Inconsistency Killing the Cat

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Brock, Jan 24, 2007.

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  1. Brock

    Brock Registered User

    Feb 27, 2002
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    The Florida Panthers have opened this 2006-07 HFNHL season, plagued with inconsistency. After winning their first two games against the reigning Cup champion Buffalo Sabres and the current first place St. Louis Blues, the Panthers promptly dropped 6 in a row. This included 3 straight losses to division rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning. But since a 3-2 defeat at the hand of the Jackets, the Panthers have now won 3 in a row. This included victories over the Islanders, Stars and Thrashers.

    One main reason for the turnaround and the 3 game winning streak has been the play of fourth liner Mark Hartigan. Hartigan has managed to score the game winning goal in all three of those victories, giving him 5 on the year. This miraculously puts him second on the team in goals scored, behind Pierre Turgeon who has 6. This is miraculous because Hartigan is currently only seing around 7 minutes of ice time a game on a line with Daniel Cleary and Brad Richardson. This is also miraculous because Hartigan was close to being dealt to Atlanta prior to the season starting.

    "Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise for me to stay in Florida. GM Otten and Coach Lewis have given me the opportunity here and I'm just trying to make the best of it. Sometimes the puck just rolls the right way for you. I'm hoping I can continue to contribute to this team and that we can start playing more consistent hockey," said Hartigan.

    Another reason for the teams success has been the play of latest acquisition, defenseman Jason Smith. Smith has been paired with Brian Campbell and both have seen their level of play increase. Both are also contributing on the scoresheet. Smith has gone from being -3 with 0 points in 5 games with the Capitals, to being +2 with 1 goal and 3 assists in 6 games with the Panthers. His veteran presence has no doubt helped the defense become a better unit.

    The Panthers look to make it 4 wins in a row tonight as they take on the Lightning and look for revenge on the 3 losses earlier this season. Ray Emery will man the crease again and defenseman Brent Burns is a gametime decision.

    On the prospect front, two Panther prospects have been on fire lately, after very disappointing starts to the season. Kitchener Rangers forward Victor Oreskovich has 12 points in his last 8 games, including 6 goals. His inconsistency has really plagued his junior career so far. Also, after a very successful WJC tournament, forward Felix Schutz seems to have returned to form. After being traded to Val Dor, Schutz now has 6 goals and 4 assists in his last 6 games and really appears to be blossoming into a solid prospect.

    Esteban Santour,
    Florida Post

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