Stephen Weiss Is Playing Some Inspired Hockey


Stephen Weiss scores the game-winning goal on Saturday night. Photo: Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

After ten years since being the fourth overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Stephen Weiss has shown his good and bad attributes many times in a Panthers uniform.  He has shown good defensive prowess, he has good puck control, and he is a gifted passer.  On the other hand, he too often seemed mentally out of it during play, seemed hesitant to shoot, and had trouble scoring goals even when he had an open shot.  Weiss’ sometimes inconsistent play has garnered the ire of some fans, but this year he is different.

For the first time in a long time in South Florida, Weiss is the leader of a hockey team that is very much in the playoff hunt: as of today, the Panthers stand first in the Southeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference.  Weiss’ line, nickname pending, is smoking hot.  His chemistry with Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann is incredible to see.  All of a sudden, an arguably underachieving center in Weiss, a talented journeyman in Versteeg, and an oft-injured forward in Flash are point-a-game threats.

This is the Weiss that Panther fans have always wanted to see, and they finally got him.

Even though Weiss doesn’t lead the Panthers in points, goals, or assists, he has been the most instrumental component of the team’s success.  He has played (for the most part) really spectacular defensive hockey, and it’s showing up in the plus/minus category.  Weiss is at a plus-10, Versteeg is pulling a plus-9, and Flash leads the team with a plus-11.  Weiss has fulfilled his responsibilities in the defensive zone by stealing pucks and breaking up passes, and his linemates are being more aggressive because of it.

And he played his best hockey recently.  He was in on all three goals in the Penguins game, and had the game-winning goal, as well.  His best game might have came in the Dallas Stars game, where he logged a plus-6.  Panthers play-by-play man Steve Goldstein went so far to say on Twitter that Stephen Weiss is playing his best hockey as a Panther.  It is becoming tougher and tougher from game to game to argue with him.

Make no mistake, this is the best, most consistent Stephen Weiss in a long time, and he is making plays on every corner of the ice to put the Panthers in playoff contention.

Don’t forget to participate in our name the top line contest.

Thanks for reading!  Be sure to comment!

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Tags: Florida Panthers Kris Versteeg Stephen Weiss Steve Goldstein Tomas Fleischmann

  • PatrickRattrick

    I really like the role Weiss is adapting to fill. The 1st line is incredible, but the Panthers really need to get production from other areas. I hope the 1st line stays this productive the rest of the year, but even if they do that won’t be enough. There were a few chances in last nights game that should have found the back of the net. Those ended up over the net, but then again those players had to get the puck up to beat the goaltender. If those go in, the game is very different. It should also be noted how well Jose Theodore played, he was under fire for a few stretches and kept the game close. Just a quick note on Weiss’ goal, as I got to see a replay. Weiss gets his stick on it, but the puck stays near the post and goal line without going in. Brent Johnson lays down to cover the puck, and in the process pushes it in. This is however, not to take from the Panthers performance. They got the puck to that area, and in it went. Those are the goals the Panthers need to get more of. Get in those dirty areas. Deflections and rebounds too.

  • FrankRekas

    @PatrickRattrick I saw the goal scored the same way, and agree, we need more dirty goals. Nice to see that top line continuing to lead the way. But as we know, we need secondary scoring.

    Big kudos to Jose Theodore. He was outstanding last night.

  • PatrickRattrick

    I really like the role Weiss is adapting to fill. The 1st line is incredible, but the Panthers really need to get production from other areas. I hope the 1st line stays this productive the rest of the year, but even if they do that won’t be enough. There were a few chances in last nights game that should have found the back of the net. Those ended up over the net, but then again those players had to get the puck up to beat the goaltender. If those go in, the game is very different. It should also be noted how well Jose Theodore played, he was under fire for a few stretches and kept the game close. Just a quick note on Weiss’ goal, as I got to see a replay. Weiss gets his stick on it, but the puck stays near the post and goal line without going in. Brent Johnson lays down to cover the puck, and in the process pushes it in. This is however, not to take from the Panthers performance. They got the puck to that area, and in it went. Those are the goals the Panthers need to get more of. Get in those dirty areas. Deflections and rebounds too.

  • FrankRekas

    @PatrickRattrick I saw the goal scored the same way, and agree, we need more dirty goals. Nice to see that top line continuing to lead the way. But as we know, we need secondary scoring.

    Big kudos to Jose Theodore. He was outstanding last night.