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Radko Gudas Ready to Get Back with Florida Panthers



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Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas appears ready to return after being concussed in a game Dec. 3 against the Seattle Kraken. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

SUNRISE — Radko Gudas has not played a game with the Florida Panthers in almost a month after sustaining a concussion Dec. 3 in Seattle.

Gudas went on IR with the concussion and started skating a few weeks ago, joining his Florida teammates for practice over the past 10 days.

He appears ready for his return.

Tuesday, Gudas was again a full participant in practice and could be back Thursday against the Canadiens.

He said he was excited to be back with a full contingent at practice as Sasha Barkov and Aaron Ekblad joined him as well.

”It was excited to get everyone going, to have everyone together,” said Gudas, who was hurt as he collided with teammate Sam Bennett and former Panthers forward Jared McCann as they were wrapped up along the boards.

”It has been a little longer than I would have wanted to I am excited for the progress here. I have to get the timing right in game-like situations. These practices have helped me get back into shape.”

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With Gudas out, the Panthers have had to slide things around the past few weeks with defensive partners mixing-and-matching and playing extended minutes.

Seeing his team struggle — the Panthers have lost their past three and six of eight — and not be able to do anything about it, Gudas said, was the “most” frustrating part of being out especially this past week.

“Seeing the boys and being around them and knowing I can’t really help them,’’ Gudas said. “I just tried to progress every day and be the best version of myself I could be. It is always tough to see your boys play without you, but I thought they battled the whole time and we’re looking forward to a good, strong second half.”

Having Gudas back, coach Paul Maurice said, has been uplifting not only from what he can do on the back-end of the ice. But in the room as well.

”Radko is such a unique player but also a unique personality on our team in practice,’’ Maurice said. “He’s chirping guys, is a big part of what happens out there. He just brings a real positive feel to our team.”

Rookie Matt Kiersted was sent back to AHL Charlotte in a salary cap move following Friday’s loss to the Islanders but was called back.

If Gudas plays, Kiersted will likely be a healthy scratch as Gudas was back with Josh Mahura on Tuesday.

“Having him in the lineup settles everything down,’’ Matthew Tkachuk said. “He plays some big minutes for us, provides that element we don’t have a lot of on this team. I know from playing against him that he is very important.”

Gudas was not the only player to be concussed in that game against the Kraken as Patric Hornqvist was hurt in the second period.

Unlike Gudas, he was not hit with friendly fire but by the elbow of Daniel Sprong as he slid though the slot.

Hornqvist was placed on long-term injured reserve and is eligible to return Thursday as his 10-game, 24-day stay has been completed.

But Hornqvist does not appear to be returning to the lineup any time soon.

That concussion was Hornqvist’s second within the span of a month.

Although he has been skating — and joined the Panthers for the latter half of Tuesday’s workout but spent a lot of it on his own — Florida is keeping Hornqvist on LTIR for the time being.

Not only does Florida need the cap relief Horqvist’s LTIR stay provides, but with two concussions in a month, the team is concerned for his well-being.

Hornqvist turns 36 on New Year’s Day.

“This is longer-term and goes to the concussion, the nature of how many he has had and how close those two were together,” Maurice said Tuesday.

“There is a lot more going on with this. We are going to put them in blocks. We’re going to have another discussion here in the next week about where he feels he is at, where we feel he is at. Then we’ll plan on the next block from there.”



  • When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
  • Last season: Florida won 3-1
  • All-time regular season series: Florida leads 51-38-11, 6 ties
  • Up Next for the Panthers: Dec. 30 at Carolina Hurricanes, 7:30 p.m.

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