Jono Bullard looks at Cam Janssen’s impact on the Nottingham Panthers in his first 10 games with the club
It’s safe to say that Cam Janssen’s Nottingham Panthers career has got off to a great start and he’s become a firm fan favourite after just 10 games for the club, however a rather disparaging assessment of his short time in Nottingham appeared from a fan on the GMB Panthers Facebook group. After causing a predicted uproar it turned out said fan just posted to garner a reaction (school finished early Monday it appears).
That particular Facebook post did get me thinking though, and I thought I’d look at the impact Janssen has had so far in Nottingham.
Firstly I looked at the numbers. In 10 games he has 1+1 for 2 points and a +/- rating of +2 (many thanks to David Carnell for the +/- stats). With the reputation that Janssen had prior to arriving in Nottingham it’s perhaps surprising that he has just 10 penalty minutes to his name so far, especially as some very prominent commentators on Social Media were stating that he’s spend most of his time in the stands on suspensions. Of course his NHL suspensions are widely available for all to see, but so far in the Elite League we’ve seen nothing to suggest that Janssen is the loose cannon that many (admittedly not Panthers fans) thought he would be.
So what has he brought to the team? With the greatest respect to Cam he’s not going to trouble the top points scorers, but a team is all about balance and we have plenty of guys who can take care of the scoring. What Janssen offers us is toughness, checking and a seemingly limitless supply of energy, then add in that he looks to be enjoying every minute of his time here. You only have to hear the crowd reaction whenever he is on the ice, there is always a notable change in volume because you aren’t sure what he’s going to do! He also appears to have the respect of his team-mates if Robert Lachowicz’s words on last weeks TCW Podcast are anything to go by.
Janssen also brings a lot of qualities that Panthers were missing last season, namely protection & toughness. As an example of this, look at Janssen’s first home game against Belfast Giants. On their roster is Matt Nickerson, a player who bullied us in virtually every game we played against Fife Flyers at the NIC and no-one from last season’s roster could do anything about it. In that Giants game Nickerson played a good defensive game but didn’t resort to any rough stuff or cheap shots. This has been prevalent in all games we’ve played since Cam arrived, nobody appears to want to step up and fight him. While some may bemoan the lack of fisticuffs he’s still doing his job, which allows the team as a whole to up the intensity and, dare I say it, bully other teams. I have to say that the players look to be playing with a lot more freedom this season, it’s as if they’ve all grown a few inches and I’m sure that’s down to having Janssen in the team.
I think it’s fair to say that Cam Janssen has exceeded most Panthers fans expectations of him so far. Long may it continue.
Photograph copyright owned by Panthers Images