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Florida Panthers Notes: Michael Frolik Benched vs. Senators, Others on Notice ... Tomas Vokoun Returns ... Denis Potvin Returns Home

FrolikboOTTAWA -- Pete DeBoer is sitting the struggling Michael Frolik in his latest effort to try and get more out of his sputtering offense.

Despite starting the season on the top line, Frolik has just two assists.

"We need more out of him,'' DeBoer said. "We can't wait 30 games. It's been seven and I think he's had a couple good ones. He's not alone in that group. You have to start somewhere and we need him to be better.''

A kick in the rear, Pete?

"You would hope so,'' he said. "That's the message. He has some character, some pride. I think he'll respond the right way. It's not all production; I can live with lack of production if you are creating opportunities and they aren't going in. For me, the opportunities have slowed to a trickle. That's the symptom I'm concerned about and have to fix.''

A Deboer2 s far as Frolik going from the top line to the fourth line to the press box, DeBoer explained it as a process.

"It's stages,'' he said. "You can't complain about opportunity.''

Said Frolik: "Obviously it's hard. We lost and the coaches need to make some changes. I've tried to play hard and do the things I need to. Sometimes I didn't score. They expect goals from me and I haven't scored. I just have to play hard, try hard. The season is long. Hopefully I'll get a bounce and be back in the lineup and be good for this team. Hopefully it's going to come.''

Obviously, as DeBoer says, Frolik isn't alone.

Chris Higgins has zero points despite having plenty of chances on the top lines. Stephen Weiss has a goal and two helpers. Mike Santorelli has two assists.

"It's been a tough start,'' said Higgins. "I'm more concerned with the other aspects of my game than the statisitics. Those will come. I just have to sharpen up other parts of my game and go from there.''

Matthias Shawn Matthias, who a goal and an assist, was healthy enough to play Tuesday in Toronto. DeBoer confirmed that Matthias was held out of the lineup because of his play and not his injury. I think the foot injury did have something to do with it, and another day off it didn't hurt anything.

"The message to him today at the skate was 'you were out of the lineup in Toronto for a reason','' DeBoer said.

DeBoer also pointed out that players like Frolik and Higgins haven't responded despite their opportunity on the higher lines. Rostislav Olesz, now on No. 1 with Booth and Weiss, has.

"He's moved his way back up while others have moved down or out,'' DeBoer said. "I think the message is pretty clear. Take advantage of your opportunity and make it so you can't come out of the lineup.''

-- Tomas Vokoun is back in net for the Panthers after sitting out Tuesday's game in T.O.

Denis -- Former Panthers television voice Denis Potvin sends his best. He looks good and is happy. For all the grief everyone gave Michael Yormark and the Panthers for letting him go two years ago, you know what? It all worked out.

Denis says he couldn't be happier.

"I'm home, finally,'' he said.

Potvin grew up around here and has seen many old friends since returning. He seems to be really enjoying himself. The sad part: Potvin's mother died in March. Potvin got the Sens gig in July.

"She would have really loved this,'' Potvin said.

Nflflag -- DeBoer would like a coach to have the opportunity to challenge a call and have them reviewed, but knows the NFL approach to having a coach throw a red flag probably won't work because a hockey game usually doesn't stop for that opportunity.

"You have to back the clock to the last stoppage and then look at what happened in between,'' DeBoer said. "It's not as easy as saying lets just throw a rule in.''

(Above picture shows what it might look like for a 'Panthers' coach to throw in a challenge flag during a game.)

Comments

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This goes to show you that the Panthers don't have enough talent up front, we jsut don't have the talent for a top line. DeBoer can do all the benching he wants, the guys are working hard, put were overrated by the panthers.

Hope Tallon can address next year.

I miss Potvin on our telecasts. I enjoyed watching and listening to him, as he is one of the greats in his current position as he was on the ice.

Ottawa's gain is our loss. Best of luck Denis!

Potvin was/is the man!

Heckuva nice guy and never afraid to tell it like it is. I always thought of him as Bob Ueker in "Major League"

another great move by Yormark getting rid of the teams best announcer

Get off the glue DeBoer! You don't have enough talent in your roster to be benching Frolik. You sound like Wilson in TO, where you take ignorant shots at the only star players that you have. Come on, Bernier, old-timer Stillman, Higgins, and Reinprecht should be way below in the depth chart. Stop benching the future of the panthers and bench the old vets that should know how what winning is! Frolik, Weiss, Booth are our only star players. Pad on the back instead of kicking them in shins. Otherwise, you'll be the first coach out!!

Denis Potvin was the sign of class for the Panthers even through these lean years. Yormark wanted him to knock on doors to sell tickets. Hope Yormark gets run over by a zamboni.

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