As if the beating by Ottawa wasn’t enough, now we have Covid!

I have finally sobered up after shotgunning a bottle of JD watching the piss poor performance that was Tuesday night’s game versus Ottawa.

Being someone with a pretty decent hockey knowledge, I know you don’t win every game and sometimes you just come out flat; however, 8-2 was painful

Tuesday night was a perfect storm for the Panthers to lay a goose egg.

First of all, they were fresh off of a week-long road trip that had them playing 2 dominant teams in the Western Conference. They took the Blues to OT and played a Stanley Cup favorite in Colorado to a goal. Both are credible losses and nothing to hang your head on.

On top of that, the Cats are playing without their captain and arguably one of the best players in the NHL, Aleksander Barkov. Barky is playing right around a point per game; however, his greatest strength is in his two-way game. He plays the game the right way and in both zones. On top of that, he contributes big minutes to special teams.

Besides Barkov, the Panthers were missing Lomberg, Marchment, Forsling, and Mamin. While those are not Barkov caliber threats, they each contribute in their own way inclusive Mamin who was catching fire the last few games.

Factor in a Tuesday night game against a team with a sub .500 record, it is hard to get up for every game. Playing 82 games a year, you are destined to have an off night.

And I am not taking away anything from the Senators as they have been hot winning 5 of their last 6 games inclusive of shutting out the reigning Cup champs in Tampa Bay.

I do not want to dive in to the game too much as it can be best put as the Cats shit the bed. Plain and simple. They took their ass whipping and now have to move on to tonight’s game against LA.

This being said, I did want to share my opinion on a few things.

First of all, I read the comments and postings in the Panthers Facebook fans groups. How quickly you guys are to turn on the team and/or players.

Spencer Knight is 20 years old and had a bad game. Take a deep breath and chill out. Are you perfect every day? Does your shit smell like roses? If the answer is no, then calm your tits!

Was it Knight’s best performance of the year? Of course not. But was he left out to dry by the team in front of him? Yes!

You guys act like Knight was letting everything in on purpose. Sure, there were a few softies in their and he mishandled the puck in a few instances; however, he is a rookie and this is his first full season.

On top of that, the team is playing bad and he is getting lit up worse than my secretary at the company Christmas party! Frustration plays a big part in to the mental aspect.

As a goalie, I can say first hand that you start playing over aggressive and trying to do things you wouldn’t normally do because you are frustrated as hell.  He did it and got burned a few times. End of story.

To follow that up, to those of you saying fire Brunette after leaving Knight in the game, shut the hell up. Sometimes you got to let the kid battle through the game. He is a rookie and has not gotten a lot of playing time. Let him fight through it.

Furthermore, as a coach, he sees the team is playing flat. What good will it do to yank Knight and put in Bob? The team is not going to turn it around.

Plus, you have the Kings in town 48 hours later in a game which I assume you want to use Bob. So why risk injury, shaking a goalie’s confidence, or anything else when you have to take in to account the schedule ahead.

If you play youth hockey where there are only 1-2 games per week then sure; however, this season is an 82-game grind. Sometimes you have to just eat it and take the L to preserve the best interest of the team.

Additionally, with the signing of Jonas Johansson from the Avalanche, it will allow the Panthers to send Knight down to the AHL.

And no, I don’t think he deserves to be sent down or he is not an NHL caliber goalie. How do you get better at something? You do it over and over again.

Bobrovsky is clearly having a bounce back year and will most likely start about 65-70% of the games for the Panthers. Where would Knight get the most professional experience? Sitting behind Bob in the NHL or playing the majority of the games for the Checkers in the AHL?

It is amazing how quickly fans forget that players used to have to work there way up through the minors and it is only a recent trend for a guy to leave college or juniors and go straight to the NHL.

If the Cats truly believe that Knight is the goalie of the future, then let him go down to the AHL, get the majority of the games, develop, and then take over.

I am not saying in any way, shape, or form that Knight is not up to the NHL challenge or that Johansson is a better tender. But with Bob’s game bouncing back and the depth the Panthers have in net, it would not be bad to let Knight have a season or two in Charlotte. Look at how that panned out for Nedeljkovic.

More Sad News

As if taking the ass whipping on Tuesday was not bad enough, yesterday it was released that Bennett, Gudas, Montour, and Verhaeghe will be out under Covid-19 Protocol.

Between injuries and the rise of Covid, the Panthers will be playing without their greatest strength, their roster depth.

Both Bennett and Verhaeghe have been contributing offensively and Gudas and Montour are a very solid 2nd defensive pairing.

They have not released the expected lines for the Panthers in tonight’s matchup; however, it will be interesting to see how they can hobble together a solid 4 lines and 3 defensive pairings with this spotty roster.

Although, it could be a good opportunity for guys to get their callup and shine, much like the Ottawa players have been doing.

The Kings are going to be a difficult battle having come off of an overtime loss to Tampa. While they are not the powerhouse who won 2 Stanley Cups in the early 2010’s, they are still above .500 and have a lot of talent between Brown, Kopitar, and Doughty.

Hopefully the Cats can hold the ship steady while the boys get healthy and not use this as an excuse to spiral.

As always Panthers fans, in Zito we trust!

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