Other than injuries, the sloppiness of the first month of the season, the new rookies around the league, you’d have to say last night’s firing of Gerrard Gallant by the Florida Panthers has caught the most eyes from around the league. On a personal level, I still remember Gallant as a World Class giblet on the 80’s and early 90’s Wings, so anything bad happening to him is always going to bring something of a smile to my face. And yet I can’t get my arms around this one fully.
What we know is that the Panthers have not had much luck with injuries. Huberdeau is still out, Bjugstad has only played five games, and Jussi Jokinen has only played about half the season. That’s half the top six, so no team without elite depth is going to be able to survive that. The Panthers don’t have elite depth (I’m not sure anyone does anymore as the slowing of cap-growth has kneecapped just about everyone). This is nothing new to anyone.
The Panthers have also been bitten by the fact that James Reimer has been terrible, and they really wanted to cede more starts to him from Roberto Luongo due to Bob’s age. That wasn’t the worst idea, but it just hasn’t worked so far in the nine starts he’s gotten.