Devils won’t give out team awards this year, Lamoriello mum on why

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It’s been an, ahem, unconventional year in New Jersey, so consider that while reading the latest from The Record’s Tom Gulitti:

Gulitti notes the Devils didn’t hand out trophies during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign either; the reason given was that it wasn’t a full season.

As for this season, it’s been both odd and disappointing. The Devils began with one head coach (Peter DeBoer) and, barring something crazy, will finish with three (Lamoriello, Adam Oates, Scott Stevens). They also missed the playoffs for the third straight year, something former captain Zach Parise said he “never would’ve predicted.”

“Just because of the way things are run,” Parise said in early March, per the Star-Ledger. “I hope they can pull off something at the end of the year, or next year, and get back in.”

Your guess is as good as any to why the Devils aren’t handing out hardware. If it’s because Lamoriello and company didn’t want to celebrate a disappointing campaign, that’s fine, but New Jersey gave out trophies last year — Jaromir Jagr won MVP, Andy Greene earned Unsung Hero and Ryan Carter took home the Players’ Player — despite the fact the Devils finished 10th in the Eastern Conference, with just 35 wins.

As is often the case in New Jersey, you can probably chalk this latest decision up to Lou being Lou.

Jagr now shares fourth on all-time points list with Ron Francis

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The Florida Panthers kept their faint playoff hopes alive on Thursday with a crushing 6-1 victory over Carolina. Along the way, Jaromir Jagr collected his 721st career goal and 1,077th career assist.

Those 1,798 points put him in a tie with Ron Francis for fourth place on the NHL’s all-time scoring leaderboard. Francis joined the Pittsburgh Penguins during Jagr’s rookie campaign with the franchise and the two played together until the 1998-99 campaign.

Jagr turned 43 on Feb. 15, but he has still managed to score 16 goals and 43 points in 73 contests in 2014-15. To put that in perspective, of players who were 42 or older by Feb. 1 of the applicable campaign, Gordie Howe is the all-time single season leader with 52 points. Jagr is just the fifth player to get at least 43 points in a season at 42 (again, by Feb. 1) or older along with Mark Recchi, Igor Larionov, and Mark Messier, per Hockey Reference.

It’s likely that his longevity will continue to be put to the test as Florida is interested in re-signing him for the 2015-16 campaign. The Panthers’ interest isn’t surprising given that he has 14 points in 16 games since joining the team from New Jersey.

His success with Florida also means this tie might not last long.

Jagr, Panthers keep pace in wild card race

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Jaromir Jagr scored twice, including the game winner, as the Florida Panthers doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2.

Jagr’s second of the night, and 15th of the season, moves him two points back of former teammate Ron Francis for fourth on the NHL’s all-time points list.

With the win, Florida moved four points back of the Boston Bruins for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers trail the Senators by just one point.

Ottawa now trails Boston by three points.

“Everybody knows how important it was to win this game. It was Game 7 for us,” said Jagr. “We just have to get ready for the next Game 7 against Boston.”

Jagr’s agent met with Panthers’ GM Dale Talon on Saturday. The two sides appear interested in getting a deal done, but right now the focus is on the playoff race.

“Nobody really gives those kids any credit,” said Jagr of the young team in Florida. “How young they are, they’re so talented. They’re going to surprise the league in two years. They might win the cup the way and they’re going to get better and better. They don’t even have to do anything and they’re going to get better.”

Jussi Jokinen and Dave Bolland had the other Panthers goals while Dan Ellis made 25 saves for the win.

Florida has points in three straight games and five of their last six.

Senators captain Erik Karlsson scored his 20th of the season and Jean-Gabriel Pageau had the other for Ottawa. The Sens have lost three straight for the first time since Feb. 3-7.

Craig Anderson made his second straight start and made 33 saves in the loss.

Jagr, Panthers focused on playoffs fight, not contract talks

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The Florida Panthers appear to be very interested in re-signing recent trade acquisition Jaromir Jagr, so it wasn’t surprising to hear that Jagr’s agent, Peter Svoboda, was scheduled to meet with Panthers GM Dale Talon. However, while Florida did relay its interest in a contract extension directly to Svoboda, there won’t be a signing in the near future.

After all, the Panthers are still trying to claw their way into the playoffs.

“This is too important a time; we’ll get to it when time is right,” Tallon told the Miami Herald.

“We’ll talk after the season. … He has interest [in staying] but is a free agent on July 1. He’ll make up his mind when he makes up his mind. From what I’ve seen and what has gone on, it would be tremendous to have him back here.”

Jagr has two goals and 10 points in 13 games with the Florida Panthers and has tried to be a mentor for his linemates, 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov.

Florida is four points behind the Boston Bruins in the battle for the second Wild Card seed with seven games remaining in each team’s schedule.

Video: Barkov gets the Panthers on the board with a beautiful backhander

Aleksander Barkov finished off a nice passing play by line mates Jaromir Jagr and Jonathan Huberdeau to get the Panthers on the board tonight in Montreal.

The 19-year-old beat Carey Price with a nice backhander for his 13th of the season.