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The Captain Is Back

Jovanovski set to put on the "C" and lead the Cats into 2014.

Friday, 01.03.2014 / 2:20 PM / News
Florida Panthers
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The Captain Is Back
Jovanovski set to put on the \"C\" and lead the Cats into 2014.

JovoCop is back on patrol.

Captain Ed Jovanovski will make his 2013-2014 debut on Saturday night when the Florida Panthers host the Nashville Predators at the BB&T Center at 7pm.

After receiving medical clearance to return on Friday, Jovanovski will play for the first time since undergoing a hip resurfacing procedure on March 28th, 2013.

“I remained positive throughout the whole thing” said Jovanovski following Friday’s Panthers practice at the Saveology IcePlex. “I’ve been positive throughout this and I’m going to continue to be positive, that’s all I can ask for.”

It is believed that Jovanovski will be the first professional athlete to return to the highest level of competition following such a procedure, which is a testament to his commitment throughout the recovery process.

As General Manager Dale Tallon told reporters, “I am really proud of the way he has dedicated to himself to the rehab process. It has been a tough road for him, but it does not surprise me how he responded due to the make-up of the man and the character he has. Getting our captain back is really a big plus for our team”

Panthers coaches and players are certainly looking forward to the return of the defenseman who fans nicknamed “JovoCop” for his rugged style of play.  

“It will be great to get him back in the line-up, just the presence of him, the captain, the leader of the team,” affirmed interim head coach Peter Horachek.” He passes the puck hard, battles hard in drills and that work ethic is necessary and needed for our team. Just having him around the last few days in our meetings, in the gym, has been huge for the team.”

“I think it’s going to be great,” exclaimed defenseman Mike Weaver, who has teamed with Jovanovski since the 2011 season when the Panthers captured the Southeast Division title. “It’s going to be a great uplift for the team, having that big shot at the point, especially on the power play, it’s going to be great for us.”

Jovanovski last played for the Panthers on March 16th, 2013 after being named captain prior to that lockout-shortened season. The team chose to not have another player don the “C” in his absence.

The captain, who is just nine regular season games shy of 1100, is set to resume an illustrious NHL career and build on an impressive resume in South Florida.

Drafted first overall by the Panthers in the 1994-1995 NHL Entry Draft, Jovanovski would waste no time making his mark and picking up accolades along the way.

In his first full season, the man who would wear #55 in red was a Calder Trophy finalist for Rookie of the Year and was selected to the NHL’s All Rookie Team. Relying on his defensive prowess, the Panthers captivated South Florida that season as they went on a Cinderella run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. Jovanovski would play in all 22 Panthers playoff games and record 9 point while taking 51 shots on goal, many of them booming blasts from the blue line.

In January 1999, the Panthers traded Jovanovski to Vancouver in a move that would bring Pavel Bure to Sunrise. With the Canucks, and later the Phoenix Coyotes, Jovanovski enjoyed continued success and was selected to 5 NHL All-Star Games while also capturing a gold medal for Canada at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.

After signing a 4-year contract, Jovanovski would rejoin the Panthers prior to the 2011-2012 season, a campaign in which he played 66 games and helped the team make the playoffs.

He is eager to return to the Panthers and the game of hockey, both of which have missed him.

“When you love doing something and still want to continue to do it, for me it’s no different,” said Jovanovski. “My passion for the game is still at a high. I enjoy coming to the rink. I enjoy the competitive side of it and I enjoy the guys. I love what I do.”





1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52


N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09


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