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Jagr on helping Giroux win scoring title: “It would be like I won it”


CSN Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio caught up with Jaromir Jagr on Tuesday to discuss the 39-year-old’s goals for the second half of the season. Jagr said he had plenty of goals to achieve, but one stood out above the rest:

Getting Claude Giroux the Art Ross trophy.

“Individually, I have the goal to play the way I think I can – that would make me happy,” Jagr said. “Maybe help G [Giroux] to win the scoring title. Maybe help Hartsy [Scott Hartnell] to have the best season ever. That’s my goals.”

With the second goal already accomplished — Hartnell just competed in his first-ever All-Star game — Jagr, a five-time Art Ross winner, can now focus on making Giroux the first Flyer to win a scoring title.

[Worth noting: In 1994-95, Eric Lindros came within a whisker of winning Philly’s first-ever Art Ross. He finished tied atop the scoring leaderboard with 70 points — it was a strike-shortened season — but lost on a tiebreaker because he had fewer goals than the winner…Pittsburgh’s Jaromir Jagr!]

“To me, it would be like I won it,” Jagr said about Giroux winning the trophy. “It’s tough for one guy to do it. You always need help from your teammates. There is no more [Wayne] Gretzky in the league.

“If I play with him and I play good, I think he’s is going to win it. But it’s up to me how I play.”

Giroux currently sits second in league scoring with 55 points, three back of Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, who won the Art Ross three years ago. Giroux said he and Jagr talk often about capturing the scoring crown.

“Obviously, I want to do that,” he said. “Jags has been talking about me for the last year about winning that. It’d be cool to win it, but I never would go out of my way to win the scoring title.

“If it’s there, it’s there.”

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
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Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.