| Panthers center Stephen Weiss is back for another season of his blog, 'Nine. Weiss brings you closer to the Panthers action both on and off the ice as he talks about his experiences throughtout the 2009-10 season. Nine is in it's third season and can only exclusively be seen on floridapanthers.com
The popular first-round draft pick (4th overall) in 2001, is in his seventh NHL season, all with the Cats. The Toronto, Ontario native reached career highs last season as he lead the team in both assists (47) and points (61). He also set a career high in game-winning goals with four. Nine Archive
We’re almost a quarter of the way into the season and we’ve managed to hang around and be close to a playoff spot without playing really good hockey. That’s a good sign, that we haven’t played our best and we’re still right there. There’s a lot of room for improvement and there’s a long way to go.
I think we’re definitely playing better for longer periods of time. We’ve just got to do it every shift, every night. We don’t have the luxury of playing average and getting away with wins. That’s our biggest problem, finding that style of play every night.
Last year, I think our slow start was more about us getting familiar with the systems and how we needed to play. Once we figured that out, we started getting wins. This year we knew how to play, but for whatever reason we weren’t committed to the systems and doing it every night. Obviously, no one has the intentions of having a bad shift or bad game. Your heart and mind is in the right spot, but sometimes it doesn’t work out. We‘re doing it in spurts, but we’ve got to find ways to bring that consistency every night. We’ve been getting better. I think the biggest thing in this league is consistency. There are so many games and trying to bring that every night is not easy to do. But the best teams do it more often than the others.
I think we’re energized now and ready to go, and mentally we know what we need to do to compete hard for 60 minutes. When we do that we have a good chance to win. When we don’t…we’re one of those teams that don’t have superstars to get you through when you don’t have you’re ‘A’ game. We have to find a way to bring that to win.
We have a tough trip coming up this week, three games in four nights against three good teams and three pretty tough buildings. Detroit and New York will be tough back to back. But we’re going to take it one period, one game at a time. We’ll start in Buffalo and compete hard, play hard and play the system. We can’t look too far ahead or at what our schedule. We’ve just got to go in and get results.
Talk to you soon.