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Posted On Friday, 12.13.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers' Thomas day-to-day with lower-body injury

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers goalie Tim Thomas will miss the game against the Washington Capitals on Friday because of a lower-body injury, but will be on the team's Canadian trip next week. He's considered day-to-day.

Thomas, who has started 15 of the Panthers' past 16 games, was injured during practice Thursday. It's the third time this season Thomas has been injured.

Thomas missed four games in mid-October after being forced to leave in the first period of a game against the Philadelphia Flyers. In his third game back, he left the ice late in the third period of a 3-2 shootout loss against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"With him, needing him in this situation, we just want to be overly cautious," Panthers interim coach Peter Horachek said after the morning skate. "We just want to be extra safe."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.10.2013 / 2:53 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings' Weiss makes initial return to Florida

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Detroit center Stephen Weiss didn't try to downplay the significance of his return to South Florida.

The Florida Panthers' all-time leader in games played and assists will face his former team for a second consecutive game Tuesday night, but this one will be his first game back at BB&T Center, where he played the past decade.

"First time back, real excited to get the game underway," Weiss said after the Red Wings' morning skate. "The last few days I've been thinking about it quite a bit. I'm just real excited to start.

"It felt strange for sure [walking into the arena]. I really didn't know which way to come in the building, didn't know really where to go when we got in. A different feeling for sure coming to the rink. Just excited to get the game underway, but it certainly feels a little bit strange being on the other side."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.10.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings get Datsyuk back in lineup

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk will make his much-anticipated return to the lineup Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers.

Datsyuk will be back after missing seven games because of a concussion he sustained as a result of an elbow from Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen on Nov. 23.

The Red Wings managed to post a 5-2-0 record during Datsyuk's absence, but have lost two of their past three. In their most recent game, the Red Wings lost to the Panthers 2-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.

"It means a lot [to have Datsyuk back], but it means a lot over the long haul," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after his team's morning skate. "If we're looking at Pavel and counting on Pavel to get 'er done, that's not how it works. We have to be way better than we were last game. The bottom line is Pavel gives us lots of confidence, he's a real good player, but the rest of us gotta play better than we did."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 12:41 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Jets minus Kane again; Kulikov back in for Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Winnipeg Jets will play a second consecutive game without left wing Evander Kane on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers, but he should be back in the lineup before too long.

Kane, who was injured in a 2-1 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers this past Friday, will be evaluated on a daily basis after tests didn't reveal any structural damage.

"We didn't see anything there that would cause us to be alarmed," Jets coach Claude Noel said before his team's optional skate Thursday. "He's just day-to-day. He's got to work his way through this. He won't be a player in tonight's game, but we'll just take it one day at a time."

With Kane sitting out, the Jets beat the New York Rangers 5-2 Monday to improve to 3-1-0 on their season-long six-game road trip, which concludes Saturday with a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.03.2013 / 1:37 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers to scratch Kulikov against Senators

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a former first-round pick who recently has been the subject of trade rumors, will be a healthy scratch Tuesday when the Florida Panthers play host to the Ottawa Senators at BB&T Center.

The move comes after a series of costly turnovers in recent games, the latest an errant pass in his zone that led to a Pittsburgh Penguins goal in a 5-2 loss Saturday.

"I think that's a good thing for a lot of players," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. "They have to go through this process. They have to be accountable to their teammates, and when we decide that it's best for him, sometimes it's good just to sit back and see it. And you come back with a whole new approach to the game. Nobody wants to be in that situation, but sometimes it's just necessary."

The 14th selection in the 2009 NHL Draft, Kulikov, 23, has three points and a minus-9 rating this season, his fifth in the League. Kulikov said he was surprised by the decision.

"I don't think I've been playing bad enough to get thrown out of the lineup," Kulikov said. "But it's a coach's decision. I'm disappointed. That's the only way to describe it. I'm going to work hard to get back in the lineup."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.30.2013 / 12:30 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Winchester back for Panthers against Penguins

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers will have right wing Jesse Winchester back in the lineup Saturday when they try to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins at home for the second time this season.

Winchester missed the past four games because of a lower-body injury sustained in a 4-1 loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 21. Winchester, signed as a free agent this summer after he spent all of 2012-13 playing in Europe, was one of Florida's most productive forwards earlier this season.

He had a run of five points in six games (three goals, two assists) before serving a three-game suspension for an elbow to the head of Boston Bruins center Chris Kelly.

"He works hard in all three areas of the rink," Panthers interim coach Peter Horachek said after the morning skate Saturday. "He's not afraid to go into the hard areas. He's pretty good on the walls. That's one of the areas before I got here that he was one of the players who were doing what they needed to do and living up to their responsibilities. He's a good kid, he works hard, and he's kind of a workhorse that people can follow and use as an example."

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Posted On Monday, 11.25.2013 / 7:46 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers place Kopecky, Gilroy on injured reserve

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers placed forward Tomas Kopecky and defenseman Matt Gilroy on injured reserve Monday.

Kopecky, who sustained an upper-body injury in a 4-1 loss against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, will miss games against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers and be eligible to return for a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Gilroy was injured in a 4-3 shootout loss against the Calgary Flames on Friday and won't be eligible to return until a game against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 3.

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Posted On Monday, 11.25.2013 / 1:48 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Olsen set to make Panthers debut vs. Flyers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers will have both of the prospects they acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks 11 days ago in the lineup when they face the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.

Defenseman Dylan Olsen will make his Panthers debut against the Flyers, joining forward Jimmy Hayes. The two were acquired on Nov. 14 in the trade that sent veteran forward Kris Versteeg to Chicago.

Hayes immediately joined the Panthers after the trade and played in the last four games of Florida's five-game road trip.

Olsen had been playing with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League until he was called up on Sunday.


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Posted On Tuesday, 11.12.2013 / 1:36 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks without Getzlaf as they go for historic start

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Anaheim Ducks will be without center Ryan Getzlaf as they try to make franchise history Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.

Getzlaf will miss his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury sustained during a morning skate Friday. He went on that night to record a hat trick in a 6-2 victory against the Buffalo Sabres, but sat out Sunday when the Ducks beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 to finish a three-game homestand.

"Make no mistake about it, we missed the big fella coming in there," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said Tuesday. "He is our straw that stirs the drink. When he's playing he controls the power play, he kills penalties, he usually plays against the other team's best checking line. We miss him."

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.05.2013 / 2:01 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers, Panthers welcome returning players

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The struggling Edmonton Oilers will get a couple of key players back when they face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

Veteran forward Ryan Smyth returns after missing five games because of a groin injury and goalie Devan Dubnyk will make his first start since Oct. 24.

Dubnyk appeared in relief of Jason LaBarbera against the Phoenix Coyotes on Oct. 25 but left after 39 seconds due to an ankle injury.

The Oilers have lost their past five games, including back-to-back shutouts against the Toronto Maple Leafs (4-0) and Detroit Red Wings (5-0). They face a Florida team also in the midst of a five-game losing streak.

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We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff