By Mark Simon
Special to NHL.com
March 19, 2004
The Florida Everblades, traditionally one of the ECHL’s younger teams, have been forced to go about things with a different approach this season.
The Everblades are older — and will find out if they are better — as the season enters the home stretch. Florida is 32-23-10 through its first 65 games and is locked in a tight battle for second place in the ECHL’s Southern Division. The Everblades are trying to fend off the South Carolina Stingrays, Greensboro Generals, Charlotte Checkers and Roanoke Express in the race for playoff positioning. Florida has made the playoffs with high expectations in each of the last five seasons, but has not made its way even to the conference finals yet.
“We’re in a unique division,” said third-year Florida head coach Gerry Fleming. “Although if you look at every division, it seems that 10 points separates first place from sixth. It makes it very entertaining.”Related Links
The Everblades have been bit hard by the injury bug, which is the primary reason for the change in methodology, away from relying heavily on its affiliations with the Carolina Hurricanes and Lowell Lock Monsters. Once Fleming realized that this was a long-term problem he would have to deal with, he made the necessary moves. In this case, that meant persuading a pair of players — Reggie Berg and Tom Buckley — out of retirement.