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Florida Panthers Lose Samuelsson, Sturm; Recall Dadonov and Repik ... Penalties, Like Injuries, Mounting

Cannonball2With the Panthers losing forwards in what has been a daily basis this past week, options are limited.

On Wednesday, Florida recalled Michal Repik and Evgenii Dadonov again as Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm were not on the flight for Thursday's game in Ottawa. 

The Panthers injured list just continues to go as players have been hurt in three straight games. On Friday it was Jack Skille injuring a shoulder against Calgary. On Sunday, Sean Bergenheim hurt his groin against the Hurricanes. Samuelsson and Sturm, who came to the Panthers in the David Booth trade on Oct. 22, left Tuesday's 2-1 loss to the Coyotes. 

Florida has now lost 116 man games to injury; it will be at 122 after Thursday as the Panthers have six NHL forwards on the DL.

“We're not looking to flip bodies and keep moving players in and out of the lineup,'' coach Kevin Dineen said before Tuesday's game. 

After Skille and Bergenheim were hurt in consecutive games, the Panthers went back to their AHL affiliate on Monday to bring back Tim Kennedy, a center who scored 10 goals with 16 assists as a rookie with Buffalo in 2009-10. They also reached out to Bill Thomas, a winger who scored four goals in 24 games with the Panthers last season.

Thomas, unlike Kennedy, Repik or Dadonov, hadn't been called up before this season. One reason was his contractual status. Thomas wasn't offered an NHL contract last summer and instead signed a minor league deal with the Panthers. Trust in the word given by Dale Tallon and Mike Santos were a big reason Thomas decided to return to the Florida family.

Unlike some teams, the Panthers don't promote players from the minors based solely on their draft position or contract. Tallon and Santos say to get to the Panthers, one has to be playing well. Do that, and you will be rewarded. 

Of course, with the Panthers going down as quick as they are, sometimes you take what you have.

“I was in a situation where I didn't know what was going to happen. If they had a contract to give me, they would have,'' Thomas said before playing in 10 shifts in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Phoenix. “I got the deal in the minors and knew the organization. They told me if something opened up they would give it to me. They've always been honest with me. That's a big reason why I went to San Antonio. I trusted them and it paid off.''

Coachposter() Dineen and Phoenix coach Dave Tippett have been friends for years, both playing for Team Canada as teenagers and starting their NHL careers together with the Hartford Whalers. 

So it's natural that, with Tippett coaching the Dallas Stars for six seasons and Phoenix the past three that the two talked about Dineen becoming his assistant at various times. 

“I always looked at my time in Portland as the best times of our lives,'' said Dineen, who spent the past six seasons as head coach of the AHL Portland Pirates before taking the Florida job in June.

“Opportunities that arose and conversations you had, well, they were good ones. You always weigh your options. Things have worked out well for me.''

() Florida drew seven penalties in Tuesday's loss – many of which were disputed – as the Coyotes only went to the box four times. The penalties were costly, as Phoenix scored both of its goals on the power play. 

In four of the past seven games, Florida has had more Refspenalties (a total of six fewer power plays) than its opponents. Going into Wednesday's games, Florida had been shorthanded 105 times – tied for third fewest in the league. By contrast, the Flyers have been shorthanded 151 times. 

“This is something we have to address because a lot of games are decided by special teams,'' Ed Jovanovski said. “We have to do a better jobs. It's one thing to kill off physical penalties. When you get those hooking and holdings, they seem to end up in your net.''

() Thursday's game is a battle between some of the league's top defensive scorers. Ottawa's Erik Karlsson leads all NHL defensmen with 31 points. Florida's Brian Campbell is second with 26 points. Jason Garrison leads all NHL d-men with 10 goals. 

THURSDAY: PANTHERS AT SENATORS

When, Where: 7:30 p.m.; Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario

BryanmurrayTV/Radio: FSN; WQAM-560

The series: Senators lead 40-26-3

The game: Florida looked to escape Ottawa with at least a point on Oct. 27 after Kris Versteeg tied the score at 4 with 47.1 seconds left. But the Sens won it 4-3 when Nick Foligno scored with 2.5 seconds left in regulation after following a Daniel Alfredsson rebound. The Panthers have lost four straight at Ottawa. Florida will play its final road game of the 2011 calendar year Friday at Boston.

 

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