Jaromir Jagr

Panthers squeak by Islanders in SO to stay on Bruins’ heels


The Boston Bruins pulled off a dramatic comeback against the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon, putting the pressure on the Florida Panthers to beat the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders just to keep pace. The Panthers didn’t make it look easy, but they got two points in a 4-3 shootout victory.

Without defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Tomas Kopecky (both flu), the Panthers leaned heavily on 35-year-old Brian Campbell and 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr, giving them 26:18 and 21:12 minutes of ice time respective. However, it was ultimately Jonathan Huberdeau, 21, that proved to be the hero tonight.

He netted a key goal for the Panthers in the third period and accounted for the only marker in the shootout.

The Panthers also had Dan Ellis playing between the pipes as goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya are both sidelined. Ellis kicked out 25 of 28 shots before out dueling Frans Nielsen, John Tavares, and Josh Bailey in the skills competition.

Florida improved to 29-23-14 to remain two points shy of the Bruins in the battle for the second Wild Card spot. It’s worth noting though that Boston has a huge lead in ROW (30 to 22), so any tie is projected to go to the Bruins.

Ryder, Havlat don’t sound thrilled about still being Devils


The New Jersey Devils had a quiet trade deadline day — GM Lou Lamoriello’s lone move was shipping out veteran d-man Marek Zidlicky — and, all told, only two Devils changed teams over deadline week: Zidlicky and Jaromir Jagr, now with Florida.

This, of course, led to several questions about the guys that stayed put.

Like forwards Michael Ryder and Martin Havlat, specifically — the two, who have served as healthy scratches repeatedly this season, remained in New Jersey following Monday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline… and neither sounded too excited about it.

From the Star-Ledger:

Havlat was clearly frustrated about not being traded.

“Not much has changed. There’s no reason to talk at all,” Havlat said. “I never asked about being traded. We never talked about it. It was not in my hands.

“I’m just a player. That’s all.”

Ryder said he has not spoken to Lamoriello about not being traded.

“It’s pretty hard to move a guy when he hasn’t played and other teams are wondering why you’re not playing. It’s kind of tough, I think, to move somebody that’s not playing,” Ryder repeated.

“You don’t know what is going to happen at the trade deadline and what teams are looking and what people are trying to do. If I got moved, I got moved. I was hoping that something maybe would happen just so I would get an opportunity.”

As the comments suggest, it’s been a forgettable year for both. Havlat signed on the cheap in the hopes of reviving his career following a rough ending in San Jose, but has failed to make an impact and has just five goals and 14 points through 38 games.

Ryder, who had a decent campaign last year with 18 goals, has just six through 44 contests this season.

Neither Ryder nor Havlat dressed for Tuesday’s win over Nashville, and it’s tough to see how many opportunities they’ll get over the final 18 games of the season. While it’s possible that Lamoriello was just unable to move either of the two — especially Ryder, who carries a $3.5M cap hit — it does seem strange some kind of transaction couldn’t get done, especially since both will become UFAs on July 1.

Bernier bests Panthers as Luongo goes from injured (and in street clothes) to back in net


It’s oddly fitting that a goalie shined the brightest in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, as netminders provided tons of drama.

Jonathan Bernier was absolutely brilliant in making 40 saves and ended Toronto’s 16-game road winless streak, but most eyes were on Roberto Luongo, Al Montoya and … Robb Tallas.

It started out with Luongo, who was hurt by a first period shot. Montoya then got hurt himself during the third period, yet with Florida in a huge bind, the backup goalie did his best to tough things out (eventually giving up the game-deciding goal as he could barely move properly).

All eyes were on the Panthers bench and walkway, as goalie coach Tallas warmed up in an emergency capacity. It only got weirder when Luongo was seen discussing the situation with Panthers GM Dale Tallon and other staffers in street clothes before coming back out in his gear to finish the game.

Luongo stopped all 19 of the shots he faced, suffer what seemed like a shoulder injury, and ended the night with a non-decision.

It was an absolutely surreal situation, yet it could have serious playoff implications if Luongo and/or Montoya are significantly hurt.

On the bright side for Florida, they do have an experienced goalie waiting in the wings in Dan Ellis. In less savory news, their goalies weren’t the only players to get banged up, as Nick Bjugstad was shaken up when he took a puck up high.

Yeah, not a great night for the Panthers, so they probably won’t get much of a kick out of these bits of information about Tallas:

Greedy folks wanted to see Jaromir Jagr in net, yet it felt like slack-jawed observers witnessed everything else in this one.

Trade deadline leaves Ryder, Havlat in limbo


The New Jersey Devils were able to move defenseman Marek Zidlicky and forward Jaromir Jagr for draft picks before the trade deadline, but they couldn’t find a new home for 34-year-old Michael Ryder or 33-year-old Martin Havlat. The two veteran forwards have spent a lot of time in the press box lately and would have presumably jumped at the opportunity to get a fresh start elsewhere.

Ryder in particularly was very open about the subject when it was brought up last week.

“I just want to play, so if it’s being traded, it’s being traded,” Ryder told the Bergen Record at the time. “I’m at the point that the guys are winning here and I’m happy for that. We’re making a little push and it would be nice to be playing and be a part of that, but if I get traded and play I’ll be happy with that, too. I just want to play.”

That didn’t happen though so now he has to ride out the remainder of the season on a team that isn’t likely to make the playoffs and hasn’t used him much recently. Along with Havlat, having a pair of potentially disgruntled veterans on the roster is far from ideal.

“I can’t control that,” Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said on Monday, per the Record. “They’re pros, they’re professionals. There’s not much I can do about that. We’ll do everything we can do to what’s right by the team first and certainly them very, very close. They’re aware of that. The best answer I can give for that is we’re going to do what’s best for the team. We’re here to win right now and anybody who feels other than that, I can’t help their thoughts. We have to get ready for tomorrow night. This is an unfortunate time. This is a difficult time for the players, a lot of anticipation, a lot of anxieties in all areas.”

Of course, under the circumstances Lamoriello would have likely dealt them if a market existed, which raises questions about their future in the league. Ryder and Havlat are eligible to become unrestricted free agents this summer, but if they can’t secure regular minutes with the Devils and there presumably weren’t any takers for them at the deadline, will there be much interest in the open market?

Chiarelli: Bruins ‘cap crunch’ made it ‘tough’ to get trades done


When the dust settled on Monday’s trade deadline, Boston failed to land the impact forward or defenseman some envisioned, opting instead for Tampa Bay youngster Brett Connolly and Colorado veteran Max Talbot.

To hear GM Peter Chiarelli explain it, the lack of moves wasn’t for a lack of trying.

“It’s been tough as far as getting a trade done, getting any sort of transaction done,” he explained in his post-deadline media availability. “For us, we’re obviously under a cap crunch, but it’s just hard to get a deal done and you see the prices are so high.”

At forward, the B’s were linked to the likes of Chris Stewart (who went to Minnesota) and Cam Atkinson (who re-signed in Columbus on a three-year, $10.5 million deal). On defense, where the club has struggled this year and is shorthanded, the B’s were tied to a number of rentals — none of which panned out — and that was partly due to Chiarelli balancing the club’s immediate needs against it’s long-term health.

“We’re looking to the future and also to the present,” he said. “Our moves were necessitated by the prices and if we’re going to spend the picks that we spent, let’s look at all options, not just rental options.

“If I could fill every need, I would. It’s not a surprise or a revelation that our D, by losing [Johnny] Boychuk and [Kevan] Miller, our D is not what it was.”

When questioned about this approach given all the heat around his job security, Chiarelli was blunt.

“We’re all under pressure,” he said. “You’re a professional, you do what’s best for the organization.”

It was pretty clear, though, that finances dictated the day. It’s a financial situation that Chiarelli himself created; the bonus overages from Jarome Iginla’s contract put the B’s in a bind and led to jettisoning Boychuk prior to the start of the season, and also led to an inability to land rentals, like the club did prior to previous playoff runs (think Jaromir Jagr, Rich Peverley, Chris Kelly, Tomas Kaberle).

This year, different story. The Talbot acquisition relied on Colorado retaining 50 percent of the veteran’s salary, and Connolly — the sixth overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — was viewed as someone that could help some now, but probably pay more dividends down the road (as a RFA making just $850,500, the B’s can control his cost to a certain degree.)

“He’s going to be a top-six player,” he said of Connolly. “There’s a future for him here.”

As for the playoffs, Chiarelli said the focus hasn’t changed. He thinks the B’s are still good enough to get in, and the fight to qualify should serve the team well in the future.

“I feel we have a team that can make the playoffs,” he said. “They’ve been through a lot of adversity. The young players have grown and will continue to grow.”