This week Paul Balm looks at Cam Janssen’s massive impact on the Nottingham Panthers
What a difference a weekend makes. This time last week there were dire warnings of goal droughts, widening gulfs between us and the opposition and a club more interested in testimonial players than seeking testimonials about new players. Now after a couple of wins the world suddenly seems to look rosier but then again it always does in the world of sports when you’ve had a good weekend. This time last week the only positive thing that anyone could agree on was Cam Janssen.
I appreciate that when it comes to Cam Janssen the world is split into two distinctly separate camps – those who support Nottingham Panthers and everyone else. And to be honest that’s how I feel it should be anyway, but the style and energy with which Cam plays the game is always going to accentuate that split. So all us Panthers fans love him (and the rest of you are just plain wrong) but I’m not entirely sure that’s necessarily a good thing. The way it’s going it looks like poor old Cam could end up visiting Scott Poundall complaining of sore nipples the way the club are milking him.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not surprised it’s happening. He’s a big name player who plays in a way that is always going to make the fans love him and he clearly enjoys the showman role so we shouldn’t be surprised that Panthers are going to make the most of it. It was always going to happen this way but I think we have to be careful we don’t become a one man team off ice if not on. It almost feels like every time Panthers do something be it Checking it Out with the… (life’s too short), Panthers radio, the programme, he’s there. There’s even a clothing range for him now (Jono was under strict instructions not to buy any in case the same happened after he bought the Peckham t-shirt and then he saw the prices and decided there was no chance of it happening (buying a t-shirt not Janssen leaving)).
It does have its positive side as well though. If Janssen is taking the spotlight it leaves the rest of the team with the opportunity to get on with their own jobs (or flounder around in darkness if you’re not as optimistic). The other thing is that it’s fairly clear to see that Cam enjoys the limelight and is happy to play along with the whole circus and if that’s the case then we might as well let him get on with it. His appearance on Checking It Out and the way he greeted the people presenting the man of the match to name but two occasions show how well his time in the NHL has prepared him for these types of things. I just hope Panthers buy in a lanolin based ointment just in case.
The off ice stuff is sometimes, for me, in danger of over-shadowing what he’s been doing on the ice. It was interesting that the Cardiff fans singled him out as the “donkey” after a particular altercation around their net. Having watched the highlights (which seems to be in the right order this week!) it’s clear that Janssen reacts to a Cardiff elbow. Well, I’m sorry, this is ice hockey and that’s always going to happen. I’d be more worried about my team if it didn’t. A lot was said by a lot of people about how signing him would be a mistake, trotting out example after example about how he was going to be a liability well, there’s still plenty of time but that hasn’t happened yet. There are plenty of imports out there that the opposition don’t talk about. It strikes me that if they want to talk that much about Janssen it speaks volumes and I know which I’d rather have*.
Of course the actions of Cam could themselves be over-shadowed by the big announcement Panthers are promising on Panthers TV (sorry, it’s still too long) this week. Now, I know it’s probably going to be a fairer way of giving out the bouquets – do a couple of announcements a period (or one and give two away each time) so that those at the back or behind the netting get a chance to and it’ll speed the man of the match awards up more (which if I’m honest I’m more bothered about) – but it’s nice to see Panthers using their media outlets in this sort of way. They’re making you want to watch it, giving you an incentive to tune in. Look what happened when it was announced that DAB was coming back in the 12-13 season – the website crashed. You can’t make publicity like that up! Well, you can fake it by announcing then turning the server off but you know what I mean. If I was them I’d be doing this kind of thing more often. They’ve got a newlsetter but right now it merely collects what has been said over the last few days. Where is the incentive for fans to subscribe. Let’s see some newsletter exclusive deals or interviews in there. Let’s see a message go out that they’ve got a bit of news and the first place to see it will be in the newsletter. I don’t know what the figures at the moment are like but I’d have thought that would take them through the roof.
I’d better finish now so this can be published on our shiny new website (like it?) before the news I’m talking about is announced and it makes the last paragraph completely pointless and a waste of my time writing it.
*All of this is subject to change should he do something stupid.