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Rough Times in Rochester

Roch Remember all those good feelings at the start of the season when the Rochester Americans went weeks without feeling the sting of defeat?

Seems like a long time ago for the Amerks.

Things are getting testy in Rochester as the Americans have been slumping and sliding. Last night, during the Amerks 6-3 loss to Manitoba, fans began chanting derisive chants toward coach Benoit Groulx. There have been much grumbling that Groulx should be fired, but he's an employee of the Panthers -- and that's Florida's call.

Bad news came the other day when Kenndal McArdle injured his shoulder again; word is he is going to have the shoulder operated on which means he's out for the season -- and that hurts the Amerks as well as the Panthers.

Rochester's fortunes seem to mirror those of its parent team these days. The Amerks have lost six of eight -- but thanks to their quick start (unlike the Panthers), Rochester is still expected to make the postseason (again, unlike you know who). Of course, if they keep losing, they could lose their playoff spot as well.

The other day, Amerks beat writer Kevin Oklobzija filed a scathing blog post regarding the Panthers management of the franchise.

Here are some excerpts (link to blog here):

-- Their farm team is doing a nose-dive and no one wanted to see first-hand what’s going on? Do they realize the prospects are showing they don’t know how to win — again.

Oh, wait, DeBoer and company see that every night with the big team.

-- Everyone from the front office and coaching staff should have been here Monday morning, picking the brains of players, interrogating the coaches as to why the Amerks have played so poorly for so long, offering some advice and then sitting back and observing.

And while I’m asking questions, I have another one. How, pray tell, can the goalie coach not be here? And not just this week. Why has he not been here every other week or at least once a month? Has he looked at Alexander Salak’s numbers lately? Has he seen Tyler Plante play since his knee allowed him to return?

Does anyone in Florida care that the collective play of the goalies here is going downhill faster than Clark Griswold’s sled in Christmas Vacation?

I have been dumbfounded since November that the organization’s goalie coach spends the majority of his time with the NHL team. As if Tomas Vokoun needs someone to talk about angles every day.

-- Rochester is not a car ride from South Florida. In some ways, it is a pain for the Panthers brass to uproot itself from the warmth of South Florida and come to Rochester.

It’s not, however, a pain for Jeff Taffe, Shawn Matthias and Victor Oreskovich to get up around 5 a.m. Sunday to catch a 7 a.m. flight (with a connection) to Rochester, and then jump right on a bus and ride 2 1/2 hours to Binghamton to play a 5 p.m. AHL game. That’s not a hardship.

The absence of Florida management this week confirms what I’ve sensed for several weeks: Neither the Amerks, nor the Panthers, are on the road to recovery.

Ouch.

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