaton Ellerby to gain some valuable experience. When Garrison is healthy, he and Mike Weaver form the Panthers best defensive pairing.
And here’s the surprising thing about all of the key injuries: The team hasn’t folded. In fact, the Panthers had their first three game winning streak of the season in the midst of these injuries. It did help that the team finally got a scoring spurt from the trio of Stephen Weiss, David Booth and Michael Frolik but it’s surprising that this team has weathered the storm like it has. It certainly hasn’t been that way in the past, so some credit has to go the Pete DeBoer for not allowing the guys to fold. It also helps that GM Dale Tallon has created an atmosphere of accountability that hasn’t been present in the past.
The question now is, not that guys are starting to return to the lineup, will they be able to generate some momentum against a tough schedule the rest of the month and make themselves a factor for a playoff spot?
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