Sports Outside the Beltway

Shawn the Man- Florida beats Montreal 2-1

Tonight was just one more case of Tomas Vokoun carrying the team.(a Save percentage of .963 or only 12 goals allowed in the last 328 shots against him) For two plus periods he held Montreal to one goal. Unfortunately, Florida was its usual punchless self.

Then this happened at 3:01 of the third period.

Shawn ‘Keep your bags packed for Rochester’ Matthias scored on a penalty shot to tie the game at 1-1. Sorry about the video being in French.

Matthias who has been shuttling between Florida and the Panthers affiliate in Rochester New York all year, wasn’t through for the night. Almost nine minutes later, with assists by Michal Repik and Dominic Moore, Matthias put a goal in the net again. Florida was up 2-1 and that was all the team needed to win tonight.Shawn Matthias

I’ve been writing about Matthias for two years. He has put pucks in the net, not just tonight, but whenever he has gotten some support around him. Someone will point out he has just 5 goals this year and two in previous years. That’s seven goals in 46 games though.

He’s doing it in about 7 minutes of play a game. Also tonight wasn’t his first two goal game. He had one against Washington on Jan 19, 2008. It was only his second game ever. 19-year-olds who score two goals in a game isn’t impressive in Florida lala Panther land. It lands you in the AHL for the next season and a third with only 18 more NHL appearances scattered here and there.

Matthias has produced the numbers he has with the 4th line the Panthers have. Which consists of Nick Tarnasky or Victor Oreskovich and Kamil Kreps. Who have a combined 3 goals and 9 assists this year. Matthias has 5 goals and 2 assists in part-time play.

Florida has handled Matthias horribly. He has, with just one exception, been relegated to garbage duty but still scored goals. He even had a 3-game scoring streak in December. So what does Coach Peter DeBoer do? Ship him back to Rochester while players like Kreps, Gregory Campbell, Oreskovich, and Radek Dvorak continue to be punchless. Well Dvorak has two shorthanded goals on the year, and a hat trick night in early January. The rest of the time, he’s been shit on even strength or in power play situations, 9 goals and 12 assists or not for the year. In fact, Dvorak has had no more than one shot on goal in his last six games(and no points either I may add.)

Why is Matthias so misused? At least part of the problem is Coach Peter DeBoer’s preference for his ‘Kitchener boys’. Players like the mighty Gregory Campbell of 11 points for the year. I’ll bet anyone $20 that Matthias gets sent back to Rochester again before this season is over. There’s no way he can impress DeBoer enough to be kept in Florida. Just on this alone, if I could be Florida’s General Manager, I’d fire Peter DeBoer. Florida needs Matthias, with Horton out for a month at least and the team in a frenzied 6 to 8 team battle in the Eastern Conference for three playoff spots. Opening play tonight, Florida was 11th in the East, but only two points out of a tie for 6th!

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