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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 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31


N. Bjugstad 45 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 45 6 21 5 27
J. Huberdeau 42 8 17 1 25
J. Jokinen 44 4 21 -2 25
B. Boyes 43 10 11 2 21
J. Hayes 37 13 7 -1 20
S. Bergenheim 34 7 9 1 16
A. Barkov 34 5 9 -5 14
T. Fleischmann 38 5 8 9 13
V. Trocheck 28 4 9 6 13
R. Luongo 17 11 8 .920 2.43
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96 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 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 © 1999-2015 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.