Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers’ Tyson Stachan making impact

 

Defenseman Tyson Strachan had to wait to crack the lineup, but now he is making the most of his opportunity.

grichards@MiamiHerald.com

It was just a few weeks ago when Tyson Strachan found it hard to crack the Panthers lineup.

A healthy scratch during Florida’s five-game losing streak, Strachan was put back into the lineup Jan. 31 against Winnipeg. That night, the Panthers finally won their second game of the season.

Strachan has played every game since. And, with Keaton Ellerby being traded to Los Angeles on Friday, Strachan found himself as one of Florida’s six defensemen going into Saturday’s game at Washington.

The Panthers will continue to carry seven defensemen once Ed Jovanovski’s knee allows him to return to the lineup. For now, however, Strachan is making the most of his opportunity.

“This sums up pro hockey right there. You always have to be ready,” Strachan said. “It’s tough when you don’t play, so I’m happy to be back in the lineup — and I’m especially happy we’ve been able to pick up some points on the road.”

If Strachan found a silver lining in being a healthy scratch, it was that the time out of the lineup allowed him to get in better shape.

Even though Strachan spent the lockout playing for the Panthers’ AHL affiliate in San Antonio, the defenseman missed five weeks leading into the start of the NHL season because of injury.

Like many who hadn’t been playing during the work stoppage, Strachan found himself a touch unprepared for the rigors of training camp and a quick start to the season.

“Our expectations were fairly high for him, especially since he had the opportunity to play all year,” coach Kevin Dineen said.

“Those are the kind of guys who were supposed to be game-ready. I didn’t think that was the case. But he worked hard while being a healthy scratch. His play is improving.”

Strachan fully admits to not having a great training camp but said he feels like he’s now in midseason form. In Saturday’s 5-0 loss to the Capitals, Strachan had three hits and a blocked shot.

“I wasn’t ready for camp,” he said. “I was able to get my feet back under myself. I needed some of those bag skates and the coaches were great to me. They got me going.”

• One of the nice surprises for the Panthers over the past couple of weeks has been the play of rookie Drew Shore. About the only thing Shore hasn’t done is score his first goal — and that will come. Shore was a prolific scorer in the college ranks, notching 45 goals and 99 points over the past two seasons at the University of Denver.

In 41 games with San Antonio, Shore scored 10 goals and assisted on 20 others.

“I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve played the first seven or eight games,” said Shore, who has 12 shots on goal in the past five games.

“At the same time, my goal now is to help contribute and help this team make the playoffs. That means I have to be up here all year. I think I can contribute in many different ways.”

The Panthers have been extremely happy with Shore, and it has become apparent he has earned a spot on the team, at least for now.

After coming up and making his debut on the wing at Montreal in Florida’s third game of the season, Shore is back at his natural position and is centering the Panthers’ second line with fellow rookie — and road roommate — Jonathan Huberdeau and Kris Versteeg.

“I wouldn’t call Drew a surprise,” Dineen said. “What we’re seeing here is what we saw in San Antonio. He’s a hard-working guy who takes pride in the details of the game.”

• Jack Skille, who scored his first goal of the season against Philadelphia on Thursday, was back in the lineup for the second consecutive game Saturday after being a healthy scratch for two games.

“Sometimes you keep moving forward and make decisions that’s best for the team,” Dineen said.

“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. These are hard decisions, but you make them and move on. [Skille] responded well.”

With Skille in, Dineen scratched Alex Kovalev for the second game in a row. Kovalev could return to the lineup for Tuesday’s home game against the Capitals.

Read more Top Sports Stories stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Phillies fans show their desire to have Pete Rose inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Sunday, July 30, 1995, before the start of the Hall of Fame Inductions in Cooperstown, N.Y.

    In My Opinion

    Greg Cote: It’s time to welcome Pete Rose back to baseball

    Twenty-five years ago this week Pete Rose was banished for life from baseball, and thus from the red carpet ride he would have taken into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Sympathy hasn’t often come his way since, partly because Rose can come off as irascible, unlikable, his own worst enemy — but mostly because he agreed to his ban, with a swipe of a pen trading immortality for indelible notoriety.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">back in the flow: </span>Hurricanes quarterback Jake Heaps gets ready to fire a pass at Wednesday’s practice.

    um football

    University of Miami QB Jake Heaps healthy, happy to be back on field

    Hurricanes quarterback Jake Heaps missed Monday’s scrimmage because of a sore elbow but said he felt good Wednesday during both practices.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Big fish</span>: Giancarlo Stanton is in line for a mega payday, and the Marlins can’t afford to let him walk.

    David J. Neal: The bottom line: Miami Marlins are building a contender as long as Stanton is re-signed

    Dan Jennings and Mike Hill must perform the Herculean task of keeping Giancarlo Stanton’s brawny bat from taking the road most traveled by Marlins’ prospects who develop into stars. They gained the salary space to do so on those two seemingly dark days in 2012 when the Marlins deconstructed the team built to play in the newly constructed Marlins Park.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category