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Features

Fleischmann's Journey Includes Masterton Nomination

Monday, 03.19.2012 / 3:49 PM / Features
By Alain Poupart  - NHL.com Correspondent
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Fleischmann\'s Journey Includes Masterton Nomination
Tomas Fleischmann, announced as Masterton Trophy nominee, ranks first on the Southest Division-leading Panthers with 52 points.
Forward Tomas Fleischmann has already surpassed his previous career high of 51 points (2009-10). The Panthers forward has notched 52 points in 71 games with the club.
SUNRISE, Fla. -- There was never much doubt about Tomas Fleischmann's hockey skills. His nickname of "Flash" might have come about because of his last name, but it also applies whenever he shows off some of his deft stickhandling and playmaking ability.

Now, the only question with Fleischmann when he became a free agent this past summer was whether he'd be healthy enough to play after he was sidelined by blood-clotting issues in each of the past two seasons.

Yet, the Florida Panthers were confident enough that they signed him to a four-year, $18-million contract July 1. The move, questioned by some analysts, clearly has been a positive for a team poised to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

Fleischmann, announced Monday as the team's nominee for the Masterton Trophy, ranks first on the Southest Division-leading Panthers with 52 points and he's tied for first with Kris Versteeg in goals with 22.

"I've had one conversation with him about (Fleischmann's medical condition) and it was at training camp and he was very matter-of-fact and comfortable with talking about it and did not foresee it as being an issue moving forward," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "There was a little bit of a leap of faith by Dale (Tallon) to show the commitment that he did, but obviously it's been well worth it."

Fleischmann returned this season after being a diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism last January, a condition that caused him to miss Colorado's final 36 games.

Before he was sidelined, Fleischmann had recorded 21 points in 22 games for the Avalanche, which had acquired him a trade from Washington in late November.

Fleischmann missed the first 10 games of the previous season (2009-10) after he developed a blood clot in his leg during a flight home to the Czech Republic the previous summer.

"When I was with him in Washington and he wasn't playing, those are serious problems," said 2010 Masterson Trophy winner Jose Theodore, who played with Fleischmann with the Capitals. "As players, we were wondering whether he'd be able to solve those. When you're talking about health issues and you're dealing with the blood and things like that, you think about his health first. I was starting to think it was taking a long time.

"After I read he went to Denver and was still having problems, you start thinking that maybe hockey is secondary and he should think about his health. To see, knock on wood, that he's healthy and he's able to perform the way he is, it's a great sign of determination."

Fleischmann said doctors told him after he had the blood clot in his leg that he might not be able to play hockey again, but tests later determined he was good to go as long as he took blood thinners.

The speedy forward said the problem last January occurred after he stopped taking the medication "because the blood looked perfect."

Now, Fleischmann is back to taking blood thinners and he also wears compression pants whenever he's on a plane.

Tomas Fleischmann
Left Wing - FLA
GOALS: 22 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 52
SOG: 189 | +/-: -7
"I knew there was no problem, that I should be playing hockey," Fleischmann said after the Panthers' practice Monday. "I was just hoping that someone would trust doctors and me. Florida did, that's why I appreciate it."

With an assist in Saturday night's 3-2 shootout victory against Buffalo, Fleischmann surpassed his career high of 51 points, set in 2009-10 when he had 23 goals and 28 assists for the Capitals.

He's been one of the most consistent offensive performers on a revamped Florida team that appears headed for its playoff appearance since 2000.

"We went through a streak where we weren't having success on the ice, but he just kept sticking out on the ice," Dineen said. "Whenever he was on the ice, he was our one guy that was still a real legitimate offensive threat. He's done a good job on that front."

Fleischmann also has been a welcome addition off the ice.

He's pretty reserved when talking to reporters, but his teammates portray him as quite the comedian.

"He's awesome," said center Shawn Matthias. "He's very likable, he's funny, I think he's from a different planet almost. He's pretty quirky. He's full of energy. He's a great teammate, he works really hard. He's in the weight room every day. He's just a hard-working guy and he deserves whatever he gets."

Said Theodore: "It's fun to see him healthy and playing. Everybody can see he's a good player. I saw him in Washington, but now that the other players, the fans and the media, everybody can see the talent this player has."

Author: Alain Poupart | NHL.com Correspondent

UPCOMING EVENTS

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
 
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