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Luxury Of Having Options

Tuesday, 03.6.2012 / 4:20 PM ET / Panthers Insider
By Glenn Odebralski  -
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Luxury Of Having Options
Forward Jack Skille celebrates his third-period goal to put the Panthers up 4-2 against the Senators on Mar. 4th (Getty Images).
The Panthers have gone through their share of injuries this season.

The injury report, in fact, has been vast as 21 different players have missed a combined 291 man-games heading into Thursday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers (INJURY REPORT).

With that, Kevin Dineen hasn't always had the luxury of playing guys based off of merit. But in the last 20 games of the season or so, he has as Panthers have or are returning from various injuries. While forwards Kris Versteeg and Scottie Upshall and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov are still out for at least this week, Dineen does have the chance to play his forwards based off of their production as well as due to health.

"We have 14 healthy forwards right now so I have options every night," said Dineen following practice at Iceplex on Tuesday. "I wouldn't say that it's always play based but I think I'm looking for the healthiest guys right now."

Dineen feels having extra bodies will help the Panthers immensely down the stretch. Both Marco Sturm and John Madden have been the forwards on the outside looking in but they've been held out do to the play of other forwards.

"Guys are fighting for those spots right now. Whether it's Krys Barch or Jack Skille (they) are doing what they can to stay in the lineup," said Dineen.

And once Versteeg, Upshall and Kulikov return to the lineup, it will present even more players looking to get playing time. That's something that the head coach has to enjoy as he tries to keep the Panthers on top of the Southeast Division.

"It's the only way you can stay now in the lineup," said Dineen. "They can count. it's very easy to figure out bodies are options for us to use. It's a good situation for a coach."


Speaking of the Panthers leading scorer, Dineen said that Versteeg is being considered on a short-term rolling basis in terms of his lower body injury.

"It's a little beyond day-to-day but certainly not considered a long term injury," said Dineen. "We don't expect him for the next couple of games and we'll re-evaluate at that time. We're kind of in that stage right now where we're looking at three and four day increments." is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks and NHL Draft name and logo are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.