While you guys were making your way around the internet yesterday, I'm sure you noticed that NHL.com featured the Florida Panthers as part of their 31 in 31 feature - where they break down each team for the upcoming season.
They talk about a lot of the things we've discussed numerous times these past few months and I found myself agreeing with the majority of their points - especially the comments about Ekblad.
The thing I didn't agree with was their point about Bob giving the defense the ability to "activate" more, citing that Bob would give them the confidence to do so.
Maybe I'm misinterpreting their point, but I take the word "activate" in offensive terms, and I think a lot of the problem last year was the defense trying to activate too much offensively - rather than focusing on their defensive responsibilities. Guys were rushing up a lot and getting caught in the offensive zone. That, combined with the fact that they were pretty defensively inept and lack of direction, made for a bad combination.
If anything, Im hoping Bob will help give the defense a calming effect to help them better perform their duties. I think they knew they were bad last year and went out every night with the fear of making mistakes because those blunders could have a high percentage to lead to goals with the streaky netminding behind them. Bob hopefully takes that pressure off and frees them up to execute Q's defensive scheme.
PrHockeyTalk.com got in on the Panthers Day festivities and posted a number of good reads, too:
With all the hype and expectations, there is a ton riding on this season. Loading up the coaching staff and being active in the offseason has all added to the this "all in" sort of gamble feel that I really like. I think they have incredible potential, but, truth be told, I'm still not sold on the defense and lack of moves to address that area.