Gudbranson returns to the ice, opens up about injury

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Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson was tired but relieved on Monday following his first on-ice workout since injuring his shoulder while “training” in September, the Miami Herald’s George Richards reports.

“I’m not going to lie, this is tough,” Gudbranson said.

Admitting the true nature of his shoulder injury – which required surgery – was also tough, but he made the cause public today, as well.

As it turns out, the 20-year-old blueliner lost his right to continue collecting paychecks during the lockout because he hurt himself while wakeboarding, not training.

In the event that you’re prepping some “Erik Johnson on water” jokes, Gudbranson insists that he wasn’t being reckless.

“I wasn’t being stupid, it was just an unfortunate, awkward fall,” Gudbranson said.

In hindsight, he does admit that it was probably a bad decision, however.

“I wasn’t hurt playing hockey. I have learned from my mistakes,” Gudbranson said. “I needed to be honest with them. The players have been transparent during the lockout and I felt it was my duty to the Panthers to be transparent and honest with them. I hurt myself and it was unfortunate. I learned something the hard way. But I’m everything I can to get back on the ice.”

It’s reasonable that he isn’t get paid because of the cause of his injury, but Richards reports that lockout rules means he can’t speak with Panthers trainer David Zenobi about his rehab.

Instead, he’s more or less left on his own. On the bright side, he told Richards that he was “a little surprised at how good it felt” to get back on the ice.

If all goes well, Richards reports that Gudbranson is targeting a January AHL return – whether the lockout wages on or not.

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?