Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was on the ice Wednesday for the first time since training camp began Jan. 3.

Bobrovsky had been declared "unfit to play" by the Panthers with no reason provided for his absence.

The two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goaltender spent approximately 90 minutes on the ice, beginning with drills and technique work and finishing with the full-squad practice session.

"It's great to be back, and I felt good," Bobrovsky said afterward. "Just a few more practices and I'll be ready to go."

Bobrovsky gained additional time to be ready because the Panthers' scheduled opening games against Dallas on Thursday and Friday were postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak involving the Stars. Florida now opens on Sunday against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.

Panthers coach Joel Quenneville will monitor Bobrovsky's progress and fitness level to see if he'll be ready to start or if starting Chris Driedger or Sam Montembeault is the better option.

"I think he's more than excited to get the season going and do what he has to do," Quenneville said. "He's approached it the right way."

Bobrovsky is entering the second season of a seven-year, $70 million deal he signed with the Panthers as a free agent on July 1, 2019.

The Russian posted a career-worst 3.23 goals-against average while going 23-19-6 in 50 games (48 starts) last season. He had a .900 save percentage.

Overall, Bobrovsky is 278-172-43 with a 2.54 GAA and .917 save percentage in 507 appearances (494 starts) in 10 seasons. He spent his first two seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers before playing with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the next seven campaigns.

Bobrovsky won both his Vezina awards with the Blue Jackets -- the first after the 2012-13 season and the second following the 2016-17 campaign.

Bobrovsky is now focused on putting last season behind him. He said it has been hard being away from the team this month.

"It's definitely not easy, knowing your teammates are working hard and hustling and getting ready and you are kind of out of action," Bobrovsky said. "It's not easy, but I'm glad that it's behind me. I'm very excited to be here, and it was a great practice."

--Field Level Media

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