BJ Crombeen

Zac Rinaldo #36 of the Philadelphia Flyers and B.J. Crombeen #19 of the Tampa Bay Lightning fight in the first period on February 5, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(February 4, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

First Flyers-Lightning game has potential for fireworks

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Circle Wednesday, Nov. 27 on your calendars.

That will mark the first matchup of the season between the Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning, two teams that — despite not having a great traditional rivalry — could produce one of the most heated battles this year.

A few things to keep an eye on for the 27th, when the two teams meet at Tampa Bay Times forum…

Vinny comes home

Heading in, there’ll be plenty of emotion regarding the return of longtime Bolts captain Vincent Lecavalier.

Bought out of his 11-year, $85 million deal in July, Lecavalier — the Lightning’s all-time leader in games played (1,037), goals (383), power play goals (112) and game-winning goals (60) — quickly signed with Philadelphia, saying he wanted to play in a passionate hockey market and preferred playing the Flyers’ style as opposed to “staying on your heels.”

Those quips aside, Tampa’s response should be overwhelmingly positive.

Lecavalier was a beloved figure in the area and was known for his community involvement — in 2007, he pledged $3 million to a pediatric cancer center (that bears his name) at the All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

The Rinaldo thing

Saying the Lightning dislike Zac Rinaldo is putting it lightly.

The Flyers forward was a thorn in the Bolts’ side throughout last season — cold-cocking BJ Crombeen in a fight, taking out both Victor Hedman and Ryan Malone — which led to Tampa players suggesting retribution is in order.

“Obviously, when he’s hurting guys, you want him to be accountable for his actions,” Crombeen told the Tampa Bay Times. “There’s always a time and place, and it will come.

“You just have to wait for it.”

Crombeen’s sentiment was echoed by Lightning winger Pierre-Cedric Labrie.

“Sometimes [Rinaldo] just doesn’t think,” he explained. “At some point he has to pay for his bad behavior.”

In case you’re unaware of Rinaldo’s history with the Lightning, let’s go to the video.

First, here’s the incident with Crombeen from Feb. 5:

Both combatants had distinctly different views on the fight.

“Typically when I’ve gotten into fights with guys in that position, you stop throwing,” Crombeen said after the game. “I mean, guys fight different ways, so I’m not really going to say if it was dirty or not.”

When asked about the scrap, Rinaldo said he finished it properly.

“I hit him until he was down,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to hit nobody no matter who they are or what they done, I’ll never hit someone when they’re down. I hit him until he was down. I made sure he was down and that was it.

“I kind of felt bad in case I didn’t stop myself, but I’m pretty sure I did.”

Then — on Mar. 18, when the Bolts beat the Flyers 4-2 in Tampa — Rinaldo landed big hits on Hedman and Malone, with the latter ending up on injured reserve (shoulder).

Here’s the hit in question:

On Wednesday, Malone addressed the hit in a rather cryptic fashion.

“I don’t need to elaborate on that,” Malone told the Tampa Bay Times. “It all works itself out later.”

Other stuff

— The Flyers and Lightning were engaged in the infamous “trap game” of 2011.

— The Lightning pried Matt Carle away from Philadelphia during last year’s free agent period.

Lightning angry with Flyers’ Rinaldo, say revenge is coming

Zac Rinaldo #36 of the Philadelphia Flyers and B.J. Crombeen #19 of the Tampa Bay Lightning fight in the first period on February 5, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(February 4, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning have an axe to grind with Zac Rinaldo.

The Flyers forward has been a thorn in the Bolts’ side throughout this season — cold-cocking BJ Crombeen in a fight, taking out both Victor Hedman and Ryan Malone — and now Tampa players are suggesting retribution is in order.

“Obviously, when he’s hurting guys, you want him to be accountable for his actions,” Crombeen told the Tampa Bay Times. “There’s always a time and place, and it will come.

“You just have to wait for it.”

Though the Bolts and Flyers won’t face each other again this season, Crombeen’s sentiment was echoed by Lightning winger Pierre-Cedric Labrie.

“Sometimes [Rinaldo] just doesn’t think,” he explained. “At some point he has to pay for his bad behavior.”

In case you’re unaware of Rinaldo’s history with the Lightning, let’s go to the video.

First, here’s the incident with Crombeen from Feb. 5:

Both combatants had distinctly different views on the fight.

“Typically when I’ve gotten into fights with guys in that position, you stop throwing,” Crombeen said after the game. “I mean, guys fight different ways, so I’m not really going to say if it was dirty or not.”

When asked about the scrap, Rinaldo said he finished it properly.

“I hit him until he was down,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to hit nobody no matter who they are or what they done, I’ll never hit someone when they’re down. I hit him until he was down. I made sure he was down and that was it.

“I kind of felt bad in case I didn’t stop myself, but I’m pretty sure I did.”

Now fast forward to Monday (Mar. 18), when the Bolts beat the Flyers 4-2 in Tampa. Rinaldo landed big hits on Hedman and Malone, with the latter ending up on injured reserve (shoulder).

Here’s the hit in question:

According to Damian Cristodero of the Times, the Lightning organization reviewed the Rinaldo-Malone hit internally before deeming it clean.

Not that it’s done much to the appease players.

Panthers captain Jovanovski out indefinitely…again

EdJo

After missing 22 games with a lower-body injury, Ed Jovanovski made his return to the Florida lineup on Saturday against the Islanders.

It lasted all of two periods.

On Monday, the Panthers announced that Jovanovski re-aggravated his injury against the Isles and would be out for an undetermined length of time.

“Eddie is going to be out indefinitely,” Florida head coach Kevin Dineen told the Sun-Sentinel. “He’s had a recurring lower-body injury that he’s worked extremely hard to get healthy, and he’s not there yet.”

Jovanovski played 10:42 in the first two periods against New York on the weekend before being pulled for the third. He didn’t return to the contest.

The 36-year-old captain had been out of Florida’s lineup since taking a knee against Tampa Bay’s BJ Crombeen on Jan. 29.

Given his age and the fact the Panthers have little to play for this season (they enter Tuesday night’s action sitting dead last in the NHL) it’s very likely Jovanovski’s season could be over.

Maybe even his career.

Dineen was reluctant to address the idea — “that’s a hard comment for me right now,” he said — but it’s clear Jovanovski has some serious issues with his knee.

Retirement, though, may not be an option.

Jovanovski signed his four-year, $16.5 million deal with the Panthers at the age of 35, meaning Florida is on the hook for the entirety of his contract.

It’s shaping up to be one of the poorest contract decisions of Dale Tallon’s GM tenure in Florida.

While the Panthers were high on Jovanovski’s veteran presence and leadership abilities, he’s now missed 38 games to various injuries and has only mustered 3G-11A-14PTS in 72 games over two years.

Devils recall Janssen, will replace Matteau in lineup

Cam Janssen
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The New Jersey Devils have recalled Cam Janssen from AHL Albany.

The Devils put Janssen, 28, on waivers in late January and dispatched him to Albany upon clearing. He’s since appeared in 14 AHL games, recording two points and 37 PIM.

Janssen wasn’t much of a factor while with the Devils this year, appearing in just three games while posting a minus-1 rating.

According to Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger, Janssen will draw into the lineup tonight against Tampa Bay, replacing rookie Stefan Matteau, who is a healthy scratch.

This will give Janssen a chance to throw down with former teammate (and roomate!) BJ Crombeen.

Panthers captain Jovanovski skates, but expected to be out two more weeks

Jovanovski Florida

Florida defenseman Ed Jovanovski will miss another two weeks of action with a troublesome knee injury, Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen told the Miami Herald.

Jovanovski, 36, skated with the Cats during Friday’s practice, a positive development given he’s been out of action since taking a knee from Tampa Bay’s BJ Crombeen on Jan. 29.

The injury has kept him out of the last seven games. If he misses another two full weeks, that games-missed total could get up to 14.

Jovanovski was given Florida’s captaincy prior to the start of the season and has played a key role on the Panthers’ defense, averaging 16:39 of ice time per night.

In five games this season, Jovanovski has one assist and a minus-2 rating. He has two years remaining on the four-year, $16 million deal he signed with the Panthers in 2011.