Friday, February 8, 2013

The Cat's Meow: The First Ten

Ruchika Sharma covers the Florida Panthers for Teenlink.

10 games.

What does that mean?

Four wins. Five losses. One overtime loss.

Nine points. Tied for third in the Southeast Division with the Winnipeg Jets. Tied for tenth in the Eastern Conference with the New York Islanders and the Winnipeg Jets.

One win could propel them up to tenth place, just two spots shy of the eighth seed. But wait, isn't it only still the start of the season? It's too early to be talking about the playoffs, right? With a shortened schedule, every game really does count.

And what's been plaguing the Florida Panthers as of late has been injuries. A groin injury to Sean Bergenheim, a broken arm for Michael Caruso, a knee injury for Ed Jovanovksi, and an ankle injury to Scottie Upshall are some of the reasons for the Panthers latest woes. Huge returns from Kris Versteeg, and last night from Erik Gudbranson, who was playing in San Antonio, bolstered the Panthers last night, coming off a 3-2 shootout win.

Chemistry has also been another reason for the Panthers woes, as Head Coach Kevin Dineen declared just almost two weeks ago.

Slowly but surely, this team is starting to build a chemistry. It's not going to be easy heading into next week's three game homestand, it's going to take a lot of hard work and determination to get them out of this rut. But first is the Washington Capitals, who the Panthers are visiting tomorrow night. Alexander Ovechkin's recent struggles should remain a concern for the Panthers, as he just might find his stride tomorrow night.

They haven't quite hit rock bottom, but neither are they sitting on top of the Southeast Division, let alone Eastern Conference. More time is going to have to be spent at the rink, building chemistry, finding their stride. It's gonna take a lot of work to get back to Southeast Division Champion form.

Just remember: 38 games left to go.