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Cats and Dogs and the Great Turnover Machine

March 21, 2019, 10:27 AM ET [1 Comments]
Matt Ross
Florida Panthers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
"It doesn't matter who's scoring. We need to eliminate those bad mistakes and play better defensively against that type of team. We want to win games 2-0 or 2-1, it doesn't matter who's scoring goals." - Alexander Barkov

"The third goal was a turnover that resulted in the back of our the net. We tried to do the right thing, we tried to get it off the glass, but they knocked it down and went the other way. It's the way the bounces are going right now."
- Coach Bob Boughner

These are two different quotes, by two different guys, after the loss to Dallas on Tuesday night.

Barkov's comments nail what's important: playing better defensively and scoring (by whoever) regardless of how many, but but just as long as you're getting the win because that's all that matters.

Boughner's comments are more of the same when it comes to losses - placing blame on things like bad luck, unfortunate bounces, etc...

Again, I like Boughner and think he's a good guy, but it's tough to chalk that game (and many this year) up to bad a bounce or two...especially when the defensive lapses have been a repeating pattern this entire season that it's gotten to the point of us sounding like broken records.

The Panthers are their own worst enemy and probably have the most self-destructive tendencies on the blue line out of any team in the league.

There's no sense in trying to sugar coat it: They're turnover machines and Dallas took advantage of that and a generally weak defense.

There should have been no surprises heading into Tuesday night. The Stars are a desperate team with a good goalie tandem, can play solid hockey and they surrender the least amount of opportunities from the slot. There's a lot of talent on that team that can (and did) take advantage of mistakes.

Potvin said a couple times during the game that there's no need to try and be slick when it comes to getting the puck out of the zone.

He's right.

There's a lot of guys on this team that seem more concerned with making a stylish/pretty play, than just doing the work (regardless of how it looks) to get the puck out of the zone. This squad needs to get an "ugly" mentality when it comes to the back end. It's when you try to do too much, or not the simple play, that you get burned.

While we're on the topic...

Enter: Brady Keeper

The Panthers signed Brady Keeper on Monday night to a two-year, entry-level contract. He's a 22-year old, 6'2" 194-pound defensemen out of the University of Maine.

There's a cool write up about his aboriginal roots and path from a small town North of Winnipeg to the NHL.

Everything I read/see about him shows he has the right attitude and points to him being a good kid and the guys seem to have embraced him - which is great. He's been practicing wit the team and even participated in warm-ups Tuesday night.

According to Dale Tallon:

"Brady is a promising puck-moving defenseman who possesses strong offensive instincts and plays a physical game. He has been a leader for the University of Maine and found success as one of the team's top defenders. We are excited for Brady to join the Panthers."

I really like seeing that he has a physical side. That's something that this Florida team sorely lacks on the back end.

The spot I'm a little concerned about is reading (from different reports) about his offensive game and puck-moving abilities.

I know this is the way the NHL is moving, but I would have loved for the scouting report to have had the "offensive instincts" replaced with "defensive instincts."

I guess my glass half-empty mindset goes to him possibly being another prototypical defenseman of the modern game - one that focuses more on rushing/moving the puck up and playing like a forward and not a defenseman - there's a fair amount of those on the Panthers roster right now.

But I'm excited/curious to see his development and what he can bring. He produced 44 points (13 goals, 31 assists) after two seasons (73 games) with the University of Maine. Prior to that, he played in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League where he was named the league's top defenseman and most valuable player in 2016-17...so there's some things to look forward to here.

Tonight

The Panthers will face off against the Coyotes tonight.

AZ sits at 78 points, which has them in the second wildcard spot in the West. The Cats sit eight points behind Columbus for the second wildcard spot in the East and have nine games left to play.

While I still hold hopes that they can somehow squeeze into that wildcard spot (through some sort of miraculous set of events), at this point in the season, I'm just looking for some development (hopefully) and adjustments that lead to a stronger finish and hint at better play on the horizon for the main area of weakness - defense.

I'm guessing Monty gets the nod again - at least I'm hoping so.

Go Panthers!
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