Sports Outside the Beltway

Florida Panthers- A blah effort

That best describes the cats game against New Jersey last night. Florida out shot 24-19 but lost 3-1. Simple problem with the game- Florida let New Jersey control it. Some players looked like they were barely putting in an effort.

Sun Sentinel hockey blogger wrote-

He hasn’t been able to get this team going on a consistent basis — who can do it? — and in particular Nathan Horton.

He tried to take the pressure off Horton coming into this season. He made him a center to give him more responsibility. Still, no response. There are times Horton hustles and there are times when he appears to be going through the motions.

Horton alternates between being a terror and invisible. Last night he was the later.

Against New Jersey, Florida faced a third string goalie who probably belongs in the AHL. Tonight they play again in Boston. No rest, and against a goalie in Tim Thomas, who is playing brilliantly but has had problems with the cats in the past. Which Florida team will show up?

What does Florida coah DeBoer think of his team so far this season?

Nearly one-fourth through the season, DeBoer said the Panthers’ report card deserves a ‘C.’

I’d say more like a C- or D+

Scott Burnside at ESPN has his own ratings-

Tampa Bay Lightning: D-plus
Firing coach Barry Melrose 16 games into the season illustrates the state of flux in which the Lightning find themselves. Ownership and management can’t seem to decide what kind of team they want to be, both on the ice and financially, as the trade of minute-muncher Matt Carle to Philadelphia attests. There is plenty of time to turn this ship around given the talent in the lineup and the surprising play of netminder Mike Smith, but it won’t happen if everyone isn’t pulling on the same rope, which hasn’t been the case so far. The immediate question facing the team is whether new rookie coach Rick Tocchet has the personality to make sure that cohesiveness takes place.


Florida Panthers: D
New coach, new lineup, new promises … same results in South Florida for the bottom-dwelling Panthers. Rookie coach Peter DeBoer was hoping to rely on a rock-solid defense and goaltending to keep the young Panthers in the playoff hunt, but they’re 16th in goals against per game and 28th in goals scored per game. The Panthers have yet to win more than two games in a row at any point this season. Jay Bouwmeester had not scored through 17 games and will become the elephant in the corner as GM Jacques Martin will have to decide whether to move the franchise defenseman. Bouwmeester can become an unrestricted free agent in July and has showed little inclination to sign on for the long haul in Florida (and why would he?).

Which I find peculiar for several reasons.

1- The records of Tampa and Florida so far

Lightning- 5-7-6
Panthers- 7-10-1

Florida is playing mediocre this year, but not much was expected of the team. On the other hand some hockey analysts thought Tampa was at least a playoff team or even a potential Stanley Cup contender.

2- Burnside hyped Tampa before the 2008-09 season began. How can give the dismal Lightning a better than Florida considering their under performance?

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