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Working Out From Foreign Territory

Panthers look to get back on winning track; Howden recalled

Friday, 01.25.2013 / 5:40 PM ET / News
Florida Panthers
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Working Out From Foreign Territory

With what was a rare practice day at the start of this congested season, the Panthers put to good use of their time working on various things at the JetBlue Training Facility at the Saveology.com Iceplex on Friday.

For the Panthers, finding time to practice and work on improving their problem areas has been difficult so far. Saturday's game against Philadelphia will be their fifth of the season in just eight days. That's over a tenth of the season that will be complete come Sunday.

"It is a work in process," said head coach Kevin Dineen to the media following an on and off ice session. "There are areas we have to address every day."

After recording five goals in the opening game against Carolina, the Panthers offense has managed just two goals since in the three games, all of them ending up with the Panthers on the wrong side of the score board. For Dineen and his players, they realize the significance of fixing their deficiencies.

"The good thing about (practicing) is the players are very aware of (the problems) too so they're on board," said Dineen of the problem areas and the early losses. "They want to stop the flow of blood here. We're all on the same page."

Prior to the season, every team said how important a start would be for this season and while playing 10% of their games after Saturday, it's no where close to the end of the season but a 2-3 record sounds a lot better than a 1-4 or 1-3-1 record. Luckily, many of the teams in the Southeast haven't had great starts to the season with the exception for Tampa who is 2-1-0 after three games. Winnipeg is 1-1-1, Carolina is 1-2-0 and Washington has yet to win a game (0-3-0).

After getting off to such a good start last season and leading the division for a majority of the campaign, this season's start definitely has the Panthers on a different level.

"Before the season I think every team and every player in every interview talk about how important the start is," said Dineen. "Now we're in a muck. It's a little bit of foreign territory for us."

The Panthers will hope to the good vibes of last year, starting Saturday night as they host a team that has also struggled early this season in Philadelphia. The Flyers won Thursday night for the first time this season (2-1 over the NY Rangers) after dropping their opening three games.

"I think we had a little bit of consistency over all last year so as for our core group, it's a little bit of foreign territory but that's fine," said Dineen. "We're in it right now and I can assure you that there's no one in Washington, Philly, Carolina and certainly Tampa that feel bad for us.

“It's up to us to straighten this thing out."

It will certainly be a team effort in getting back in the win column, especially if the top line trio is unable to go. Tomas Fleischmann, Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg are all listed as questionable for tomorrow night's game. Fleischmann was cut on the top of this foot during the game against Ottawa on Thursday, Weiss missed the game with a lower body injury and Versteeg has yet to play a game this season with a lower body injury.

"All those players right now are question marks for tomorrow which I look at probably as a good thing because it's not like me coming in here saying Mike Caruso is out six weeks with a broken (arm)," said Dineen. "We're cautiously optimistic that they are going to be short term injuries but they'll be questionable for tomorrow night."

If they're unable to go, Dineen will certainly mix and match lines to get his offense flowing and find the best combinations that will give the team a win.

"Once I have an idea on the injury report like today, things will be up in the air becasue there will be some question marks out tomorrow morning but once those decisions are made, you move forward," said Dineen of the injuries. "Do we miss them? Yeah. We miss them a lot but is there anything we can do about it? No. We get out there and play."


Forward Quinton Howden was called up on Friday night with all of the Panthers injuries and could possibly make his NHL debut on Saturday against the Flyers.

Howden has recorded 19 points (9-10-19) in 41 games for the San Antonio Rampage in his first full professional season.

The 21-year old Oak Bank, MB native was the Panthers third first round pick (25th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. If he makes his NHL debut, he'd be the fourth Panther to make their NHL debut. Forward Jonathan Huberdeau (3rd overall, 2011 NHL Entry Draft) and defenseman Mike Caruso (103rd overall, 2006 NHL Entry Draft) made their debuts against Carolina in the Panthers season opener on Saturday, Jan. 19 while forward Drew Shore (44th overall, 2009 NHL Entry Draft) made his NHL debut on Tuesday, Jan. 22 in Montreal.




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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