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Noel Acciari back with Florida Panthers much earlier than expected

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Florida Panthers Radko Gudas, left, and Noel Acciari celebrate after a win during the 2021 NHL season. Acciari is expected to be activated off long-term injured reserve before Wednesday night’s game against the host Carolina Hurricanes. // Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

The Florida Panthers have cookies back on their pregame meal table.

Noel Acciari prefers Oreos, but after making it back on ice months earlier than many expected following a freak injury sustained in October, he will be happy to scarf down anything the Panthers put at the end of the buffet.

“I heard they were slacking a little. I enjoy a good Oreo, but the hotel cookies work as well,” said Acciari, whom coach Andrew Brunette said would be activated in time for Wednesday’s game at Carolina.

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“Knowing it is about that time makes me very excited to be back out there with the guys again.”

Acciari got the nickname ‘Cookie’ after getting agitated when the Panthers did not have his preferred pregame snack before his first preseason game with Florida in 2019.

The Panthers have missed having Acciari on the ice — and the way he always seems to agitate opposing players.

He missed that as well.

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