DETROIT -- Panthers coach Peter Horachek said the decision to sit Erik Gudbranson on Sunday after the team activated Dylan Olsen was based on performance.
Gudbranson's playing time has been diminished since he returned from having surgery on his orbital bone after being smacked in the face from a puck in December.
"The bottom line is he really hasn't played well,'' Horachek said. "He has played poorly since he's had that cage on. We've been going with six guys, now we have a healthy guy back. You have to make decisions. He has to learn from it. It's difficult for a player to wear that cage when he's not used to it. You're looking down all the time for the puck. I think it has effected his game. He hasn't been at the top of [his game]. It will come back. He's a good kid with a lot of character. He wants to win, he cares. He'll learn from it and move forward.''
Gudbranson said he wouldn't use wearing the full-metal cage on his helmet as an excuse.
"There's no issue with that,'' Gudbranson said. "I just need to get back to playing hockey.''
Gudbranson was unconfortable talking about being benched, saying that he was simply happy the Panthers won in Detroit.
"Getting two points here was the best thing that could happen,'' he said. "This is going to go a long way for us in the future.''
-- Florida put Tomas Kopecky on the injured list. Since it was done retroactively, Kopecky is eligible to come off Tuesday in Boston. Aleksander Barkov, Horachek said, could meet the team in Boston and play Tuesday against the Bruins.
-- The Panthers sent defenseman Alex Petrovic back to their AHL team in San Antonio. Petrovic had been working his way back from injury and hasn't played since Jan. 4.