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Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:36 PM

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

Panthers add Luongo to lineup; Boyes sidelined

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Goaltender Roberto Luongo will be celebrating his 35th birthday Friday by returning to action for the Florida Panthers.

Luongo was the first Panthers goalie off the ice at their morning skate in preparation for their game against the Calgary Flames at BB&T Center. Luongo has missed the past three games after being injured in a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on March 27.

Luongo said after practice Thursday he sustained a mild concussion as a result of his collision with Carolina forward Radek Dvorak. Luongo has a record of 4-5-1 with a 2.54 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage since coming back to the Panthers in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks on March 4.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 1:39 PM

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

Panthers' Gilbert to miss rest of season

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Veteran defenseman Tom Gilbert's first season with the Florida Panthers is over.

Gilbert, who signed in late September after going to training camp on a professional tryout, underwent sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Gilbert had played in all of Florida's first 73 games, totaling three goals, 25 assists and a minus-5 rating. His average ice time of 21:20 is second on the Panthers behind defense partner Brian Campbell, who is averaging 27:17.

"He's been dealing with it for a while and playing through it, having to take therapy and medicine," Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek said after morning skate in preparation for a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. "It was to a point where something needed to done."

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Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 1:45 PM

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

Devils' Schneider, Panthers' Luongo face off again

SUNRISE, Fla. -- For Cory Schneider, facing Roberto Luongo is nothing new. But there's a different twist to their third goaltending battle of the season.

Nine months after they were teammates with the Vancouver Canucks, Friday will mark their first game as opponents in a game that doesn't involve the Canucks. Schneider will be starting for the New Jersey Devils, Luongo for the Florida Panthers.

"It's the third time I've played him this year. I think it's the most I've played any other goalie this year," Schneider said after the Devils' optional skate. "It's becoming old news. Maybe we'll become good rivals. Who knows?"

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 12:40 PM

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

Panthers get good news on injured Gudbranson

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson's lower-body injury isn't as severe as the team feared, but Gudbranson will be out of the lineup for at least two weeks.

Gudbranson will miss the game against the Phoenix Coyotes at BB&T Center on Tuesday and will be joined on the sidelines by forward Jesse Winchester, who is out with a lower-body injury.

Gudbranson, the third pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, was injured in the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday when he collided with Bruins forward Brad Marchand near the Panthers blue line. The two appeared to bump knees and Gudbranson's leg appeared to bend awkwardly as he fell to the ice.

"The scans came back better than we anticipated," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said after the morning skate Tuesday. "I don't really have the exact timeline. We'll have to wait to see where it is, but in the short term we got good news with the scan [because we were] fearful that there was more than we thought."

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Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 1:02 PM

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

Luongo ready for return engagement with Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Roberto Luongo talked at length about his return to the Florida Panthers the past two days, but Friday was time to get ready for his first game with his old/new team.

Luongo didn't address the media after the morning skate Friday, but his coach and teammates had plenty to say about Luongo's first game back in a Panthers uniform.

"It's a big game for our fans to see Roberto back in net and for us here to play a big game in front of him," forward Scottie Upshall said. "It's a big match."

The first game of Luongo's second stint with the Panthers will come Friday against the Buffalo Sabres at BB&T Center. It comes a little less than eight years after Luongo was traded from the Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks after five seasons in Florida.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 2:26 PM

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

Capitals' Green, Grabovski in; Johansson uncertain

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Washington Capitals will have defenseman Mike Green and center Mikhail Grabovski back in the lineup Thursday night when they try to pick up where they left off before the Olympic break, but the status of center Marcus Johansson was still up in the air after the morning skate.

Johansson skated with his teammates Thursday morning after arriving at the team hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. After competing in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Johansson had to fly to Sweden to resolve a visa issue and spent 20 hours traveling Wednesday to Miami after making a stop in London.

"I don't feel great right now," Johansson said. "Obviously when you travel like that for 20 hours or whatever it was, it takes a little toll on your body, but you get a good nap in and a good meal, I think it'll help me a lot."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 1:38 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canada coach Babcock thrilled to have St. Louis

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who will play for the United States team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, summed up pretty well the news that Martin St. Louis would replace Steven Stamkos on the Canadian squad.

"They replace a great player with another great player," Howard said after the Red Wings' morning skate in preparation for their game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. "It's as simple as that."

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was more directly affected by the change because he'll be the head coach for the Canadian team.

"I feel bad for [Stamkos]," Babcock said. "He's one of the best players in the NHL. I love watching him play. High-powered kid. He's really learning how to play the game 200 feet. He would have been a real asset.

"In saying that, St. Louis has had a great year. He's had four great years since the last Olympics. It was really hard decisions when we were picking the team. He goes in as a group of one of 14 and then he's got to carve out whatever he can carve for himself, just like the rest of the guys. We're thrilled to have him. He's a great person. He competes hard. He's ultra-competitive and we want him to bring that."


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Posted On Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 1:32 PM

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

Red Wings' Datsyuk to get pre-Olympic tuneup

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk declared himself ready to go after the morning skate Thursday and will make his return to the lineup against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center.

Datsyuk, out the past 14 games with a knee injury, will play for the first time since the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year's Day. Datsyuk will skate on a line with Darren Helm and Daniel Alfredsson.

"Sooner or later, I needed to start," Datsyuk said. "I waited enough. We'll see what happens tonight."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 1:40 PM

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

Maple Leafs' Clarkson ready to hit reset button again

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Between suspensions and injuries, David Clarkson's first season with the Toronto Maple Leafs has been something of a nightmare. He's hoping things finally start heading in a positive direction when he returns to the lineup Tuesday against the Florida Panthers.

Clarkson, who signed a seven-year contract with the Maple Leafs during the summer after spending his first seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils, missed the past eight games because of an elbow injury. He missed the first 10 games of the regular season after being suspended for his part in a preseason altercation involving the Buffalo Sabres, later had a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka and missed another game because of a foot injury.

Clarkson said after the morning skate Tuesday he was hoping to be able to hit the reset button on his season.

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Posted On Friday, 01.24.2014 / 1:34 PM

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

Avalanche get Tanguay back; Panthers minus Barkov

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Veteran forward Alex Tanguay will be back in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 2 when the Colorado Avalanche face the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center Friday. But there will be no second matchup this season between the first and second selections in the 2013 NHL Draft because Panthers center Aleksander Barkov is out with a lower-body injury.

Barkov was injured in the first period of Florida's 4-3 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night and didn't return to the game. He didn't practice on Thursday and wasn't on the ice for the morning skate Friday.

Interim head coach Peter Horachek said Barkov would be evaluated on a daily basis and no decision had been made yet on whether to take him on a four-game road trip that begins Sunday with a game against the Detroit Red Wings.

Barkov, the No. 2 pick last June, leads the Panthers with 24 points and had played in every game this season.


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It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday
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