Jagr optimistic about re-signing with Panthers, potentially for two years

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Jaromir Jagr was seeing his role decline with the New Jersey Devils, but the trade to the Florida Panthers seems to have done him a lot of good. The 43-year-old has gotten regular minutes with 21-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau and 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov and that’s helped Jagr record 14 points in 18 games with the Panthers.

He’s happy there and it sounds like the Panthers are equally pleased with him. There were even reportedly some preliminary talks between his agent and Panthers GM Dale Tallon about the possibility of a contract extension, although at the time the focus was on the playoff race.

With Florida mathematically eliminated though, it’s time for both sides to look towards the future. Jagr, speaking Czech Daily Sport, expressed an interest in inking a two-year deal with Florida, which is a deviation from his policy since returning from the KHL of only signing one-year contracts.

“It’s still too soon to anticipate anything, but there is a pretty big chance we’ll come to an agreement (with Florida). It depends on the club. If they want to sign me for one year, or for two years,” said Jagr, per NHL.com’s translation. “I did, but let’s see what happens now. It’s too soon to say anything now.”

Florida might ultimately be more comfortable signing Jagr for a single season given his age, but the fact that he’s interested in a two-year deal likely reflects both his feelings about the Panthers and his desire to continue to push the boundaries of how long a player can stay competitive in the modern NHL.

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.

Habs rule out Pacioretty after Kulikov hit

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Montreal leading goalscorer Max Pacioretty will miss his first game of the season on Thursday when the Habs host Detroit at the Bell Centre.

Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien made the announcement on Tuesday, 48 hours after Pacioretty exited Sunday’s 4-1 win over Florida after an awkward fall into the boards following a hit from Panthers d-man Dmitry Kulikov:

Kulikov received a two-minute interference minor on the play, and Pacioretty didn’t return to action. Lars Eller moved into his spot on a line with David Desharnais and Devante Smith-Pelly.

Pacioretty, who sits tied for fourth in the NHL with 37 goals this year, will also see his personal ironman streak snapped by missing Thursday’s tilt against the Wings:

Price, Therrien reach milestones as Habs beat Panthers

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Carey Price made 24 saves as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Sunday.

With the win, Price picked up his 42nd win of the season tying the Canadiens’ franchise record for wins in a single season. Price joins Jaques Plante and Ken Dryden as the only other Habs’ goaltenders to reach the mark.

Montreal has two regular season games remaining, which could allow Price to set a new club record.

The victory was also coach Michel Therrien’s 200th behind the Habs’ bench.

The news wasn’t all good for Montreal.

The Habs lost leading scorer Max Pacioretty in the first period. Pacioretty collided with Panthers’ defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. Following the hit, the 26-year-old lost his footing and hit his head on the boards.

Pacioretty was wobbly as he was helped to the Habs’ bench. He did not return.

Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Devante Smith-Pelly had the Canadiens goals.

With the win, Montreal moved two points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for top spot in the Atlantic Division.

Aaron Ekblad had the lone Florida goal while Dan Ellis made 24 saves in the loss.

Video: Habs’ Pacioretty leaves following hit from Kulikov (Updated)

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Montreal Canadiens’ leading scorer Max Pacioretty has left the game in Florida following a collision with Panthers’ defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

Following the hit, Pacioretty lost his balance and hit his head on the boards.

Update:

The 26-year-old, who leads the Habs with 37 goals and 67 points, appeared dazed as he was helped to the Canadiens bench.

Kulikov received a minor penalty for interference on the play.

Lars Eller has moved into Pacioretty’s spot on a line with David Desharnais and Devante Smith-Pelly.