“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 doing everything I can to get back on the ice.”
Upon finding out how Gudbranson got hurt -- there had been speculation it happened on the ice in Coral Springs during a workout before the lockout started — the Panthers declared it a non-hockey related injury.
Had Gudbranson been hurt doing something hockey-related, it’s possible the Panthers would have continued to pay him as they supervised his rehabilitation as was the case with Kris Versteeg.
After starting the lockout under the care of the Panthers, Versteeg — who had offseason hip surgery — has since been cleared and released for contact. He is no longer being paid and is locked out like the rest of his teammates.
Versteeg is back in his native Alberta, working as a volunteer assistant coach while he attends classes and skates with the team at the University of Lethbridge.
“There is obviously an element of danger in [wakeboarding] and I wasn’t very smart. And the timing couldn’t have been worse,” Gudbranson said. “But I could have been playing beach volleyball and blown out my knee. I’m disappointed. I worked very hard this summer and was in the best shape of my life. But I don’t think it’s right just to sit around during the offseason and do nothing.”
Gudbranson has been in contact with his surgeon in Miami but cannot speak to Panthers’ head athletic trainer David Zenobi because of the NHL lockout.
Instead of having a workout sketched out by Zenobi, Gudbranson is basically on his own. He said he was heading back to Ottawa and would continue his on-ice workouts there.
The Panthers won’t comment on individual players during the lockout.
“I’m very sorry this happened, but I’m working hard and I feel great now,” Gudbranson said. “Now it’s all about skating and getting ready to play some hockey.”