SUNRISE, Fla. — Ed Jovanovski admitted Saturday morning there were several times during the past several months when he wondered whether he would ever play another NHL game.
His perseverance has paid off, and the Florida Panthers captain is set to make his season debut Saturday against the Nashville Predators at BB&T Center.
"I'm excited, for sure," Jovanovski said after the Panthers' morning skate. "It's been a long while. For me, there's been a lot of days where it beats up on you, but it's all worth it for having the opportunity to play a game again."
Jovanovski will be playing his first game after having hip resurfacing surgery April 5. He played six games last season, none after March 16.
The veteran defenseman first was injured Jan. 29 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and missed 22 games. He came back for the one game in March against the New York Islanders, but his return lasted less than two periods.
"For the most part, I remained positive throughout this whole process, listened to the doctors, listened to our trainers," Jovanovski said. "I was on a pretty good program to get to where I am today. Hopefully all that hard work and all the listening that I had hopefully is going to pay off for me."