It’s not always easy being the head coach…especially when your team and fans are excited about reaching .500. Yet, many of us sit on the couch or arena seat, eating our potato chips, while yelling “what was that?!” and dreaming about what we would do if we were in charge! Yeah, I could teach this team a thing or two and get them right where they need to be! If only…
Right at the mid-season, the Panthers entered a 6 game home-stand, which could make or break their season. The first of those games was against the mighty Capitals…a team that the Panthers had lost to in 6 of their last 7 meetings. However, on this particular Tuesday, the Panthers went on to beat the Caps in overtime. Yet, going in to their next important match-up against the red hot, Nashville Predators, goalie Tomas Vokoun was benched. Vokoun, who was upset with the decision responded by saying “I got an explanation but didn’t agree with it. My job is to play. The coach is there to make the decisions. I’m here to obey them whether I like it or not. It’s not very usual for a goalie after you win a game. I personally didn’t think I played a bad game. It seemed like he had a different assessment.”
So, was it a bad call? Going in to such a big game and starting your back-up goalie?
Not so fast. In their win against the Capitals, the Panthers took an early 3-0 lead. The Capitals quickly came back to tie the game and go in to overtime. Ah, familiar territory…the Panthers had the lead and lost in four of it’s last five losses. So, maybe pulling Vokoun was a good call. Send a message!
Good call? Bad call?
What would you say, if you were coach?
Well, the Cats went out to win (snapping a six game win streak against the Predators) the next game with Clemmensen in goal. Isn’t that kind of how it works? You make a call and win and you’re the hero. If it doesn’t go your way, all of your critics come out and are ready to bring in your replacement.
Although Vokoun got the win earlier in the week, the team had still blown leads in four of it’s last five losses. So, not what we’d call stellar play by Vokoun. Clemmensen ended up putting on a nice performance with 27 saves and made the following comment “It was a big character win for us, especially giving up the lead in the third.” A character win. That’s what this team needs. Some character! To me, it looks like Coach DeBoer made a good decision…possibly even creating some competition between his goalies. Just what I would have done! Fire this team up. Okay, so who do you start tonight, coach?