Not much has gone right for the Florida Panthers this season, but the team hopes that they may have good news on the horizon after goaltender Roberto Luongo was on the ice Sunday taking shots, according to NHL.com’s Jameson Olive. The team lost the oft-injured netminder during the second period of the season opener when teammate Frank Vatrano fell on him, forcing him out of the game with a lower-body injury.
The 39-year-old has fared well when healthy, but he hasn’t played more than 40 games since the 2015-16 season, which isn’t great considering the team is paying him $4.53MM per year for four more years. Head coach Bob Boughner was thrilled to see Luongo back on the ice, but has no intention of bringing him back until he is 110 percent healthy.
“He’s a huge part of this team. And you can see, no slight to anybody else, this team’s missed him,” Boughner said. “We’re a different team when he’s playing.”
- The Columbus Blue Jackets also had good news as winger Brandon Dubinsky participated in Sunday’s morning skate, according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (subscription required). Dubinsky has been out since Oct. 8 with a partially torn oblique muscle, but there remains no timetable for his return. The original diagnosis for Dubinsky’s injury was four to six weeks. He hasn’t been out three weeks yet, but the 32-year-old said that he’d be disappointed if he didn’t play on the team’s upcoming road trip, starting Thursday and going through Sunday. “I would say I’m ahead of schedule, but I don’t want to come back early and set myself back a few weeks,” Dubinsky said. The veteran had only played in two games before getting injured, but already had a goal and an assist.
- The Colorado Avalanche may be without one of their top youngsters for a while as BSN’s Adrian Dater reported that the team will be without center Tyson Jost indefinitely. Jost, who suffered a head injury Friday in the third period against Ottawa, has a goal and an assist in 11 games so far this season. The 20-year-old scored 12 goals in his rookie season last year, but had worked his way higher up in the lineup this year.
- Newsday’s Colin Stephenson reports that New York Rangers head coach David Quinn said that defenseman Adam McQuaid is day-to-day with a lower-body injury he sustained in the first period Thursday. He is not expected to play Sunday against Los Angeles, which could open up another chance for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, who has only appeared in two games for the Rangers this season.