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McFarland Battles Adversity Head On

Thursday, 08.2.2012 / 3:00 PM ET / News
By Jordan Littlejohn  - FloridaPanthers.com
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McFarland Battles Adversity Head On
Forward John McFarland (Photo Credit: Valerie Wutti/blitzenphotography.com)

For a lot of the Panthers prospects Development Camp was a golden opportunity to make a name for themselves. For right winger John McFarland however, it was a much different experience.

McFarland underwent shoulder surgery in February, making him unable to finish his season with the Ottawa 67’s, and unable to practice with his fellow prospects at development camp at the beginning of July.

“It was a long couple of months, and obviously the first six weeks were the toughest being in a sling,” said McFarland who recorded 24 goals with 26 assists in 49 games in a season split between Saginaw and Ottawa. “But everything’s going well now. I feel great and I feel actually like I haven’t in a couple of years.

“It feels good and I’m looking forward to camp in September.”

When McFarland tore his shoulder in early February, it was a very rough time for him. But this was not the first time that McFarland had experienced hardship in his hockey career. He’s already been traded twice in his young career and that followed his draft experience.

It is no secret that the 2010 NHL Draft didn’t go as McFarland planned. For much of his hockey career, McFarland was striving to be a first round pick, but to many people’s surprise that was not the case, especially with the talent that the forward possesses. However, this did not put him down for long; in fact it only motivated him to work that much harder.

McFarland knew that he had to prove a lot of people wrong, that he was first-round pick material, and that he had what it takes to be a successful NHL player. And although he was disappointed at first, he was really happy with the way everything turned out in the end. He wouldn’t be in Florida if he hadn’t dropped out of the first round, and McFarland is happy that he did.

The Richmond Hill, Ont. native believes that his speed and his shot are the two things that will allow him to “crack the lineup soon”, and advance him to the next level. However he admitted that there are a lot of things he needs to work on as well.

“If you’re not in the NHL, then it’s every part of your game that you want to get better in, and make sure you get to the next level,” he said. “So right now I’m focusing on everything and trying to get better in each and every area.”

Playing hockey is McFarland’s life and he is going to do everything it takes to enhance his game and his consistency. He believes that the most rewarding thing about playing hockey is coming to the rink every day and hanging out with the guys. In his eyes, hockey is not much of a job, and that there is no better feeling than being around your teammates.

In 2008, at age 16, McFarland made his OHL debut with the Sudbury Wolves. Playing hockey at this level at a very young age would seem as an intimidating experience to most, but for the forward it was something he was very much prepared for. When it was his time to advance to the next level, hockey had already been his life for a very long time, and he just knew it was something he was going to do.

One of McFarland’s proudest hockey moments was when he was named captain at the Ivan Hlinka U-18 tournament, in which he scored four goals and added an assist.

“It was awesome. Anytime you get to wear the ‘C’ for your country and to play for your country alone is an honor,” said McFarland. “We were able to win gold too, which was nice. It was a good feeling, and like I said it was an honor. It was something I’ll never forget.”

McFarland is a determined, aspiring NHL player that does not let things such as his shoulder injury and being dropped in the first round of the draft get in the way of his dreams.

The forward hopes to come back strong during pre-season camp as he tries to bounce back from injury and all the adversity that has come his way.




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

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