A little over one-third of the way through the regular season, the Florida Everblades return home to Germain Arena in unfamiliar territory.
After a disappointing 1-2 road trip, they enter their pair of games Thursday and Friday against the Trenton Titans with a 13-13-2 overall record, but surprisingly in last place in the South Division standings.
Blades coach Greg Poss is quick to dismiss any talk that the team is on a downswing.
"From an effort standpoint, I have no complaints about the team," he said, "but I think we have the most long term call-ups in the entire league right now.
"Between that and the fact we have had players playing positions they don't normally play due to injuries, I have little problem with our record. The league is very good this year, and everyone is pretty close together."
In his defense, the Blades may be in last place in their division, but are just six points out of first place with the majority of their divisional games left to play.
Before they get that far, they must get through a tough Titans squad this week. This is their first meeting of the year, but Poss is prepared.
"Just like everybody else, they are a good team and are already jockeying for a possible playoff spot," said Poss. "The league is very good this year. We have had our call-ups - maybe more than most - but everybody goes through the same things. The truth is, the league is very good this year and everybody is looking for an edge."
Trenton comes to Southwest Florida with less than a .500 record at 10-13-3, which could allow Blades fans to unwrap some early Christmas cheer.
The Everblades and Titans first meet on a rare Thursday night game at Germain Arena with a rematch Friday. The puck drops for both games at 7:30 p.m.