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Motivated Weiss Returns To Florida Lineup

Panthers forward Stephen Weiss will be back in the lineup tonight against the Sabres after missing Tuesdays 6-4 victory over Pittsburgh following the death of his grandmother.

In truth, its been longer than one game since Weiss last played a regular shift its been one game and one period, as the 29-year-old was benched by head coach Kevin Dineen for all but two short shifts in the third period of Sundays 4-1 loss to the Bruins.

Its never fun to be sat and the easy answer is to play better. Thats the bottom line, Weiss said today, per the Miami Herald. That stuff doesnt bother me. Its not the first time Ive been benched and its probably not the last time Ill be benched. Its just a matter of how you deal with it. You put it behind you and just keep pushing forward, try to play better.

Weiss Floridas fourth overall draft pick in 2001 has just one goal and three assists in 14 games. His struggles are doubly noteworthy as hes in the final year of a six-year, $18.6 million contract, with unrestricted free agency a possibility come July 1.

In November, Weiss said, I want to end my career with the Panthers. And not every pending free agent thats left Florida (see: Jay Bouwmeester) has felt that way.

But whether the budget-conscious club is willing to shell out the money to re-sign Weiss, especially given his current form, remains to be seen.

For more on this story visit: Jason Brough, NBC Sports Pro Hockey Talk


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