BY GEORGE RICHARDS
Just a few news and notes from the Panthers on the final week in which players are welcome at their training facility in Coral Springs.
The lockout is expected to be official come Sunday -- and players who want to work out in South Florida will have to do so on their own.
Word is, informal practices will continue next Monday with three day a week schedules through the lockout.
Players will rent the ice from the Panthers but will not be allowed to use the team's locker rooms, weight rooms, etc. Players will also not be allowed to have any contact with coaches or team staff.
The Panthers will be back on the ice Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. this week.
Today's attendees included Jack Skille, Jose Theodore, Scott Clemmensen, Mike Weaver, Tyson Strachan, Tomas Kopecky, Stephen Weiss and a handful of others.
-- The big news today was that defenseman Erik Gudbranson was injured during offseason training and had surgery on his shoulder on Thursday. The Panthers aren't saying how Gudbranson got hurt or how long he will be out.
Expect it to be for quite some time, however. Skille told me he was off the ice for 3 1/2 months after his surgery.
Am trying to reach out to Erik to get his thoughts on things.
Word is, the Panthers were planning on having Gudbranson start the season with their AHL affiliate in San Antonio. With eight NHL defensemen on the roster -- including the unsigned Dmitry Kuikov -- it's very possible Gudbranson may have spent part of the regular season (at the end of the lockout) with the Rampage.
And that still may happen. According to the Skille timetable, Gudbranson probably won't be ready to play again until January. We should be playing NHL hockey by then.
-- Roberto Luongo held his final workout of the pre-Lockout offseason at Coral Springs. He flies to Vancouver tomorrow. Luongo is expected to be back in South Florida next week. Whether he returns to Vancouver after that, however, still remains to be seen.
The Panthers are still considered the favorite to land the All-Star goalie once the lockout ends. Nothing will happen until then.
Luongo has not given the Canucks a list of the five teams he would accept a trade too because he said GM Mike Gillis has not asked him for one. Luongo did say he told Gillis that coming back to Florida is his preferred option.
Panthers goalie Jose Theodore has one year left under contract and has a no-trade clause in his contract. It's doubtful he would waive it to go back to Vancouver in a potential trade.
Scott Clemmensen, who signed a two-year deal with Florida on July 1, has no such clause.
-- The Panthers arena has another new name -- but this should be the last change for some time.
While everyone knew BB&T would take over the naming rights after acquiring BankAtlantic, the Panthers announced today that the bank signed a 10-year deal with the team for the naming rights.
So, get used to the BB&T Center.