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Florida Panthers

Team Overview: Despite being hampered with the worst offense in the game, Florida can keep things interesting by playing a close to the vest defensive game carried by Gord Murphy, Gord Hynes, and John Vanbiesbrouck. No matter how good the defense performs, this pathetic core of forwards still has to squeeze some offense out, something they typically don't do.

Forwards: Things are really rough for the Panthers when it comes to scratching out some offense. To further compound problems, the Panthers forwards don't excel defensively either. Forwards are typically the most important ingredient to a successful team, the Panthers can quickly become the worst team in the game if the forwards provide nothing.

The Cone Line:


Andrei Lomakin: 7 weight, 4/3 skating, 3/3 shot, 3 sth, 4 pass, 3/2 aware, Shoots: L

When looking for offense, Lomakin is the man to look to, try not to look for too much offense though because disappointment will follow otherwise. Stunningly enough, Lomakin is the fastest player among the forwards, so it is very tempting to put him in the middle for some one-on-one action. That would be a major mistake though as Lomakin isn't suited to deal with the heavy traffic of the slot on his own and having abysmal speed in the wings will only allow Lomakin to be focused on more easily. While it may be a futile battle in many instances, the best way to utilize Lomakin is to put his plus passing skills to work by creating space on the outside in the offensive zone and then feeding an open shooter. Thankfully Lomakin has an average shot so he can also try to keep the goalie honest when he has the puck, but his lack of pure sniping ability and skating only makes him so useful as a goal scorer.

Brian Skrudland: 8 weight, 4/2 skating, 2/3 shot, 3 sth & pass, 2/4 aware, Shoots: L

Without a doubt, Skrudland is the worst starting center in the league. A lack of speed, shooting ability, weight advantage, and offensive awareness renders Skrudland ineffective more often than not. What makes Skrudland the best center option though is he is the most likely player to finish a rare one-timing chance and he might be able to make a move on an over aggressive defense as his agility can be helpful in that regard. Skrudland and Lomakin is as meager of a 1-2 punch as there is in the league, try to get out to a quick start and let Skrudland do what he does best from there, a slow, grinding, poke checking game.

Mike Hough: 7 weight, 3/2 skating, 3/2 shot, 3 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: L

It was unavoidable, but Hough is the best 2 speed wing option on the Panthers, a fate no other team in the league is forced to deal with. There really isn't a thing special about Hough, he's a middle weight with sub-par skating and shooting skills. The offense shouldn't be flowing through Hough, but at times it must in order to change things up. He is a competent passer and perhaps the Panthers can work a quick passing combination from time to time to create a chance since they can pass the biscuit a bit. Defensively, Hough will have trouble, even with heavyweights since his porous skating will make it difficult for him to get into good checking position.

This line is in for a rough ride, chances will be far and few between and the unit isn't fast or light enough to be a force defensively. It is going to take a lot of skill and patience to be able to work the puck up the ice and get close enough to create a scoring chance which will likely be blown with their awful shooting.

Bum Rush Malaise:


Jesse Belanger: 4 weight, 1/2 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 3/1 aware, Shoots: L

There isn't a whole lot of good that can be said about Belanger other than he is one light mofo. Despite his ability to knock down the opposition, he is still going to bleed chances against because every attribute on Belanger is below average. Certain users do excel with even the most extreme of weight buggers though, so at least Belanger is worth that. On a team with so little talent, he is worth a look.

Hough likely wasn't going to produce much offense, icing Belanger probably wont kill the attack that much more. If he can get involved on defense, it gives the Panthers 2 flyweight options, which no other team can compare with despite their horrible skating. Getting more than 3-4 goals out of this group though is the stuff of legend.

Other Options: Penalties and injuries are bound to happen; we may as well know what we're going to have to deal with when those situations arise.

Dave Lowry: 8 weight, 2/2 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: L

Looks exciting doesn't it? Lowry won't be doing a whole a lot of damage except to your own team on the scoreboard.

Tom Fitzgerald: 8 weight, 2/2 skating, 2/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: R

A right handed of version of Dave Lowry? Just what I've always wanted!

Scott Mellanby: 9 weight, 1/1 weight, 3/3 shot, 2 sth & pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R

That speed has to be a typo right? Nope, the best sniper on the team has 1/1 skating and 9 weight. Try to contain yourself.

Forwards: .5/10

Defense: Man, that forwards section was just downright ugly. Things get better here, I promise. Gord Murphy is a solid blue line option. Mobility! Huzzah! Hynes can throw his weight around if nothing else and the depth isn't league worst.


Gord Hynes: 4 weight, 2/2 skating, 1/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 2/2 aware, Shoots: L

This is extremely similar to what we saw with Belanger, but a defenseman has a little easier time getting away with such a pathetic skating and skill set since they aren't being asked to cover as much ice or score the puck. In his best games, Hynes with his monster checking ability in user mode can make the opponent adjust their game plan or face the consequences of numerous turnovers. Only Don Sweeney is an equal to Hynes body checking ability for defenders, but Hynes takes a bit more know how since his lack of skating makes him a bit harder to handle. Hynes can handle a body check when carrying the puck, but don't get too carried away with him, an experienced player will quickly poke check him and start the counter with the best defender on his keyster.

Gord Murphy: 8 weight, 5/4 skating, 4/1 shot, 3 sth & pass, 2/3 aware, Shoots: R

If Gordon gets hurt, tell the fat lady to get going because the game is as good as over. I know, you might be saying that Gord is at best a #2 d-man on a good team, but we need him to be the man. Welcome to Florida Panther hockey! Murphy brings a refreshing amount of speed and shot power to a roster that can't match him in either category. It is a well known fact that Murphy will have to be used on offense in most situations, so don't be afraid to use him in that regard. Defensively Murphy is fairly standard, not a great body checker, using Murphy's speed and a sound poke check is the key to success. Fairly dopey in AI mode, it is probably best to use Murphy personally as much as possible because he is the most legitimate player the Panthers have in user control.

This is a huge upgrade from the Panther forwards, getting everything possible out of the defense is the key to success here. Murphy and Hynes provide a classic offensive and defensive defenseman combo as both of them have their roles clearly in place.


Stephane Richer: 9 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/2 shot, 3 sth, 2 pass, 3/3 aware, Shoots: R

It is unclear why Richer received such steady ratings as his NHL career didn't amount much more to than a cup of coffee, but I won't complain. Hynes has the tendency to go MOFAPE! on defense or get blown away by faster forwards. Richer might be able to help remedy the problem as he has a bit more mobility to his game. Aside from that, Richer is a standard option that is comparable to Garth Butcher in St. Louis and Doug Lidster in Vancouver.

Richer fits the mold of a defensive defenseman by the most basic terms and thus allows Murphy to wheel and deal on offense. It's just going to take great poke checking and holding ability to turn Richer into a defensive stopper.

Other Options: Sometimes going more than 3 deep is necessary, at least mobility is still an option.

Milan Tichy: 8 weight, 3/2 skating, 2/1 shot, 2 sth & pass, 1/1 aware, Shoots: L

Pitiful awareness, but everything else is manageable in a pinch.

Joe Cirella: 10 weight, 3/3 skating, 3/2 shot, 2 sth & pass, 2/2 aware, Shoots: R

Default starter, pretty tough to start a heavy weight with weak passing skills. But average skating might be able to make up for those weaknesses in spot duty.

Defense: 5.5/10

Goalie Zone: The lone expansion team with an average goalie, the Panthers shouldn't get run out of the building because their goaltender faulted them.

John Vanbiesbrouck: 5 weight, 3/4 skating, 5/5 aware, 3 puck control, 3/4/3/4 save, Catches: L

Beezer further solidifies the defense for the Panthers with goaltending that is on par with league average. But he will need support as he isn't capable of carrying the Panthers to success on his own.

Goalies: 5.5/10

Bottom Line: Ignore the forwards for a moment and the Panthers look like most any other team in the league. If anything...ANYTHING!!! can be provided by the forwards the Panthers can compete. It's just too bad that forwards are the most important position in '94 and the Panthers tend to get their heads handed to them because of it.

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Couldn't be said any better. Another thing that really hurts the Panthers' forwards is their porous stickhandling. There aren't many who can pick up the puck after a pass and a fumbled pass can cause a turnover just as devastating as one made after someone's knocked on his keister. Since I'm a stickler for stickhandling, it makes it difficult to generate a good offense when you're making a lot of passes to create chances to score.

The only guys that keep the Panthers from falling into the dredges of hockey hell are the Gords and the Beezer. Lomakin is the only guy decent enough to warrant a start with this team and forward depth in GDL.

As usual, nice humor in there!

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  • 8 months later...

Underrated team. Has a living legend on 2nd line. His name is Bill Lindsay. Absolutely the best player in OT in the whole game. Once scored three or four in OT during a best of seven. Jesse Belanger has good chemistry with him, usually pays of to keep Hough t lw. Skrudland is an ok scorer and has some checking ability. He plays the first line with Gilhen at lw and Mellamby rw. Mellanby can bury the puck from close range and gets into good positions when you cycle the puck in the offensive zone. Lomakin is quite rubbish, he's usually offside, but can explode points wise sometimes, rarely though. Fitzgerald? Never on the scoreboard. Not much to say about Lowry either, he's a poor mans Lindsay at best.

Defence is quite modest. Godynuyk is good all around, Cirella is ok when he stays out of the penalty box. Murphy can't score, always shoots 10 feet wide. Tichy is solid, Hynes has a good shot, can throw his body around, 2nd best D in this team. Richer has his days but normally has problems.

Beezer is a cornerstone in this team, absolutely.

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  • 3 years later...

CB Notes


Andrei Lomakin: No hope has been restored for anyone looking to use Florida as Lomakin is still the only viable forward option to be found. A slight downgrade is likely in store as Lomakin doesn't have the requisite speed or agility to keep CB checkers at bay and the majority of weight buggers will still be able to get in his face to disrupt his game. It will take some very crafty play to maintain Lomakin's already modest offensive production.

Brian Skrudland: 2 speed will just never cut it up front and even with Skrudlands new found ability to CB check anyone 6 weight or less, who is he really gonna cut down with such pitiful mobility? Regardless of the reduced effectiveness, Skrudland is the only real option in the middle for Florida because of his shooting ability.

Mike Hough: With Belanger all but becoming useless, Hough is the Panthers third forward by default. His passing will remain adequate but the rest of his game is liable to be taken advantage of and it can only be hoped that he finds a way to contribute on defense in some manner.

Jesse Belanger: In a pure weight bug battle Belanger may still have a chance to be useful. Fact of the matter is that he is the worst weight bug forward in the game and he is not likely to provide a net gain.

Scott Mellanby: It is puzzling to me how he happened to kill a rat in the locker room with his worthless speed. CB checking wont be of much use as the 1 speed easily offsets the 9 weight. Still the teams best shooter and may just need to be iced if for no other reason.

Rest of the roster: Middleweight garbage, dont bother with it.


Gord Hynes: No one else on the roster screams out enough to warrant booting Hynes from the starting pair. His skill set can be ignored because he continues to compliment Murphy in the most efficient way possible. Just be sure to find an outlet option as soon as possible as Gord has no business hanging onto the puck.

Gord Murphy: As if Muprhy didn't already have enough responsibilities on his plate, his upgraded checking power will only heap more onto it as he will now be expected to thwart the elite forwards in the league such as Roenick and Bure with more aplomb. Murphy has morphed into an unquestioned #1 defender in the league and his deployment in user mode is only further suggested.

Stephane Richer: "The other one" as I like to say should continue to be the first man off the bench as Hynes weight bug checking is a necessary element in the starting lineup. Keep Richer in mind if facing a super light weight team with players that Hynes can't body check as the upgrade in skating and puck movement will be helpful.

Milan Tichy: No longer a suitable 4th defender as his fellow D-men have all surpassed him.

Joe Cirella: Average skating and 10 weight puts Cirella in essentially the same class as Richer. Over the long run both options will perform essentially the same.

Bottom Line:

In the biggest of upsets, Florida's front line has found a way to become even worse as none of their forwards benefit from the introduction of the CB check on either end of the ice. This puts more onus on the defense which has indeed received some small upgrades but it will have its hands full fighting their own forwards along with the opponents forwards.

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  • 3 years later...

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