He could try to swing a deal for a rental to help his team's playoff push generally a costly proposition or he could decide the best course of action is to sell off a coveted player like Olli Jokinen and gain some important assets for the future. Problem with that is Martin can't appear to be throwing in the towel for appearances sake because the Panthers haven't made the playoffs in seven years and their fan base has already dwindled significantly, and more important, if the team falls short again this season, chances are Martin will be gone anyway.
In other words, Martin is stuck between a rock and a hard place because the Panthers, who were hot on the heels of division-leading Carolina less than a week ago, have lost their last three games by two-goal leads in the third period of each, effectively killing off their chances at the post-season. The latest loss, a 5-4 decision to the Boston Bruins in a shootout Wednesday, was crushing because it came at home and after Florida upped its lead by scoring with one second left in the third. Those are the kind of goals that should send opponents packing it in, but when it comes to the Panthers, they seem to have a reverse effect.
""We're fragile when it comes to finishing games," said Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun, who had a busy night facing 48, but looked less than distinguished on Phil Kessel's late goal that sent things into overtime. "No doubt about it."
There's no doubt either that this team needs a major overhaul. There are pockets of talent here, but not much depth because the farm system has not produced the kind of quality players in the last few seasons that other organizations have. Martin made note of that by saying were it not for the spate of injuries, there were a number of players he wouldn't have considered dressing.
"Sometimes we seem content keeping games close," he said.
Unfortunately, that gets them no cigar.