Trio Return to Panthers

Panthers recruitment for the new season continued as the return of defenceman Stevie Lee, forward Marc Levers and bench coach Rick Strachan was confirmed last night [Panthers website press release]
I’ll look at each signing individually:

Marc Levers
Levers is one of the first players I would try to re-sign every season. Vastly underrated I feel he is one of the pivotal parts of the squad who never, ever takes a shift off and always gives everything he’s got.
He’ll never be amongst the top points scorers but that doesn’t matter, he plays the role of a defensive forward perfectly and is one of if not the best penalty killer in the league. When he does get on the score sheet it is often a big or important goal (1st goal against Steelers in the Play-Off semi as an example)
I’m very happy he is returning as I’d hate to see him playing for another Elite League side

Stevie Lee
When you look back at Lee’s Panthers career so far it’s hard to believe that he is still only 20 years old. An excellent defenceman and prospect whose play belies his years. He perhaps didn’t progress as much as he hoped last term, but was hampered with a shoulder injury and has gone under the surgeons’ knife since the end of the season.
Calm and assured in pressure situations, he is still prone to the odd mistake, but he often corrects them. Who can forget his vital interception of the puck from Steelers Ashley Tait in the semi-final after giving the puck away in the first place?
I feel his destiny will lie away from the UK if he continues to improve, but for now I am very pleased that he will be continuing his progression at the Panthers.

Rick Strachan
This I feel will be the key signing of the summer. The defensive Ying to Corey Neilson’s attacking Yang. As it has been dubbed on The Cage, Sexy Neilson Hockey meets Defensive Bobblehead Hockey! Complete opposite styles but they compliment each other perfectly.
Once Strachan was in place I saw some defensive performances from the team that I never thought I’d see, the ones that spring immediately to mind are the 5-1 victory in Coventry, the 4-1 home victory over Sheffield and the 3-0 home play-off victory over Braehead. The team played defensive systems and shut down the opposing attack perfectly, and I firmly believe this was due to Strachan’s influence.
The other benefit I see is it allows Corey Neilson to concentrate on playing and his game is all the better for it.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the Neilson & Strachan partnership can achieve with a full season together.


2 Responses to “Trio Return to Panthers”

  1. 1 AlisonH April 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Brilliant news for all three. Marc Levers is definitely the unsung hero of the team, especially how much he gets battered on the ice by the opposition (and rarely a penalty called I find!!).

  2. 2 Stedders April 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    All good, IMO.

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