According to a report from SunSentinel beat writer Harvey Fialkov, Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski has been medically cleared to return and will make his season debut Saturday night against the Nashville Predators. The JovoCop underwent a hip resurfacing procedure, in lieu of a complete hip replacement, in hopes of continuing his long NHL career. One wonders, given his age (37) and the rigors he will face on the repaired joint, how long this fix will allow the defender to keep suiting up. The Panthers have been without their captain since March, so hopefully his return will provide the club with a spark.
It also seems Scottie Upshall will be back for Saturday's tilt against the Predators. Upshall was drafted by Nashville in 2002 and played 100 regular season games for the Music City club. The rejuvenated winger has missed the last three games for the Panthers with an upper body injury and was expected to be out for a bit longer, so this is welcome news indeed. Upshall was a healthy scratch the first time the teams met this season, a game the Predators won 4-3 in Nashville on October 15th.
Tampa Bay is the only Atlantic Division team in action tonight, so the Cats will enter tomorrow's game ten points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the Eastern Conference's final wildcard spot with a game in hand. Toronto, who is heating up again, holds the first wildcard slot. The surging Maple Leafs are eleven points ahead of the Panthers.
Today is mostly an off day, except for a regulation game between Germany and Norway, at the 2014 World Junior Championship taking place in Malmo, Sweden. Tomorrow's semifinals will see the host team battle Russia at 9 AM and Canada take on Finland at 1 PM.
And finally, the San Antonio Rampage get back at it tonight with the first of a home-and-home against seemingly constant opponent, the Oklahoma City Barons, at the AT&T Center. The teams will square off again tomorrow night at Cox Convention Center in OKC. Thankfully, they will not meet again until March.
It's a Caterwaul, so feel free to fire away in the comment section!