No Red Lights: Hockey: Surprisingly, Florida Has Goaltending This Year - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Surprisingly, Florida Has Goaltending This Year

I can't believe that I'm actually writing about the Florida Panthers, but when they torch your team twice, some respect should be given. The Panthers first take the battle of Florida in a nail biting shoot out. Bergeron on defense blasted a few nice goals, one of which was beautifully screened and Theodore had no chance on. But he came back strong in OT and in the shoot out. To let a team rally back from behind to take the game into overtime and a shoot out, but then win in a shoot out is a great win. The ability to fight against the rising momentum of the other team is a huge mental challenge. One that I'm not sure Theodore has always beat in the past.

So let's look at reasons why Theodore seems to be working in Florida. First, there's the personal reason. After sharing the net in Minnesota and having less than favorable seasons in Washington, the Panthers should be a welcomed respite from those other fan-crazed cities, especially the time in Montreal. South east Florida is just a chill place. No one follows sports and definitely not hockey with as much fervor and passion as Minnesota or Montreal. The pressure to succeed is not nearly as high as in Washington where there were hopes of a Cup. The Panthers were just happy to not fall in last place. Also, he's part of a huge recruitment class for the Panthers during last off-season. So the setting for personal perseverance is ripe for success.

Another reason for the quick start may be the workload. Ask almost any goalie out there and they'll tell you, they'd rather see more shots than less. It's much easier to save 30 shots than it is to save 15 during a whole game (or least to have a better save percentage). This tends to be because it's easier to stay focused if you constantly have to be focused. With ten minute lapses between action, it's harder to stay sharp. Look at Vokoun, he was a rock star for a number of years with Florida. Or also Luongo - the guy saw 35+ shots nightly and was pretty darn great. But over in Vancouver, sometimes 18 shots are just too much.

Whether it's the hot climate, the workload or the renewed vigor of the Panthers, this club can be dangerous when their goalie is on fire. They've shown that they can put the puck in the net this season - and seem to be so comfortable that they're willing to trade the promising Booth (for a nifty goal-scorer in Samuelson I might add). So as much as it pains me to say that the battle for Florida belongs to the Panthers, I must tip my hat to this feisty team.