Florida Panthers fans got some unwelcome news yesterday, as head coach Kevin Dineen stated that Marcel Goc is not close to returning from a concussion he suffered in mid-November. At this point, the team is not expecting him back until January at the earliest.
Dineen confirmed Thursday that the Panthers weren't expecting center Marcel Goc back anytime soon. The Panthers didn't think the concussion he suffered Nov. 15 at Dallas was too serious at the time. He has now already missed a month. (George Richards, Miami Herald)
At what point are teams going to stop underestimating the seriousness of concussions? One would think that Sidney Crosby's ongoing medical issues would be enough to make the rest of the NHL wake up, yet you still see situations like this where teams are surprised by how long it takes players to recover from a concussion. These are serious injury with potentially crippling long term side effects; we should probably begin expecting players to take a long amount of time to recover from them.
Thankfully, the Panthers are being patient with Goc and giving him all the time he needs to get better. As much as he would help the team right now, they're not attempting to rush him back.
Before going down with a concussion, Goc had been one of the Panthers' most valuable forwards. Coach Dineen used him as a defensive forward, the majority of the time putting him on the ice when the Panthers were either on defense or fighting for puck control. He's also faced some of the toughest competition of all the Panthers' forwards, and been an above average player in those situations.
Although the Panthers are still riding high at first place in the Southeast Division, their lack of depth on their second and third lines is concerning. Hopefully Goc is able to return sooner rather than later, as his presence on the roster will only strengthen the Panthers' defense and make them a more dangerous team.
For more on this story, visit SB Nation's blog on the Panthers, Litter Box Cats.