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.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.