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From The Press Box

From The Press Box is a weekly column written by and writer Alain Poupart. Poupart has been covering the Panthers and the NHL for 20 years.

Have a question for Alain? Be sure to ask him through twitter @apoupartFins.

Tomas And Tomas

As goalie Tomas Vokoun faces an uncertain future because of a blood clot issue, Tomas Fleischmann continues to play a key role for the Panthers

Wednesday, 12.04.2013 / 10:30 AM / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  -
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Tomas And Tomas
As goalie Tomas Vokoun faces an uncertain future because of a blood clot issue, Tomas Fleischmann continues to play a key role for the Panthers
Tomas Fleischmann has missed just one game in his two-plus seasons with the Panthers after suffering a blood clot scare while in Colorado (Getty Images)

Among the spectators at the BB&T Center Saturday night for the game against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins was former Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun.

Vokoun was there as a member of the Penguins, although he was dressed in a suit and tie and watched the game from the press box as he continues his recovery from surgery to remove a blood clot from his pelvis.

After the first intermission, Vokoun addressed a small group of reporters and told us he was uncertain about his return to the lineup and even was prepared for the possibility that his NHL career could be over.

Interestingly, one of the players that Vokoun watched that night was Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann, a man with whom he has a lot in common.

Of course, they share the same first name. Plus, both were born in Czechoslovakia. More importantly, both have had to deal with blood clots, a physical issue that goes beyond your normal hockey injury.

Just like a blood clot is threatening to end Vokoun’s career, so it was with Fleischmann when he was a member of the Colorado Avalanche. The health issue was the biggest reason Colorado allowed him to leave as a free agent in the summer of 2011, a decision that already has and continues to benefit the Panthers.

Fleischmann currently is in the middle of his third season with the Panthers and he has missed only one game since joining the team — and that was because of a bout with the flu earlier this season.

More importantly, Fleischmann hasn’t just been available, he’s been productive.

The soft-spoken Czech with the easy smile can fly under the radar at times, but he led the Panthers in scoring each of the past two seasons and led all forwards in average ice time in 2012-13.

“Flash,” as Fleischmann is called, again leads Panthers forwards in ice time and he also was leading the team in scoring before he recently hit a snag. Given his track record, it’s logical to think he’ll pick up the pace sooner rather than later.

Fleischmann recorded an assist against the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night when Jonathan Huberdeau put home the rebound of his one-timer on a 5-on-3 advantage in the first period.

Coach Peter Horachek recently put Fleischmann at the point along with Brian Campbell on the first power-play unit, explaining that “Flash” was a good fit there because he makes good decisions and also because he’s not afraid to shoot.

The numbers certainly bear out the last statement because Fleischmann leads the team with 67 shots this season, 11 more than second-place Brad Boyes. From this vantage point, though, Fleischmann actually still could be shooting more because he seems to always be looking to pass in odd-man situations.

In his one 82-game season with the Panthers, Fleischmann ended up with 27 goals, so the track record is there. One thing for sure, the Panthers will need a significant contribution from him to get back on track.

Fleischmann has always been there and has usually been a factor since he came to Florida. You don’t even hear about his past blood clot issue anymore. Seeing Vokoun and hearing him talk about his situation Saturday night just put into perspective how things have worked out for “Flash” — and the Panthers.





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


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
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
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