After a great start to the season the Florida Panthers have found themselves in a bit of a slump lately as they have posted a 3-4-3 record in their last 10 games, and have seen the Winnipeg Jets cut their lead to just 4 points in the Southeast division race.
Though some of the blame can be directed towards having a tough schedule as of late, the reality is that the Panthers are playing with major holes in their lineup. In fact, the Panthers, who welcomed 13 new faces to their roster this off-season have not yet had the chance to see all 13 guys perform together thanks to injuries. As a result, with 6 regular guys out of the lineup, the Cats are finally seeing their Cinderella story headed toward a crashing halt.
With Stephen Weiss returning to the lineup Friday night against the New York Rangers, the Panthers are still without Scottie Upshall, Marcel Goc, Jack Skille, Sean Bergenheim, Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm, all players who were brought here this season new to the club.
The reality is, though the Panthers can try and call up minor league players to try and plug holes, we really need to go out and try to sign another new face to our squad, and on Tuesday management announced they were doing just that as they were in talks with 38-year old John Madden.
Madden is a centerman best known for his time spent in New Jersey with the Devils. Over his career Madden has won three Stanley Cups, most recently with Panthers GM Dale Talon while part of the Chicago Blackhawks. Thanks to his time with the Devils, Madden knows exactly what it takes to form a successful team, and how to rebound through hard times. Not only does he know how to win, but he knows that with wins comes losses and you need to pick yourself up and move on from that.
The intent for Madden to join the Panthers is not to come in and produce, but to come in and encourage this young team. To walk into the dressing room and guide this team through the season, and help the young guys pull together as he shows them just the right way to work as a team.
“We have to weigh it out and see what our alternatives are,” said Panthers GM Dale Tallon. “We’ve had history before and I like guys that are championship-calibre people that have had success. It’s really good to help our young guys learn how to win.”
In 867 career NHL games, Madden who spend most of his career with the Devils also had short stops in Chicago and Minnesota. The Toronto, Ontario native has 162 goals and 345 points all time over his 12-year career. Despite being a free agent, Madden has spent his time on his own skating and staying in shape just in case he would get that call to return and help out an NHL team.