Defenceman Ed Jovanovski knew he needed hip surgery when “my kids had to help me put on my socks because I couldn’t bend over.” The wear and tear on his hip had severely reduced the Florida Panthers rearguard’s mobility. “I couldn’t tie my skates unless I reached out. I couldn’t bend.” He will be on Panthers trip to Edmonton later this month. When he plays is anyone’s guess. - Goalie Martin Brodeur saves he’d agree to a trade at the deadline to a contender if the New Jersey Devils are out of the playoffs. “Why not? (Ray) Bourque did it. Not like I’m going to play 25 more years,” Brodeur said. He’d be lukewarm going as an insurance backup. How about San Jose, where old friend and coach Larry Robinson is, as a No. 2 fallback to Antti Niemi? That might get his attention. - The Panthers have a terrific prospect on defence at Boston College, Mike Matheson, who could be on their blue-line next year. “He’s like Duncan Keith, and red-hair (like Keith),” said Tallon. - Worst free-agent signing the last few years: Ville Leino, who somehow got $27 million over six years from the Buffalo Sabres. He got his first shot of the season, in his seventh game, the other night. That’s first shot, not first goal or point. He has four years left at a $4.6-million salary cap hit. Buyout, baby. - Now-fired Philadelphia Flyers Peter Laviolette did team captain Claude Giroux no favours when he called the forward “the best player on the planet” a couple of years ago. As somebody in Philly cracked, “he’s only the third best player in the state.” Crosby and Malkin in Pittsburgh would be 1-2, and Malkin has had a pedestrian start because he missed James Neal on his wing, who just returned to the Penguins lineup from a knee injury.