The Florida Panthers aren’t accustomed to losing four games in a row. Interestingly enough, that is exactly what they have done. After winning the first game of the shortened 2013 NHL season, they have dropped four straight, not necessarily close, games. What is the problem? Coach Kevin Dineen says that injuries have nothing to do with what is going on. While it is admirable of Dineen not to want excuses made for his team, he must at least privately admit that injuries do have something to do with the Panthers struggles.
The small flashes of good signs have been few and far between so far. They are decimated with injuries to the point of losing their entire first line. That’s bad for any team. Still they do have good players including young Quinton Howden who is being called up to join the wounded Panthers on the NHL ice. Will Dineen be able to right the ship before the season grows too short?
See, that is exactly the problem they are running into. The games are so crunched together because of the shortened season that they barely have time to practice. That might not be bad for a team hitting on all cylinders but for a team struggling to get off of a losing streak, too many games and not enough practices is not good. By the time the injury bug lets go of the team a little bit and they get a few of their needs on defense working better, it might be too late to make a serious playoff run. It might actually be too late already with how short the season is.
The next game is against a team that is their opposite record. The Tampa Bay Lightning are 4-1 to the Panthers 1-4. If Dineen wants his team to build momentum in the positive direction, a good showing against a team that is rolling would be exactly what the doctor ordered. Hopefully they can actually get a little practice time before the drop of the puck on Tuesday night because the time for a rebound in the Panthers season is right now. Time is too short to wait.