Panthers notebook

Florida Panthers’ Stephen Weiss joins lengthy injured list

The health of the Panthers’ struggling offense is relative to the health of their offensive players.

As Florida’s injury list grows, its offensive output has shrunk.

The Panthers added another to the injured list Thursday as Stephen Weiss missed the game against Ottawa with what is called a lower-body injury.

With Weiss on the shelf, Florida — which scored one goal in its recent two-game road trip to Ottawa and Montreal — is missing four of its top forwards as well as defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

The extent of Weiss’ injury is unknown as he took part in Thursday’s morning skate but didn’t come out for warmups.

General manager Dale Tallon said Thursday that Weiss — Florida’s top line center — is day-to-day and doesn’t plan on putting him on injured reserve.

“He just came off the ice,” Tallon said of Weiss at Thursday’s morning skate.

Aside from Weiss, Florida is also missing Kris Versteeg and Marcel Goc from the top two lines, as well as Sean Bergenheim.

Versteeg (groin) and Goc (ankle) could return in the coming days as both skated before Thursday’s workout.

It doesn’t appear Bergenheim will be joining the Panthers as quickly.

Bergenheim, who scored a career-high 17 goals last season, was injured while playing professionally in his hometown of Helsinki, Finland, early in the lockout.

It was reported that Bergenheim injured his groin in Finland. Because the injury happened in October — and he returned to South Florida but didn’t skate with his teammates — it is believed to be much more serious than that.

The Panthers aren’t commenting on Bergenheim’s status because he isn’t being treated by the team’s medical staff.

“I don’t know where he is,” Tallon said.

Because Bergenheim is suspended from the team without pay as he was injured playing for a team other than the Panthers, he can search out his own medical treatment.

Goc and Gudbranson are also suspended but signed a waiver agreeing to be treated by the team. Bergenheim has not.

All three players are suspended until cleared to play in games — not just practice or rehabilitate an injury.

Because of the prorated salary because of games lost to the lockout, Bergenheim was scheduled to make around $1.7 million this season.

Versteeg is eligible to come off the injured list in time for Saturday’s game against the Flyers and is expected to fully participate in practice Friday morning.

Versteeg was injured in Florida’s final practice of training camp last Friday at BB&T Center.

Tight schedule

The Panthers will hold their first full practice since the season started Friday morning at the Iceplex in Coral Springs.

With the abbreviated schedule, coach Kevin Dineen knew he would be hard-pressed to get practices in — but Florida’s accelerated schedule has taken those days away.

Thursday’s game was Florida’s fourth in six days. Wednesday was an off day for the players as they arrived back in South Florida from Canada early that morning.

Read more Florida Panthers stories from the Miami Herald

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