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Florida Panthers

Trouble in Paradise: Stephen Weiss Out for the Season

uspw_7092108The Florida Panthers have been dealt a heavy blow with the news that forward Stephen Weiss will be undergoing season-ending wrist surgery. Florida GM Dale Tallon broke the news on Tuesday.

The Panthers are currently in the middle of a rough patch, to put it mildly, and the news about Weiss doesn’t help. The GM also addressed the media as to the health of goalie Jose Theodore, who is set to be out about six weeks with a leg injury. At this point, it’s not hard to imagine Tallon throwing up his hands and giving up on this shortened season.

“This is the kicker,” said Tallon as he introduced the news about Weiss. “Not good news…”

The Panthers have the second fewest points in the league going into Tuesday’s contest against the Winnipeg Jets. They have been outscored by 27 goals in 22 games, the worst goal-differential in the league by a long shot.

And now they’ve got Weiss to deal with, who’s set to become a free agent after this season. He’s not expected to re-up with the club, which could mean he’s spent his last games in a Panthers sweater.

Right now, it’s all about moving forward.

“You can’t worry about the uncontrollables,” Florida head coach Kevin Dineen said. “Until guys are back, we’ll move forward…The players we have here understand what our situation is now. I think they’re the right guys to find that step to get us in the right direction.”

The Panthers will throw caution to the wind and give goalie Jacob Markstrom a try in goale. Dineen will give him the starting job in Theodore’s extended absence.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the young man,” Tallon said. “We were hoping to hold off a little bit, but let’s go, let’s see if he can do it. And I believe he can.”

Along with Theodore and Weiss, the Panthers are missing Dmitry Kulikov, Mike Weaver, Ed Jovanovski, and Scottie Upshall. The good news is that Kris Versteeg may be back Friday.

“But that’s part of hockey, part of this condensed season,” Tallon said. “Everybody goes through it and it’s an opportunity for others to show their worth…We’ll find a way to get through this. It’s all you can do. We still have a chance. Kevin and his staff are going to find a way, the players are going to find a way and I’m going to find a way to compete for a playoff spot. Regardless of what the situation is, we’ve got to deal with it.”

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