If the Florida Panthers truly believe they have a chance to break their lengthy playoff drought, that journey just got a bit tougher.
On Frozen Pond’s George Richards reports that Panthers center Shawn Matthias will miss six to eight weeks due to a broken ankle suffered in the team’s last game before the All-Star weekend. The semi-good news is that the reported window of time won’t cover the rest of the 2010-11 season, unless he suffers a setback. Still, the injury could keep him on the shelf into the late stages of March, when the Panthers are usually scratching and clawing to stay in the Eastern Conference bubble. (Then they usually end up just a few strides behind the bottom seeds in the playoffs.)
The team won’t be able to use the Matthias injury as a go-to excuse for why they didn’t make the playoffs because he’s only averaging a little less than 12 minutes of ice time per game. Still, the young forward already matched his modest career high of 16 points from last season, so it’s sad to see his moderate progress halted.
Matthias became a member of the Panthers system thanks to a trade that sent Todd Bertuzzi to the Detroit Red Wings in February 2007.