Jaromir Jagr

End of an era in New Jersey as Shero replaces Lamoriello as GM

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The NHL’s longest-serving GM is done.

Lou Lamoriello, who’s been in charge in New Jersey since 1987, has relinquished his title as general manager to former Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero.

“This is my decision with 100 percent support of ownership,” Lamoriello said on a conference call, adding that he would retain his role as president of hockey operations. “Ray is well-respected throughout the hockey industry and knows what it takes to win.

“His 22 seasons of NHL front-office experience will be beneficial to the New Jersey Devils organization. I look forward to working alongside Ray.”

Lamoriello, 72, steps away from his GM role after winning three Stanley Cups and leading the Devils to the playoffs all but three times between 1988 and 2012. The club has failed to make the postseason in each of the last three seasons, however, and Lamoriello has faced increasing criticism following several failed free agent acquisitions.

“Teams and personnel dictate changes,” Lamoriello said. “Ray might do things just a little different than I do.”

Shero, 52, has been out of work since being fired by Pittsburgh last summer. During his time with the Penguins, Shero captured one Stanley Cup (in 2009) in eight years on the job. He will immediately be tasked with hiring the club’s next head coach, as the Devils finished last season with Adam Oates and Scott Stevens behind the bench.

With this hire, Shero falls out of contention with the vacant Boston Bruins GM gig, which he was rumored to be shortlisted for.

“It’s a great situation for me,” Shero said during Wednesday’s call. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Shero has plenty of work ahead of him. Aside from the coaching search, he holds the sixth overall pick at this June’s draft, as well as No. 36 and 41 (the latter acquired in the Jaromir Jagr trade with Florida.) Shero will also need to work on new contracts for RFAs Stefan Matteau, Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas, and decide what he wants to do with veteran UFAs (Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat, Steve Bernier, Jordin Tootoo, Scott Gomez, Bryce Salvador, Peter Harrold and Mark Fraser.)

Give the names on that list and the regime change from Lamoriello to Shero, the Devils could be a very different-looking team in 2015-16.

Note: Lamoriello went out of his way to thank Penguins CEO David Morehouse and the entire organization for their cooperation in the Shero hiring process, but noted there would be no compensation going to Pittsburgh. This offseasons is the first of the NHL’s re-instituted policy to award teams compensatory draft picks should their executives or coaches be hired by other teams.

Voracek to captain host Czech team at Worlds

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Flyers forward Jakub Voracek has netted himself a fairly big honor, as he’ll captain the Czech team at the upcoming World Hockey Championships in Prague.

This tournament is of great significance in Voracek’s native land. The Czech Republic hasn’t hosted the Worlds in 11 years — Prague and Ostrava shared duties in 2004 — and the country hasn’t medaled since capturing bronze in 2012.

To put even more significance on the “C,” do consider Voracek received the captaincy ahead of future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, who came out of international retirement to play for the Czechs in this tourney.

The sweater letter is well deserved. Voracek is coming off the best season of his seven-year NHL career with a career-high 81 points in 82 games, finishing tied with Alex Ovechkin for fourth in the league in scoring.

Jagr to play at World Championship

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Jaromir Jagr will play for the Czech Republic at next month’s World Hockey Championship.

It was nearly a year ago that Jagr announced his retirement from international competition.

The 43-year-old played in 77 NHL games this season with the New Jersey Devils and Flordia Panthers scoring 17 goals and 47 points.

Jagr signed a one-year extension with the Panthers two weeks ago.

Joining Jagr on the Czech national team will be Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda and Canes’ blue liner Michal Jordan.

Winnipeg Jets’ goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will also represent the Czech Republic at the tournament, which runs through May 17.

Panthers re-sign Jagr to a one-year deal

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The Florida Panthers have re-signed Jaromir Jagr to a one-year contract the club announced.

In 20 games with the Panthers this season Jagr had six goals and 18 points.

“Once he got here and he saw the talent, he’s really on board and he’s really excited,” said GM Dale Tallon.

The 43-year-old had a 11 goals and 29 points in 57 games with the New Jersey Devils prior to being dealt.

Florida finished the season last in attendance averaging 11,265 a night.

“Lets change it,” he said via George Richards of the Miami Herald. “I think people started realizing… they can see it when you watch TV, it’s a different team, a different Florida Panthers. Young guys with a lot of talent and speed and they can beat anybody.

“(The fans) are going to come. It’s just a matter of time. If we play good, if we start winning, they’re going to come. I hope they come and I wish they come.”

Jagr also shed light on just how bad Nick Bjugstad’s back injury was. Bjugstad underwent successful surgery in March.

“He was sitting next to me and when he tied his skates, he was on his knees,” said Jagr. “I thought ‘what’s going on here?’ I’d never seen anything like that. Then I found out he’s injured so he couldn’t even bend, he couldn’t tie his skates, but he played through that.”

Jagr says he still enjoys the game and knows when he will step away.

“When hockey starts to be my job, I’m not going to play anymore,” he said. “It’s got to be fun for me. I’ve got to love it.”

PHT Morning Skate: Henrik Sedin gives 700th assist puck to fan with Make-A-Wish

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Henrik Sedin gave his 700th assist milestone puck to Alex, who spent a day with the Vancouver Canucks with the help of Make-A-Wish:

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $10,000 league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $1,200. Starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET. Play Now!

By helping the Florida Panthers beat the Boston Bruins on Thursday, Jaromir Jagr thinks he’s given Pittsburgh Penguins fans a reason to like him again. (Steve Goldstein)

Travis Zajac sees the criticism he’s been on the receiving end of as something that “comes with that territory.” Zajac, who agreed to a eight-year, $46 million deal in 2013, has 24 points in 73 games this season. (The Bergen Record)

Here are the highlights from St. Louis’ 2-1 win over Chicago:

Here are five things the Detroit Red Wings had working for them in their successful quest to clinch the playoffs for a 24th straight campaign. (NHL.com)

If the Ottawa Senators make the playoffs, then there will be five Canadian teams in the first round. That’s not a scenario many people would have predicted going into the 2014-15 campaign. (Toronto Sun)

Meanwhile the Edmonton Oilers are wrapping up a campaign that fans might wish they could forget. (Edmonton Journal)