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Pete DeBoer: Dancing With Goalies ... Scott Clemmensen to Start (again) Vs. Devils

Deboer Good afternoon. It's good to be back. Thanks to David J. Neal and Adam Beasley for covering the Panthers for me the past few days as I took a few days off. That was nice.

Came back to work on Saturday and found myself in the middle of a so-called goalie controversy in Sunrise.

But is it?

Tomas Vokoun found it strange that he was benched in favor of Scott Clemmensen on Thursday after Vokoun and the Panthers beat the Capitals 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday night.

Vokoun was also a little surprised to not be the starting goalie Saturday as Clemmensen will go against his former team as the Devils come to town riding a two-game winning streak (both wins came against Tampa Bay).

Coach Pete DeBoer said today that one reason Clemmensen is getting the start is because he has been good against the Devils. Last year, Clemmensen went 2-0 against his former teammates, stopping 68 of 72 shots. That's two goals a game – DeBoer's so-called magic number for the Panthers to win.

I would not be surprised to see Vokoun in net against the Thrashers on Monday.

Vokouncelebrate “He's going to get back in there again and has to respond the right way,'' DeBoer said of Vokoun. “I have no question that he will. We've been in this situation before. He and I have done this dance before. I know he has character and work through it. He'll come back better. He always does.''

As far as Vokoun goes, he didn't come out and rip anyone today, but he definitely had some pointed remarks.

On being pulled after the Washington win, Vokoun basically said the same reasoning should apply to Clemmensen. As it was explained to him, DeBoer didn't like some of the goals he let in against the Capitals. Well, Vokoun reasoned, they shouldn't be happy with the goals Clemmensen gave up against the Preds on Thursday.

“Well, the Panthers won that game,'' the reasoning would go.

“Well, the Panthers won Tuesday as well yet I got the bench,'' Vokoun may reason back.

Here's the real Vokoun: “I can totally understand it, and wouldn't raise a question if we had lost the [Capitals] game or had I played bad – if we won 8-7 or something. You play one of the best teams in the league and you win, then you get questioned about one play or one goal. The same thing happened last game. You know what? It's not the first time I've been in this situation since I've been here. It's happened a few times over the past few years''

Here's DeBoer: “Whether you like the goals against or not, the fact is, if we give up more than two goals in a night, we're going to have trouble winning. In the starts he's had, he's been able to keep it to two or under and give us a chance. That's the type of team we are.

“It's not the bad goals that I'm as worried about. It's the timeliness of the goals. It's the saves and keeping it to the magic number. It's no secret we're not a high scoring team. If we're giving up three or more in a night, we're going to have trouble winning games.''

Anyway, lots of good stuff from DeBoer and Vokoun today.

TOMAS VOKOUN

“You just have to deal. I'm definitely not at the end of the road. I'm happy for Clemmensen, he gets to play too. There's nothing wrong with that.''

IS IT PLAY-ME OR TRADE-ME?

“It's not like that. If I wanted to be traded, it's not going to be because of this. This happens everywhere to everyone.

“I think it's a little strange how it happened to me, at least. If you win the game, it's not usual [to be benched.]

“As you go through your career, you're not going to play in every game or always going to agree with every decision. But one of the reasons I've been around the league as long as I have is because I understand that and deal with that. It's time for me to practice good, work on my game and have fun. You know, the pressure is not on me. Let someone else carry it. You may find it's not as easy as it looks.''

ON THE TIMING OF HIS BENCHING (ESPN REPORTS TEAM AND VOKOUN'S AGENT TALKING ABOUT EXTENSION)

Vokoun “Strange timing or not. I think it's stranger how it happened more than the timing.

“I can totally understand it, and wouldn't raise a question if we had lost the [Capitals] game or had I played bad – if we won 8-7 or something. You play one of the best teams in the league and you win, then you get questioned about one play or one goal. The same thing happened last game. You know what? It's not the first time I've been in this situation since I've been here. It's happened a few times over the past few years.

“My conscience is clean and clear. I come every game, prepare the best I can. That's basically, from my perspective, is all you can ask of someone. It is what it is after that.''

WOULD YOU LIKE TO STAY IN FLORIDA?

“I do like it here. This is a decision that has to be made. I haven't seen any offers. It's a decision based on a reaction – if I see an offer. I've heard there is interest but that's it. There have been no offers as far as I know. I haven't talked to my agent in a few days and it's the weekend. I'm just worrying about how I play the next game and I'm preparing the best I can for that. I'm not worried at all about what happens. I'm confident in my game and the kind of player I am. I'm going to leave it at that. There are things I can control and a lot I can't. We'll see.''

NICE TO HAVE SAY ON POSSIBLE TRADE?

“You don't get that by accident. I deserved the contract I got. It obviously gives me some advantages. It's a good contract, it really is. I think I deserved it.''

PETE DeBOER -- PETE DeBOER -- PETE DeBOER

Clemmdevils “[Clemmensen] has played well against New Jersey in the past and his game in general has been very good. Whether you like the goals against or not, the fact is, if we give up more than two goals in a night, we're going to have trouble winning. In the starts he's had, he's been able to keep it to two or under and give us a chance. That's the type of team we are.

“It's not the bad goals that I'm as worried about. It's the timeliness of the goals. It's the saves and keeping it to the magic number. It's no secret we're not a high scoring team. If we're giving up three or more in a night, we're going to have trouble winning games.''

EXPECT VOKOUN TO BE UPSET?

“Absolutely. I don't expect him to be happy about it. He's going to get back in there again and has to respond the right way. I have no question that he will. We've been in this situation before. He and I have done this dance before. I know he has character and work through it. He'll come back better. He always does.''

SHOWING CONFIDENCE IN CLEMMENSEN

“He's earned that. He's played well. I can't remember the last poor effort he's given us. He sat patiently and has worked. He's a good goaltender.

“Trust me, no coach wants to take the path of most resistance. The easy thing to do is keep starting the same guys, keep giving the same guys ice time. It's our job to get the most out of our group, to raise the bar nightly. We have to do that with everyone.

“I don't think it's a bad thing for anyone on your roster to be challenged. We've Clemm done that consistently with everyone in that room at different periods. David Booth has been benched for periods this year. Dennis Wideman sat for five or six minutes the other night because of a turnover. This isn't a new motivation tactic for us. 

“You don't come to the rink and rub your hands and say 'I can't wait to screw with my starting goaltender.' We're just trying to raise everyone's game here.''





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