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The Panthers lack heart.

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Old
11-11-2006, 11:56 PM
  #1
timetraveler023
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The Panthers lack heart.

I've been holding back on a post for awhile, now, because I'm a coward, but I really want to hear what you guys think about this, so here goes.

The Panthers are lacking one thing, and that's heart. These guys have got such a pleasing core of youngsters in Olesz, Weiss, Horton, Kolnik, and Bouwmeester - and they've got some of the classiest, and more experienced (and still capable) veterans in the league in Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts (even though he still wants to bash heads in sometimes) that can really be a strong presence in the locker room, and I can't imagine that they don't provide a heck of a positive influence on the team overall. Granted, the Cats don't drop jaws and sink hearts with a lineup of superstars, but they do present competent play all the way around (I know, there are a couple exceptions, don't shoot me). No one player lights up the stats, but we don't need that. As far as an enforcer goes, they've already got a player who seems to have the urge to beat down at times in Mezei. He takes a lot of bad penalties, but he's simply lacking discipline. Would it be such a risk to develop him as our enforcer? Because he's got the size, and the capability of being an all-around on-ice benefit if he plays as he should. He is aggressive, you can see it in his play, and the penalties he takes. Martin punishes him for taking so many penalties, but he keeps him on the roster. Why not make something of it? He is 6'5" and 235 pounds. Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves tonight against New Jersey's Michael Rupp - 6'5", 235 lbs. Mezei should be our enforcer.

Our boys play very ugly hockey, a lot of times. But when things click, they play dominating hockey. And they did turn that third period in Buffalo completely around, and controlled play for much of the latter half of the third. At the top of their game, they can live up to our expectations of nothing less than a playoff berth (if not more). But they rarely bring it. The Panthers don't play strong hockey until they're trailing in a game. If they suddenly put a puck in the net, they turn it on with some sudden realization of, "Hey, we might still have a chance." There are sxity minutes in a hockey game, and never at any moment from second one to minute sixty should you suddenly realize that it's not over. And they've done that so much already, and just rolled over and played a casual game.

I watched a Kings game last week or the week before, and they were on a power play (at the time, their record was something like 4-8-1) and on the other team's attempt to clear, a player dove to keep the puck in the zone. And another would dive to break up a play. 99% of the time, our boys get beat, and coast behind the play.

The Panthers need to get a GM, or coach NOW, rather than at the end of the season, because Jacques can't do both for an entire season if he's dealing with an unmotivated team. I want him to stay here, because I really like him, and I think most of you will agree? But he needs help, either to switch to GM and get a coach, or vice versa. And whoever takes over the coaching duties needs to give these boys a good hard kick in the rear, because a loss is a loss; 6-8-4 is no different than 6-12, other than that we got four points for hanging in there. They don't get respect, because they don't play a full game. Not because they don't have an enforcer. They're a scrappy team that will give anybody a run for their money - if they feel like it. The skill is there, the potential and the smarts are there, but the heart is somewhere to be found.

So, I'm sorry if I rubbed anyone the wrong way somehow (or if I bored you to death) but that's really their only problem. And if you did read it this whole way through, I have to say thanks.

But more importantly, go Panthers! (They're still going to the playoffs this year)

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11-12-2006, 12:58 AM
  #2
JonathanHuberdoh
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Agreed.

Although that last paragraph does seem to describe, dare I say.....Mike Keenan.

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11-12-2006, 01:28 AM
  #3
Ghoste
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It's frustrating no matter how you slice it, whether it's heart, coaching, or whatever. I do agree that Martin needs to find a coach A.S.A.P. (as I think he wants to GM). Anyway, the team is not responding and should be playing way better hockey despite the loss of Bertuzzi and Niewy for the most part. We are atrocious on the road and there really isn't any excuse for that. And we do take way too many penalties to be effective, officiating faults or not. It sux because the guys try to pull positives out of each game but in a way, we're only fooling ourselves. We're playing mediocre hockey and getting mediocre results. Martin needs to turn this ship around NOW, before it's too late. And if he can't do that, he better find someone who can.

On another note, I'm hoping we get and stay a lot younger this off-season. No offense to HG, but guys like Niewy, Roberts, Gelinas, and Belfour most likely won't return next season. I hope to fill those spots with younger, faster, and fresher bodies. You know, like Gelinas' spot can be filled with a guy like... Jon Sim.

-ghoste

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11-12-2006, 06:10 AM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nine Cats View Post
I watched a Kings game last week or the week before, and they were on a power play (at the time, their record was something like 4-8-1) and on the other team's attempt to clear, a player dove to keep the puck in the zone. And another would dive to break up a play. 99% of the time, our boys get beat, and coast behind the play.

The Panthers need to get a GM, or coach NOW, rather than at the end of the season, because Jacques can't do both for an entire season if he's dealing with an unmotivated team. I want him to stay here, because I really like him, and I think most of you will agree? But he needs help, either to switch to GM and get a coach, or vice versa. And whoever takes over the coaching duties needs to give these boys a good hard kick in the rear, because a loss is a loss; 6-8-4 is no different than 6-12, other than that we got four points for hanging in there. They don't get respect, because they don't play a full game. Not because they don't have an enforcer. They're a scrappy team that will give anybody a run for their money - if they feel like it. The skill is there, the potential and the smarts are there, but the heart is somewhere to be found.
Sounds like its pretty obvious that Martin isn't the right type of coach for the new NHL. He plays an overly conservative type of game and what you're looking for is someone who will take a few chances. Of course, this was said when the new rules were released that he wouldn't be the right coach but whatever.

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11-12-2006, 06:32 AM
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What I hate is the fact Martin aint using the wheels we have on this team at all. Olesz (one of the strongest skating players IMO we've ever had), Kolnik etc .. Oh yeah did I say I miss Sim

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11-12-2006, 07:46 AM
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Call me crazy, but while I know there's a lot of other guys who've paid their coaching dues, and even Roy is starting in the minors...I wouldn't mind seeing Nieuwyndyk taking up the coaching reigns. I don't think there's a smarter guy in the game right now. He understands the game very well, and seems to love to teach. The team plays A LOT different when he's in the lineup, too. I think him on the bench would be what this team needs!

I also understand that Gretzky has a mess on his hands in Phoenix, but Joe is a much different player. I think that's a role Joe would be better at, and better suited for.

Again, call me crazy, but I'm interested in your opinions.

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11-12-2006, 07:59 AM
  #7
FinallyWeissIsGone
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I don't think we lack heart... just... Scoring...

you CAN NOT win in this league anymore if you score 2 or 3 goals a night (assuming the goalie is having a regular night, non-shutout)


That's all there is to it.

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11-12-2006, 09:44 AM
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I'm really not surprised we take as many penalties as we do. When you're back on your heels playing defensive all game it leads to penalties. We should be playing balls to the wall buffalo/nashville/san jose offense and drawing penalties so our #3 in the league powerplay can go to town.

For whatever reason, whether because the players hate this team and have no heart or because JM is trying to play in the old NHL we don't play fast paced team offense.

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11-12-2006, 10:39 AM
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12# Peter Bondra
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I dont think you can say that: Mezei = big, takes penalties -> lets make him an enforcer. Players who are 25 years old wont suddenly decide to become enforcers.

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11-12-2006, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKgoalie7 View Post
I don't think we lack heart... just... Scoring...

you CAN NOT win in this league anymore if you score 2 or 3 goals a night (assuming the goalie is having a regular night, non-shutout)


That's all there is to it.
scoring isn't the only thing we lack but, yeah, to an extent i agree. calgary discovered this last year and vancouver is learning the same lesson this year.

in reality, though, the team's GFA and GAA are both rather unimpressive. the guys are just not playing as a team on a consistent enough basis.

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11-12-2006, 08:14 PM
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timetraveler023
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well, whatever it is, be it lack of heart, or scoring, or a combination of the two - and consistency.. here's to hoping that these guys can turn it around. And as far as Mezei goes, if nothing more, I'd rather see him step up and drop the gloves against Rupp than seeing Campbell do it, because there was such a size difference there. But it was nice to see him step up there when it had to be done. They're going to turn it around, I just hope that they can do it sooner, rather than later.

Thanks for the good discussion, too.

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11-12-2006, 08:29 PM
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I think the guys are lacking confidence. I've seen them at practice......i know they can do it.

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11-12-2006, 11:28 PM
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It's the lack of discipline from its veterans that's killing this team. When your leaders by example like Roberts, Gelinas, and Gratton are taking killer minor penalties, that hurts the team. I can't remember how many times I said to myself "Why is this guy taking a penalty like that?" and it was one of those guys doing it at the end of the third period or just after the opposing team scores.

The problem is that this team will go into games and look like they're skating in mud and they start taking lazy penalties. This team needs to up it's skating and start using their skills to take over the opposing team. This is no slouch team, even without Bertuzzi. They just don't maximize their abilities. Horton has the abilitiy to take the puck and just drive to the net. He's big enough and fast enough that opposing d-men would have to take penalties to stop him. It's your basic bull-in-a-china-shop deal. He doesn't do it though. He tries to get fancy and dance around, then he takes bad angle shots and misses the net by a mile. He's a streaky scorer when he really shouldn't be. The whole team can skate, but they don't. They all overpass and refuse to shoot the puck and drive to the net. I scream at the TV every time they pass up a good shot for a low percentage pass that gets picked off and cleared.

Maybe you can blame this on the coach, but the players have to step it up and start working to get things going. They're the ones taking dumb penalties at bad times and they're the ones who aren't working up to their potential.

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11-12-2006, 11:39 PM
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Same story...

Same story. No scoring, no toughness.

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11-13-2006, 02:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laus723 View Post
I wouldn't mind seeing Nieuwyndyk taking up the coaching reigns.
Thanks for stealing my idea of a month ago.

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11-13-2006, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike_Ness View Post
Thanks for stealing my idea of a month ago.
I think Newy would be a great coach but I think it is better guys start out as assistants for a couple years. Not to mention Newy still has a lot of hockey left in him. Lets not all get to beat down again, we played Buf and the NYRs well, NJ was not so great but we were missing Newy. Two games under .500 is by no means insurmountable.

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11-13-2006, 07:15 AM
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Laus723
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Thanks for stealing my idea of a month ago.
I don't always pay attention to what you say...if you did say that, it's a good idea.

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11-13-2006, 08:38 AM
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JonathanHuberdoh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Girl View Post
All of this is of course speculation as Joe continues to be an integral part of this Panthers team. We need him healthy and back out on the ice.
Agreed.

We also need a winger.

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Old
11-13-2006, 09:23 AM
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12# Peter Bondra View Post
I dont think you can say that: Mezei = big, takes penalties -> lets make him an enforcer. Players who are 25 years old wont suddenly decide to become enforcers.
This was my immediate thought. If the guy doesn't have it in his nature to drop the gloves and pound the snot out of someone, you can't simply train him to do it.

Hell, if height and weight were the only requirements, Viktor Kozlov should have been our new enforcer when Laus was injured. And Hordichuk should never have considered fighting.

We don't need to designate a fighter - we need to acquire one. The treatment the Panthers have received this season clearly shows that enforcers do in fact still have a role if no one else on the team is willing to stand up for themselves.

I personally think there's validity in the concept of "team toughness" - however I think there was a serious misconception in thinking this team had any. Campbell's stepping in (and I didn't see it, just going on posts here) for Weiss has been about the only instance of a teammate sticking up for someone taking a bad hit on the Panthers this season. Joe's not going to fight as it's not his style, Roberts apparently doesn't care to step in anymore, Allen hasn't been as tough perhaps because he hasn't connected with his new teammates yet, we all know JBo's not going to drop the gloves after one fight in three + seasons.

We need someone who competent enough to ice but is going to drop the gloves every time there's a need.

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11-13-2006, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by wpring View Post
I think Newy would be a great coach but I think it is better guys start out as assistants for a couple years.
Nieuwy has been an assistant for the past year and a half here in Fla. Hell, he's more to credit for the turn around last season than Martin.

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11-13-2006, 11:53 AM
  #21
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What turnaround? We are still a soft, underachieving team that can't make the playoffs. None of that has changed.

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11-13-2006, 12:03 PM
  #22
Acadmus
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What turnaround? We are still a soft, underachieving team that can't make the playoffs. None of that has changed.
What changed is that the Panthers went from a team that couldn't buy a win from the start of November until mid-December, to a team that charged into playoff contention by the beginning of March. The weak start is all that kept them out.

And, though I'll be pilloried for suggesting it, I think our struggles this season are in no small part to the absence of a certain #1 goaltender due to trade. Most of the rest of the team is the same, after all, except for an improvement on defense, which really points the finger at the net.

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11-13-2006, 12:34 PM
  #23
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Originally Posted by EnoughExcuses View Post
We don't need to designate a fighter - we need to acquire one. The treatment the Panthers have received this season clearly shows that enforcers do in fact still have a role if no one else on the team is willing to stand up for themselves.

Campbell's stepping in (and I didn't see it, just going on posts here) for Weiss has been about the only instance of a teammate sticking up for someone taking a bad hit on the Panthers this season.

We need someone who competent enough to ice but is going to drop the gloves every time there's a need.
we're stepping over into "Do the Panthers need an enforcer?" territory but I just wanted to counter the notion that guys haven't backed one another this year - did nobody see monty IMMEDIATELY jump on janssen and drop his gloves after janssen ran kolnik? the problem is that neither monty or campbell scare anyone. we need someone who's competent enough to ice and *also* a competent pugilist. i think the board is coming around to the lausii's (and maybe others) pov that we need someone. the question is who?

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11-13-2006, 12:35 PM
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timetraveler023
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Luongo stole games for us last season, but he gave up weak goals at clutch times, as well. Granted, if the offense would have been better in many of those close games, a weak goal shouldn't matter, but it did. And he didn't deliver.

Put Olesz on the top line and I will never, ever complain again.

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11-13-2006, 12:51 PM
  #25
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Put Olesz on the top line and I will never, ever complain again.
No doubt. Rusty, IMO, is a far better player than Horton.

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