Florida Panthers goalie Scott Clemmenson gets another turn
03/31/2014 12:00 AM
03/31/2014 12:13 AM
After being sent down to the minors earlier this month, it didn’t look like goalie Scott Clemmensen would ever wear the Panthers jersey again.
But with Roberto Luongo being hurt in a loss to Carolina last week, Clemmensen was summoned from San Antonio.
Coach Peter Horachek said Sunday night that Dan Ellis would get the start Monday against the Devils at Prudential Center.
Clemmensen could start Tuesday against the Islanders.
“I’m still fighting the good fight,’’ Clemmensen said after watching Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Montreal from the bench as Ellis’ backup.
“I was obviously disappointed in going down to the minors, but at the same time, I’m going to put myself in the best position to further my career with no regrets. The biggest thing for me, once this is all over, is to have no regrets about anything I did. We’ll see where it takes me. One door shuts, another opens. You just have to keep moving forward.’’
For Clemmensen, a visit to New Jersey is often a mini-homecoming.
Clemmensen spent seven seasons in the Devils organization and has played well against them when given the chance. Clemmensen is 4-1 against New Jersey during the regular season and was 1-2 against the Devils in the 2012 playoffs.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing in New Jersey, seeing their fans,’’ Clemmensen said. “I have good memories of playing there. I’m taking things one day at a time here right now. I would just be happy with some playing time.’’
With Luongo out the next two games, Clemmensen and Ellis will likely split the starts in Newark and on Long Island on Tuesday.
Horachek says he has no problem putting Clemmensen out there. After all, Clemmensen filled in for Tim Thomas during the team’s most successful run of the season in December when he won four consecutive starts.
But, as it is now, Ellis is Luongo’s backup. So when Luongo’s out, Ellis gets the start.
“Every time he’s gotten the opportunity, he’s played well for us,’’ Horachek said of Clemmensen. “When he got into a rhythm, he played well.’’
Clemmensen admits the past few weeks were tough. On March 4, Florida put Clemmensen on waivers in order to be able to move him later. The Panthers completed the trade with Vancouver for Luongo later in the day.
On March 5, the Panthers sent Thomas to Dallas and got Ellis back. Clemmensen was the odd goalie out and was sent to the minors.
“I had no idea what was going on at the time,’’ Clemmensen said. “The 24 hours leading into the trade deadline were very hectic for everyone around here. Obviously I got caught up in it. That’s the business. They have decisions they make, and it’s out of my control. My future was in their hands. You just roll with it the best you can, make the most of it.’’
With the Rampage, Clemmensen has won three of his eight starts.
“One thing about him is he is even keel,’’ Horachek said. “He has shown real professionalism and the way he approached everything has been really good. He went down, handled it right. He’s been a total pro. I really appreciate that shows the young guys how to handle himself.
“It’s not easy. He has a family and all. He sends a good message.’’• Horachek said Sunday that Luongo skated earlier in the morning but wasn’t on the trip to the New York area.
“He’s fine,’’ Horachek said, “and will play the final five games of the season.’’• Monday’s game against the host Devils will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network with no other local coverage aside from radio.
Tuesday’s game against the Islanders will move from Fox Sports Florida to Sun Sports because of a conflict with the Marlins.
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