While plenty of core pieces* fled for greener pastures, Florida Panthers fixture Stephen Weiss has been there through thick and (mostly) thin. He’s seen a lot of dark times for the team since becoming a regular, but Sunday presented a rare dilemma: he was a big part of the problem.
Head coach Kevin Dineen benched him for all but two short shifts in the third period of the Boston Bruins’ 4-1 win today. After the game, Dineen told the Miami Herald that Weiss’ recent play made it an easy decision.
“For the last year-and-a-half I’ve looked down — if we are a man short or on the power play — for that number,” Dineen said. “That made it much easier to have him sitting there not part of the equation with the quality of hockey he’s playing right now.”
That’s tough talk about the Panthers’ franchise leader in games played (650).
Weiss has long been labeled a diamond in the rough, largely because of his two-way play. Still, it’s tough to ignore his mediocre 2013 numbers: just four points and 19 shots on goal with a -11 rating in 14 games.
Meanwhile, Florida’s floundering continues; the Panthers have lost five straight at home and seven of eight games overall.
As the franchise brims full of promising prospects and Weiss’ production dwindles, trade rumors continue to swirl. If this keeps up, it might just be best for both sides.
* – Including Sunday opponent Nathan Horton, who won a Stanley Cup with Boston in his first post-Panthers season.