The rookie center, who played big in four games with the Panthers last season, has been recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League and will be in uniform tonight at BankAtlantic Center when the Panthers play host to Ottawa.
The 6-4, 225-pound Matthias, who scored two goals last season with the Panthers, flew from Rochester to South Florida last night and was with the team Thursday morning during the pre-game skate.
“I’m ready for tonight,” said Matthias after practice. “I’m happy to be back here and hope to be here this time a lot longer.”
With Stephen Weiss
(groin) and Gregory Campbell (hip) out of the lineup, GM Jacques Martin and coach Peter DeBoer called up Matthias, who, along with the Amerks, struggled earlier in the season. Through eight games with the Amerks this season, Matthias has one goal and one assist.
“He’s chomping at the bit, ready to go,” DeBoer said. “He had a great training camp and a real good preseason. He went down to Rochester and struggled a little down there. But I think it’s good for young guys to get a taste of the minors, riding the busses. It makes you appreciate your time up here a little bit more.”
“I talked to (Rochester coach) Benoit Groulx. There’s no doubt (Matthias) had some disappointment (about not making the Panthers out of training camp). He had a good enough preseason and training camp that he was in the mix right until the last day we had to cut down. Young guys don’t always handle that the right way. From Ben’s reports, (Matthias) struggled four, five games but he really liked the way he played the last three, four games.”
When asked if he was disappointed about not making the team out of training camp, Matthias said; “It’s part of the game. It wasn’t upset. I wasn’t rattled about it. I went down and been playing a lot. The team struggled a little bit but we work hard in practice and I’ve played a lot. It does help you.”NOTES
Both Weiss and Campbell skated alone Thursday morning before the team hit the ice. Meanwhile, Jassen Cullimore is dealing with immigration and hasn’t arrived yet in South Florida.