When the Florida Panthers took on the Chicago Blackhawks last night, they were without their leading goal scorer. While teams around the NHL are struggling to fight off the injury bug, head coach Peter Horachek is trying to find ways to make his team more accountable away from the puck.
So he scratched Brad Boyes, who leads the team with eight goals on the year.
The move can be characterized as gutsy since the Panthers struggle to score goals enough as it is, and they were gearing up to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion on the road. The message from Horachek seemed to be clear though. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do when the puck is on your stick if you don’t play hard away from it.
The coach spoke to Harvey Fialkov of The Florida Sun Sentinel about the decision to scratch Boyes:
I didn’t think he competed hard enough away from the puck [against Detroit], when he didn’t have the puck on his stick to get the puck back. There has to be accountability everywhere.
For context, the Panthers had faced off against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night before heading to Chicago to play the Blackhawks on Sunday. Boyes played his usual 15 minutes against the Wings, but Horachek clearly didn’t like the effort level that he saw.