In today's Baptist Health Practice Notebook, Mason Marchment tells the story of his unusual equipment issue, coach Joel Quenneville provides updates on injured Panthers and more!
SUNRISE, Fla. - Mason Marchment had never seen anything like it before.
At 11:23 of the third period in Monday's 3-2 overtime loss against the Hurricanes, the Panthers forward somehow managed to lose the entire bottom part of his skate - not just the blade, the entire bottom - after getting tangled up with Carolina blueliner Brady Skjei while forechecking.
"I was pretty shocked when I looked down and saw that my whole blade was gone," Marchment said following Wednesday's practice at BB&T Center. "The trainers went and grabbed my old skates and we threw [them] on real quick, switched the blade and then I was back out there."
With the equipment staff getting Marchment back up and running with the speed of a NASCAR pit crew, he managed to return to the ice just in time to set up Eetu Luostarinen for a go-ahead goal with a dish from behind the net that put Florida on top 2-1 with 3:09 remaining in regulation.
The goal, however, came at a cost.
"That shift that we scored there, I ripped my whole pant open like a skirt," said Marchment, who couldn't help but laugh when talking about the series of events. "It was a couple weird shifts."
While it's unlikely that anything like that will ever happen again, Marchment is hoping for more of the same when it comes to his recent play on the ice. Since slotting back into the lineup on Feb. 25, the 25-year-old has posted an assist - all of them primary - in each of the last three games.
Gaining the trust of head coach Joel Quenneville, the advanced numbers also tell us that he's been making a positive impact in all four games he's played in this season. Despite the fact he's starting just 36.36% of his shifts in the offensive zone at 5-on-5, the Panthers boast advantages in goals (3-1) and shot attempts (32-26) when he's been on the ice, per NaturalStatTrick.com.
"He's done a great job of taking advantage of his opportunity," Quenneville said. "I know that he's been patient… We like the way he works in practice. He's a hard guy to play against in practice. He makes things happen. He's got some offensive ability that can be deceptive as well, but you know that you're going to be engaged physically and that he pushes the pace."
Acquired from the Maple Leafs at last year's trade deadline, Marchment had only appeared in four NHL games - all with Toronto - before this season. That being said, he did have a wealth of experience in the AHL, tallying 72 points (38 goals, 34 assists) in 130 games from 2016-20.
During this morning's practice, the Uxbridge, Ontario native skated on the third line alongside Luostarinen and Noel Acciari. Potentially earning even more responsibility through his recent play, he also spent some time practicing as the net-front man on the second power-play unit.
Going from the Taxi Squad to the driver's seat, Marchment said he's focused on "just trying to do the same thing every day" as he works to gain a tighter grip on his new spot in the lineup.
"It feels good," Marchment said. "It's definitely hard on the mental aspect when you're in the Taxi Squad and you see the team doing so well and you just want to be a part of it. Just staying positive and just keep doing the small things every day, trying to get better every day. They do a good job on the Taxi Squad here. I'm happy to be in the lineup and contributing."
AN IMPORTANT TRIP
Following this morning's practice, the Panthers will be heading for the airport.
Embarking on a five-game road trip, they'll kick things off with two games against Nashville on Thursday and Saturday. After that, they'll make a one-game pitstop in Raleigh to face the Hurricanes on Sunday before closing out the trip with games at Columbus on March 9 and 11.
Off to a stellar start on the road, the Panthers are 6-1-1 outside of Sunrise this season.
"First game on a trip here, you want to start off on a positive note," Quenneville said. "[The Predators] are able to beat anybody and have in the past as well. They're a hard team in that building. We expect a hard game. Let's try to keep playing the same way from start to finish."
Earning points in seven of their last nine games, the Panthers, who closed out their recent five-game homestand with a pair of hard-fought losses - one in shootout, the other in overtime - to Carolina, currently reside in third place in the Central Division with a very solid record of 13-4-4.
Looking good at both ends of the ice, Florida owns the league's second-ranked offense (3.63 goals scored per game) and eighth-ranked defense (2.50 goals allowed per game) on the road.
"After the finish with our homestand, we didn't finish where we wanted," defenseman Radko Gudas said. "We got two points out of the last two games, but we wanted more. There's going to be a good push from us early on in this trip. We want to make the most out of it."
There were a few updates on the injury front after this morning's practice.
Quenneville said that Anthony Duclair and Markus Nutivaara will both be joining the Panthers on their road trip, while Noah Juulsen will remain in South Florida. While Duclair has yet to return to practice, Nutivaara has been skating for a while now and his return is "right around the corner."
Working his way back from an upper-body injury, Nutivaara last played on Feb. 13 against the Lightning. In the midst of his first season with Florida, the 26-year-old defenseman has suited up in seven games thus far, recording three assists while skating an average of 16:14 per contest.
"He's ready for full practice and full contact," Quenneville said of Nutivaara.
Additionally, Quenneville also said that another defenseman, Gustav Forsling, will return to the lineup on Thursday in Nashville. Manning the blue line in eight games this season, the 24-year-old has been out of action ever since suffering a lower-body injury on Feb. 24 against the Stars.
This morning, Forsling was paired with Gudas during drills.
"He's a great skater," Gudas said. "He's got a great first pass out of the zone. He's been a great addition to our D core. I'm looking forward to getting out there with him."
WEDNESDAY'S PRACTICE LINES
Carter Verhaeghe - Aleksander Barkov - Frank Vatrano
Jonathan Huberdeau - Alex Wennberg - Patric Hornqvist
Mason Marchment - Eetu Luostarinen - Noel Acciari
Ryan Lomberg - Juho Lammikko - Vinnie Hinostroza
Grigori Denisenko - Owen Tippett - Brett Connolly
MacKenzie Weegar - Aaron Ekblad
Keith Yandle - Anton Stralman
Radko Gudas - Gustav Forsling
Riley Stillman - Markus Nutivaara