Injuries. Every team goes through them, and you can’t use them as an excuse. The Florida Panthers season has seen as many as seven roster players injured at one time or another, and when it appears that one gets healthy, another goes down. Today we learned that forward Marco Sturm had minor knee surgery and will be out for three to four weeks. Sturm missed 14 games earlier from December 22nd to January 24th. He returned after the All-Star break for one game on February 1st against the Washington Capitals, played just over 12 minutes and had two shots on goal.
It’s been a rough go for the genuinely smiling forward, who thought that he’d be able to be contributor to the playoff push of the Panthers. His past few seasons have been injury filled, and one can imagine the frustration that he’s going through. Fortunately the depth at the forward position has softened the blow of not having Sturm in the lineup. However his veteran presence and attention to defence is needed, and the Panthers will be looking for someone to pick up the slack. While it might be a coincidence in the 19 games that Sturm has missed, the Panthers have lost 12.
Jose Theodore skated today and according to head coach Kevin Dineen had a pretty good workout:
“He got a good skate in and that’s what we’re looking for is to make sure that he comes back and he’s feeling strong,” said Dineen. “It’s a day-to-day injury right now so we’ll see how he reacts from today’s workout and I’ll access his availability for us tomorrow night.”
Theodore is traveling with the team to Washington, so it remains to be seen if and when he does return, but we all know the sooner he gets healthy, the better.
Fortunately for the Panthers having veteran goaltender Scott Clemmensen around has been a godsend. In 18 games this season Clemmensen’s record is 8-3-5, which reads 8-8, but the Panthers have points in 13 of the 16 games he’s had a decision in.
Forward Jack Skille also skated today in practice with the club, but is still a ways away from returning it looks like. His injury (upper body) came a game after Sturm’s in December, and while he wasn’t contributing offensively as much as he’s like, he was doing a number of things that don’t show up on the scoresheet. His energy and forechecking have been missed as well.
Again, it’s fortunate that the Panthers have the depth in the organEYEzation that they have. Still keeping pace with division rival Washington has been impressive. However as I mentioned in my morning post, a trade to improve the roster can only improve our situation.
Injuries affect every team. We don’t want to use them as an excuse for that specific reason. Get healthy, get some reinforcements, and let’s keep on marching.
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