If you haven’t noticed, the Florida Panthers are playing some good, tough hockey. Their win over the Penguins last night showed that they’re a team that will keep finding a way to hang around and make things happen and the guy at the heart of it all is Stephen Weiss.
Weiss is the team’s former first-round pick and the one star on the team that didn’t come from out of town. With the team playing well and on the rise and without a captain, it’s time to reward Weiss for time served with some terrible Panthers teams and to be the true face of the franchise.
Coach Kevin Dineen tells the Sun Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov that Weiss is the guy driving play for the team and carrying the load offensively and defensively. I don’t know about you guys, but that sure sounds like the play of a captain to me.
The Panthers are the only team in the NHL without a team captain after Colorado put the “C” on Milan Hejduk. While Dale Tallon and Dineen wanted to see how the host of new players fit in place in Florida before figuring out who the captain would be, the choice has been obvious all along. Rewarding the one guy who’s survived as the team’s lone career Panther makes too much sense to not do it.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Taylor Hall is slumping and it’s his second season in the NHL. What do they call those things again…? (Edmonton Journal)
Calgary’s Paul Byron would like it if the Sabres stopped holding his first NHL goal puck hostage from last season when he was a Sabre. Tough crowd in Buffalo, eh? (Senators Extra)
Make it 6-8 weeks for Scottie Upshall to be out of the Panthers lineup. That didn’t seem to bother them last night thumping Dallas 6-0. (TSN)
The Ducks have their fingers crossed that Niklas Hagman can find his game and help the Ducks snap out of their losing ways. Good luck on both accounts there. (L.A. Times)
NHL concussion numbers are down so far this year? Apparently so. (Toronto Sun)
Scoring first could make all the difference in the upcoming Ducks-Kings home-and-home series. (L.A. Kings Insider)
New Jersey’s Adam Larsson doesn’t think Milan Lucic was gunning for him specifically last night. Don’t tell the Sabres that though. (The Star-Ledger)
Kerry Fraser says diving is still happening and officials can solve that by calling the penalty. Why wasn’t he this vocal when he was a referee? (TSN)
The Sharks are good but they want to get better in the faceoff circle. Just let superhero Joe Pavelski handle this. (CSNBayArea.com)
Former Panther Radek Dvorak says that Stephen Weiss should be Florida’s next captain. But that would make sense, Radek. (Sun Sentinel)
Finally, check out the kick save and a beauty by Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer to help bail out Henrik Lundqvist. (NHL)
It’s none other than Milan Hejduk.
The Avalanche started the season going without a team captain waiting for the season to flesh out a bit and see how things went. Instead of going for a guy like Paul Stastny or aiming for youth with Matt Duchene, they’ve opted to go with the current longest-standing member of the organization in Hejduk.
Hejduk gets the “C” after Adam Foote wore it last season. Foote, of course, was a long time Avalanche defenseman who returned to Denver after spending time away in Columbus. Hejduk has only worn the “A” in the past but now takes the leadership role but Joe Sacco says that Hejduk is the guy that leads by example on and off the ice for the team.
Now if Hejduk has the skills to help the Avs prevent another early season meltdown that leads the Avs to the bottom of the NHL standings, he’ll be worth his merit. As it is, the Avalanche are giving up their first round pick in 2012 to the Capitals thanks to the Semyon Varlamov trade so failure is not be an option.
With the Avalanche naming a captain finally, that leaves the Florida Panthers as the only captainless team in the league. They should probably just name Jason Garrison’s slap shot the team captain there, that’s a force worth paying attention to.