The Wednesday Wake-Up Call is where we pick a struggling player and kindly ask him to SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY. COME ON. YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS!
Stephen Weiss, C, Florida Panthers
Key stats: Hasn’t scored a goal since Dec. 5.
Cap hit: $3.1 million annually.
First, let’s begin on the rare positive note (this feature is called the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, after all) — Weiss recently became Florida’s all-time assists leader with 232, surpassing Olli Jokinen and a host of other forgettable Panthers, including Robert Svehla.
That’s about all he’s done lately, though.
For a guy that’s basically the face of the franchise — he needs just 15 more appearances to become Florida’s all-time leader in games played — Weiss has done little to keep Florida atop the Southeast Division. He’s goalless in his last 15 games, recording just five assists over that stretch, and the Panthers’ record during that time is 5-5-5. They’ve gone from holding a healthy lead over Washington in the division to being just one point up on the Caps heading into tonight’s action.
To be fair to Weiss, his linemates aren’t exactly helping him battle through the slump. Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann have been invisible of late and recently drew the ire of head coach Kevin Dineen, who benched Versteeg last Friday against Pittsburgh and cut the ice times of both Weiss and Fleischmann.
All that said, this should be Weiss’ team. He’s 28 years old, the longest-tenured Panther, in the midst of his 10th season and one of four alternate captains (the Panthers don’t have a captain), an honor he said he “takes pretty seriously“.
So wake up, Stephen Weiss. Your team needs you.