The beginning of the Florida Panthers' 2008-09 season has been nothing short of utter disappointment. From terrible puck possessions to injuries left and right it seems this season will be more of the same.
I must admit, in the off-season, I was quite excited by the solid acquisitions Jacques Martin made. It seems this team lacks the heart to be among the NHL's contenders. Aside from great efforts from Keith Ballard, Nick Boynton, Cory Stillman and David Booth it seems no one else seems to be interested in making the playoffs.
Scoring only 2.2 goals a game when going against mostly back-up goaltenders is a disgrace. Goaltenders Pekka Rinne, Erik Ersberg, Alex Auld and Ondrej Pavelec have looked like all-stars against the Panthers' laughable offense.
The biggest problem at this point has been the power-play. The Panthers have not been able to maintain possession of the puck and have lacked any true offensive attacks. The return of Bryan McCabe should help the power-play, but the struggles of Jay Bouwmeester and Nathan Horton will have to end if they want to make this league worst power-play better.
Injuries have always been a problem for the Panthers. Injuries to Bryan Allen, Bryan McCabe, Cory Murphy and Cory Stillman have hurt the chemistry between the Panthers' skaters. The Panthers cannot use the injury bug as an excuse. No team in the NHL is 100 percent, it's the good teams that win despite injuries look at the Carolina Hurricanes over the years.
Things are definitely going to have to change, as this team is simply not getting it done. General Manager Jacques Martin threatens change and I hope he does make changes. I feel it is paramount that Martin trades Bouwmeester now, the longer he waits the less value he will get back for the defenseman who clearly wants to leave.