From The Press Box


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

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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

Wednesday, 12.4.2013 / 10:30 AM ET / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Tomas And Tomas
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.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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