-- See that picture to the left? That's Ville Koistinen in happier times. You know, playing, scoring, winning?
Seems like last season.
Signed as a free agent defenseman on July 1, Koistinen spent the preseason playing defense.
But for Florida's opener against Chicago in Helsinki, Koistinen was put with the forwards, a move that was thought to be a short-term answer. He's been there ever since.
And he isn't playing much. In five recent games, Koistinen has played fewer than 10 shifts with less than nine minutes of ice time. Saturday, Koistinen got two shifts even though the Panthers were shorthanded with the loss of Gregory Campbell.
Pete DeBoer today: ''He's a defenseman. We had six healthy defensemen,'' DeBoer said. ''I've been playing him as a forward because I've had to piece together a lineup. But he's not a forward, it's not his natural position.
DeBoer said Koistinen was benched during Saturday's game because ''I made the decision he couldn't help us. It was that simple.''
-- DeBoer said he is hopeful Campbell will return to the lineup on Thursday after the center took a hard slap shot to the face. Campbell spent most of the second half of the game being examined and stitched up – all in full uniform so he could return to the game if given clearance by the medical staff. He was not granted permission to return. Campbell was being examined by Florida medical staff on Sunday.
''We want to make sure there are no fractures,'' DeBoer said. ''It was a significant cut. He had damage to his teeth. If he can eat, hold down food, he's going to try and play. We know he wants to play, but we have to make the decision whether he will or not. He'll go out there hurt.''
-- Scott Clemmensen had a rough day yesterday, you know, giving up five goals in the third and all.
He was very critical of the Florida defense after the game and DeBoer basically said today that Clemmensen can voice his own opinions.
Does DeBoer buy it?
-- Panthers back on the Incredible Ice tomorrow at 10:30. Should be interesting.