On Wednesday night I wrote an article that called out the Amerks on not making a simple phone call. A few readers agreed that they should at least make a phone call, many others said no it’s not up to the Amerks, the Panthers got us into this mess. This all reminds me of a few years ago when the Buffalo Sabres were on the way out the door and it was a he said / she said type of thing and we seemed to learn about a lot of half truths.
So, how did we get to this point? Well, the Florida Panthers built this roster and it sucks so they ultimately deserve the blame. They had Jeff Taffe and Graham Mink under contract but dumped them. Jimmy Bonneau would’ve been great to keep around for some muscle but they didn’t want him back either. They didn’t think Jordan Henry was worth keeping and let him walk. Hard to believe that compared to this current defense he would’ve been a stand out. Also, if the Panthers suffer another injury who are they going to call up?
One could argue that if Mark Cullen did not get injured, Michael Grabner had not been claimed off waivers by the Islanders and Michael Nylander didn’t essentially break his neck the team would probably be a little different.
Unfortunately you look at the defense led by Joe Callahan and you see where the problem is. The core defense consists of Callahan, Mike Kostka, Clay Wilson, Mike Caruso, Paul Baier, Adam Comrie and Colby Robak. Amidst those defensemen is Clay Wilson who was asked to play more defensive and not be the natural offensive defenseman that he is. This defense wouldn’t be intimidating against an ECHL team.
You almost feel bad for Jacob Markstrom and Tyler Plante who rarely have any help in front of the net. Markstrom has made improvements as the season has gone on and he’s adapted but when you’re defense stinks you suffer as a goalie. The same can be said for Plante.
Now, to the Panthers they say that the Amerks told them they were not paying any salaries this season and that per the affiliation agreement the Panthers would be supplying the roster. Dale Tallon told the Amerks ok they had it taken care of. So the Panthers built a roster and it stinks.
Mike Santos talks to Amerks Coach Chuck Weber many times a week so he likely gets a fair assessment of how the team is doing but why hasn’t he seen it for himself? That we know of, he’s been to Rochester once and that one time he did not make an attempt to sit with the Amerks management. Also, he has not called Jody Gage in two months to discuss the state of the team. Why can’t he call and say hey here’s what’s going on, how about we work together to turn things around since you’ve been in the AHL so long.
Interesting to note that two months ago is when the Amerks said they would not be renewing the current agreement with the Florida Panthers. Are the Panthers spiteful? Who knows. They spent to their internal budget on the Amerks and to them that is that.
The best they seemed to do was to bring in Bates Battaglia and he has done nothing on offense. Bryan Helmer just signed with the Oklahoma City Barons and has been a monster on defense. He certainly would have helped out this core that is suffering every game. There’s a long list of “what if” players but as evidence, the Panthers aren’t that into a winning culture in the AHL.
The end of this affiliation can’t come soon enough. Five seasons of the Panthers in Rochester has produced absolutely nothing except some friendships between some of the players and fans. We were warned about the Panthers days in San Antonio and as it turns out the same things have happened here with crappy teams. Some will say the Dale Tallon era will produce better results but we can’t wait any longer. Is the season over yet?