« DINEEN OFFICIALLY UPSET: Panthers Coach Upset with 'Lack of Respect' | Main | PENALTY KILLED: Panthers Finding Power Play Success, Not so Much on the Kill ... Homecoming in Winnipeg »

THEODORE RETURNS: Jose Theodore Practices, Wants to Play for Florida Panthers Before End of Season

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Jose Theodore slipped into his Panthers jersey Monday afternoon to join his teammates on the ice for the first time since tearing two groin muscles in Carolina on March 2.

Theodore was in full uniform for the team's annual picture on the BB&T Center ice. He hopes that wasn't the last time.

Not only did Theodore start skating Monday for the first time since being hurt, but he plans on joining the Panthers in regular practice during the final two weeks of the season.

Theodore also said he hopes to get back into game shape so he can start one of Florida's final 10 games.

"It was good to be back in the gym, but it felt really good to be back on the ice in the equipment,'' Theodore said while sitting in a stall between current Florida goalies Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen.

"My goal is to be healthy and start practicing, get a game or two in. When the summer comes and you're training, you want that piece of mind. I want to be able to focus on training and not overthink this summer. If I can practice and play, that will get my confidence up.''

Florida coach Kevin Dineen has often spoken of his fondness for Theodore and said the team took a hit when he had to be helped off the Carolina ice with the torn groin muscles.

Because Theodore didn't need surgery, a potential return is possible.

"I felt it right away, knew something really wrong had happened,'' Theodore said of his injury. "It was a sharp pain and I knew it was bad. The MRI showed two big tears and they knew it was six-to-eight weeks. As a goalie it can take longer. I'm going to be smart with it.''

Dineen said he welcomes the effort and would welcome Theodore back.

"We have had a unique year on the injury front so to be able to get a quality guy like that would be great,'' Dineen said. "We won't go there on him playing in a game until a more realistic point because we are a ways away from that. I've always been a fan of his and it's been a tough year for him. It's good to see him working so hard to get back.''

General manager Dale Tallon is in a bit of a sticky position these days after telling a group of potential season ticket holders that he wasn't opposed to re-signing Theodore to a new contract.

Florida, if it brings back Theodore, would have three goalies under contract next season as the 23-year-old Markstrom is a restricted free agent and Clemmensen is signed for one more season.

If Theodore is brought back, Clemmensen would likely be the odd man out in the Florida rotation.

"Time will tell what happens,'' Tallon said Sunday during Clemmensen's masterful 40 save performance in a 2-1 win over Ottawa. "I was very happy with him. He works hard, is a pro and I like him. It's just a matter of getting Markstrom signed, we have Clem signed. We'll see what happens. We really have no commitment to anything right now.''

Theodore said Monday that he is working himself back for next season - with the hope that it's with the Panthers. He said he doesn't think there will any awkwardness with Clemmensen.

Theodore, 36, would be playing in his 16th NHL season next year.

"I want to turn the page and forget about [the injury] and just get ready for the season,'' said Theodore, who was 4-6-3 with the Panthers this season. "We've built something here and I want to be part of the solution here. We hadn't made the playoffs in 12 years yet won the division last year. We have a good team. I want to be part of it.''


The Panthers were once again without Drew Shore (wrist) in practice Monday although Dineen said he skated before the team's practice. With Tuesday off, Shore could practice Wednesday and play Thursday in Winnipeg.

Defenseman Mike Weaver (knee) practiced again Monday but Dineen said his status for Thursday was still questionable.

-- With the expected return of Shore, Scott Timmins -- who played in Florida's back-to-back set this past weekend -- was returned to AHL San Antonio.

-- The Panthers had a number of their injured players back in uniform for the photo shoot including Theodore, Kris Vertseeg (knee) and Stephen Weiss (wrist).

"We had the gang back together,'' Dineen quipped.

THEODORE RETURNS: Jose Theodore Practices, Wants to Play for Florida Panthers Before End of Season


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

was bergenheim available for the picture? where has he been and what of his injury?

I am not sure. He won a settlement with the panthers after playing hurt/aggravating an injury in the Finnish league during the lockout (claiming he was hurt before the lockout). It is a strange story and we probably wont know the details until the summer.

It will be interesting to see how Tallon is going to address mixing the young talent with veterans, who stays and who goes.

Peps- Tallon has already addressed it sending Smithson to Edmonton and Santorelli on waivers. Panthers have young players that can fill the roles previously held by vets. It has taken time for the players to find chemistry but the last few games show a sign of development. Add Vertseeg and Weiss and Panthers are a much more potent team. Next training camp I hope Tallon and Dineen crack the whip, guys that are not in shape are traded, cut, sent to minors or bought out before the season starts....There are guys like Upshall who are not worth the money they make and the team would be better served with a younger player on the roster. Same goes for Weaver. I trust Tallon and Dineen to get the slugs out of the line-up and put a real team on the ice next year. This year's team that showed up was not ready for primetime and the standings proves it. Get rid of the slackers and guys who are not earning their salary and add some youth.

I agree with you but Smithson and Santorelli are roll players at best. There are a few key contracts up in the air and decisions to be made in regards to whom of the rookies stays etc.
It is always risky to have a too young of a team but if they are better than the veterans, by all means....
It will be interesting to see how Tallon addresses this.
It is always a question as to what you have vs. what you think you can get instead i.e. if the replacement is an improvement. Replacing players have not been our strong suit in the past. We can spend hours talking about the poor trades, UFA acquisitions etc we have made over the years, it is really sad.
However, Tallon is the first GM I can say I believe in since I moved to the area in 1999 and there has been a few.
Tallon in Chicago is a prime example of how you can turn a team around if you know how to draft and replace players intelligently.

Upshall has 4 goals and 8 points in 44 games over two seasons and makes $3.5 million per year. He is made of clay and when he is playing he usually takes a bad penalty. I would rather have Howden in the line-up than Upshall. Trade or buyout Upshall, he is the worst UFA signing, worse than the signing of Esa Tikkanen. If Bergenheim is healthy I would keep him, he was good last year, part of the problem this year was his absence. Goc is okay I would keep him. Bring back Mueller, he has been very good. With a healthy Vertseeg and Weiss this is a different team.

We need to bring back Goc. Great in the locker room, and works hard every single shift. Not to mention wins EVERY big face-off you put him in.

@ me.yahoo.com/a/SUtiizZyquIGAhZDVGhU7DUaRboV8A-- (that is a name:-)
Very good analysis and I agree with you. I also agree with bringing back Goc as he brings a lot of intangibles as "We Suck Again" rightly points out. Weiss is a no-brainer and we need Jovo's leadership back. Let's hope his hip injury is repairable.

Peps - for some reason when I sign in through Yahoo it signs me as that. I have no control over that.

I should add that only happens on this site.

That is odd. But now I know, thanks.

Weiss injury may be worse than it would appear. He has had wrist problems, this isnt his first. I would not be surprised to see him elswhere next season. He didnt want to talk contract during the season eventhough Tallon still tried with his agent. After his injury, Tallon was hesitant on Weiss stating that he would wait on the surgery. This could be tit for tat business gamesmanship but I think it could be more. Wrist injuries can be very difficult to deal with. There can be a problem with blood flow to some bodies in the wrist such as the schaphoid and lunate bones. No blood supply, no healing and surgical intervention to re-supply blood flow is iffy and not always possible at all depending on what is affected and how. Fusion is not a viable option for an athlete, especially one who relies on his hands and wrist to be effective. I cant recall for sure but I believe an injury related to this is what ended the career of Paul Laus. I am NOT saying any of this is what Weiss is dealing with, I dont know for sure. I surely hope it isnt. He has a lot of quality hockey left. Underappreciated player and I'd love to have him back healthy and in a Panther jersey.

And, apologies for my poor spelling and grammar above.

The comments to this entry are closed.