NEWARK–The Florida Panthers (13-9-4-30 points) play the New Jersey Devils (13-10-3-29) Sunday night in a battle of two teams among many trying to qualify for a wild card slot by season’s end.
For Jaromir Jagr it also marks a return to his last NHL address before joining the Panthers in late February. Jagr was the Devils leading scorer two seasons ago, and was leading the team in scoring at Christmas when New Jersey made a coaching change and the new regime decided to bring in a three-headed monster to coach the team to evaluate young talent, leaving the veteran Jagr out of the mix. One of Jagr’s best nights with the Devils came when he became the oldest player to record a hat trick in a game with the Philadelphia Flyers last season. Watch and enjoy:
That was against the Flyers. A few seasons before, he scored a couple goals in 18 seconds against his first NHL team, the Penguins.
Perhaps some of his old fans will get to see Jagr end a four-game pointless streak during tonight’s game. Let’s hope he’s holding the torch tonight and burns the Devils!
The move to Florida continues to pay dividends for the Panthers and Jagr, who gets the first line and power play time needed to add to legendary career scoring marks while mentoring the Panthers younger players on and off the ice.
Florida has won five games in a row which includes the first four games of a road trip that ends this evening. In a busy night for the Atlantic Division, five of six teams emerged victorious, pushing the Panthers back to fifth, only one point behind Boston. The Panthers will host Ottawa (Tuesday) and Washington (Thursday) before visiting Boston Saturday.
While the Panthers top line has been largely quiet during the recent string of wins, the defense, goaltending and penalty killing have been outstanding. Harvey Fialkov takes a look at the Panthers penalty killing in the sports section of today’s sunsentinel.com. On the front page of Sunday’s edition is also a detailed account of a proposed vote Tuesday by the Broward County commissioners regarding a revamped lease for the team at BB&T Center, which would bind the team to South Florida for the next eight seasons. This is serious business as the normally visible Doug Cifu (@dougielarge) has been very quiet on twitter in recent days. Here’s hoping Mr. Cifu and co-owner Vinnie Viola have a good a day with the commissioners Tuesday as the Panthers have enjoyed since Thanksgiving.
The Canadians are usually a fun-loving people but a few of their writers have mocked some of the US-based teams for their attendance problems. Two teams north of the border are in the bottom 10 as shown in this ESPN-produced NHL attendance chart at this link.:
We have faith that the experienced Viola and his equally determined partner Cifu are getting the wheels in motion for future success for the team both on and off the ice in South Florida.
More good reading from George Richards of the Miami Herald who reviews the Panthers recent success. Jagr quotes are included in this story: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nhl/florida-panthers/article48234280.html
Assorted Jagr-related links:
Florida Panthers 2015-16 Media Guide
Florida Panthers Team website: http://www.floridapanthers.com
Some Jagr-related social media accounts:
@68Jagr This is the real site, the one and only official Jaromir Jagr twitter account. Postings are rare.
The two best Jagr facebook pages are: https://www.facebook.com/68Jagr/ This is the page Jagr posts on, if he is going to post at all.
Another good facebook page is one produced by someone in the Czech Republic. It has more than 100,000 likes. This is not the official page, but it is very good.
@FlaPanthers and @FLAPanthersPR The official twitter accounts for news about the team.
@dougielarge Doug Cifu, few owners in sports relate to the fans as much as this man who interacts with fans and media on twitter.
@goldieonice — Steve Goldstein, TV play-by-play of the Panthers. Brings all those exciting highlights to life.
@DenisPotvinFox — NHL Hall of Famer Denis Potvin works along side Goldstein in the booth.
@HeyRedDeer color man Randy Moller who left the radio booth to help Goldstein and Potvin on TV.
@GeorgeRichards Panthers beat writer for the Miami Herald.
@HFialkov Panthers beat writer for the Sun Sentinel
@AntwanStaley Includes Panthers coverage in his all sports all the time reports
@Cats0ntheprowl twitter for Cats On the Prowl, offering detailed reviews of Panthers games and more.
@SunshineSkate twitter for The Sunshine Skate, another blog with special emphasis on advanced stats and charts that will make you dizzy.
@Zdenek_Janda US-based Czech reporter who covers the NHL and reports on other news for the people of the Czech Republic.
@Jsmidcro Jan Smid was a US-based Czech reporter who collaborated on “Jagr”, an autobiography in the late 90’s detailing Jagr’s early life and career in the NHL.
@NHLHistoryGirl This hockey loving woman shares interesting informational tidbits about hockey and the NHL in general. How does she do it?
@MyRegularFace She’s another gem. Watches lots of games and gets up GIFs faster than nhl.com or anyone else out there.
@KrRutherford Kristina Rutherford wrote a great article for Canada’s sportsnet magazine.
Nigel Buchanan, whose superhero treatment of Jagr in his art for sportsnet magazine is one of the many efforts he has on display at http://www.nigelbuchanan.com.
Quant Hockey: Career stats updated game by game by a hockey lover in Europe. Site enables you to find career leaders in any offensive category by clicking on the category you are researching.
@rytiriKladno The Kladno Hockey Club: Before coming to the NHL Jagr played for this team in the Czech league as a teenager. Now he owns the team. It’s in Czech but some devices can translate to English. Follow them at:
@HockeyCzech National organization for hockey in the Czech Republic.
@68isgr8 is the twitter for The Traveling Jagrs. Clad in different Jagr jerseys and hair styles from 68’s career, they gained league-wide recognition when they caught Jagr’s attention during a pre-game skate of a Dallas Stars game in Canada during the 2012-2013 season. Since then, they convene at games in Western Canada and make a road trip or two every year, playing street hockey with locals, posing for hundreds of pictures, and having a good time with fans while honoring an all-time NHL legend.
Ray Haluska aka Kladno Jagr, curator of the Jagr-O-Meter