Jagr earns high praise in his Panthers debut

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Jaromir Jagr’s first game with the Florida Panthers on Saturday was not statistically noteworthy. Although his team earned a 5-3 victory over Buffalo, Jagr recorded no points, had three shots on goal, and a minus-one rating in 17:09 minutes of ice time. His new team couldn’t be happier with the player they got though.

“He was outstanding,” coach Gerard Gallant told the Miami Herald. “He makes your team a lot better, gives your team a a lot of confidence.”

Jagr was credited with playing a leadership role too. While he was on the ice, 23-year-old forward Brandon Pirri scored back-to-back power-play goals just 1:21 minutes apart.

“He told me to shoot the puck, said ‘you got it’,” Pirri said. “I knew I had to be the shooter there, [Brian Campbell] put it in my wheelhouse and I teed off on it.”

Pirri now has 11 goals in 29 contests this season.

“At my age, I feel like I know a lot of things, but I just cannot do it anymore. So it’s just a lot easier to tell them what to do, because they still got the legs and hands to do it,” Jagr said about his new role on the young team, per the Panthers’ website.

The New Jersey Devils traded Jagr to Florida in exchange for a 2015 second-round pick and conditional 2016 third rounder on Thursday.

This was an important two points for the Panthers, but their work is far from done. They’re still four points behind Boston in the Wild Card race as the Bruins also won today.

Trade: Ducks acquire Fleischmann from the Panthers for Heatley and a pick

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The Florida Panthers have dealt forward Tomas Fleischmann to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Dany Heatley and a 2015 third-round pick.

The deal reunites Fleischmann with coach Bruce Boudreau as the two were together in Washington. The pair also won a Calder Cup together with the Hershey Bears in 2006.

Fleischmann, 30, has seven goals and 14 assists in 52 games this season.

Heatley, who has a $1 million cap hit, was held pointless in six games this season prior to being waived by the Ducks. He registered two goals and five assists in 25 AHL games with the Norfolk Admirals.

Heatley is expected to remain in the AHL and report to the San Antonio Rampage.

Both players will become unrestricted free agents after this season.

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Fleischmann had a partial no-trade clause, but the Ducks were on his list of teams he was willing to go to.

In a separate transaction the Panthers assigned Garrett Wilson to San Antonio and activated Brandon Pirri off of injured reserve. David Bolland was also placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 21.

Wild waive veteran forward Veillieux

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The Minnesota Wild have placed 33-year-old winger Stephane Veilleux on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Veilleux, who’s appeared in over 400 career contests for the Wild, has played 12 games this year, scoring two points while averaging 7:42 TOI per night. It seems as though he’s the odd man out following the Sean Bergenheim trade; in last night’s 4-2 win over Nashville, Bergenheim made his Wild debut (playing 13:41) while Veilleux sat as a healthy scratch.

Should Veilleux clear waivers, he’ll be returned to AHL Iowa.

Panthers thrilled to get Jagr, who might be more than a rental

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The Florida Panthers’ young core of forwards got a reinforcement and new mentor on Thursday when GM Dale Tallon acquired 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils.

To say that he brings a wealth of knowledge to the table would be an understatement. His NHL career started in 1990 while the Florida Panthers made their debut in 1993. Jagr has participated in 202 playoff contests. Florida has been in 38.

“(The message is) that we’re buyers and committed to winning,” Tallon said, per the Sun Sentinel. “[Owner Vinnie Viola] and we all said we want to win a championship. We’re putting the pieces together step by step. Hopefully, Jaromir can lead these young guys to the promised land. It’s a win-win for us.”

The future Hall of Famer will play alongside either 19-year-old Aleksander Barkov or 22-year-old Nick Bjugstad in his Panthers debut on Saturday. In addition to his keadership role, the Panthers are also hoping Jagr can bolster their offense as the team has averaged just 2.28 goals per contest. That lack of firepower is the single biggest reason Florida is two points shy of the Boston Bruins and the second Wild Card spot.

While Jagr’s experience isn’t in question, his production isn’t what it used to be. He has 11 goals and 29 points in 57 contests in 2014-15 and saw his role with the New Jersey Devils decrease following the firing of head coach Pete DeBoer in December. At the same time, Jagr can still contribute and has made it clear that he doesn’t want this to be his last season in the NHL.

In Tallon, it seems Jagr has found a man that’s on the same page.

“I’d love to see him play another year or two here,” Tallon said, according to the Miami Herald. “That’s what his goal is. His fitness level is second to none.”

Meanwhile, the new Jagr jerseys have already been prepared:

Blackhawks deny rumors of locker room fight

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The Chicago Blackhawks are battling the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, but many wonder if they’re also battling each other. If something happened, key figures in the organization are quick to deny it.

Head coach Joel Quenneville said that word of a locker room fist fight is “all news” to him, according to CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers. Myers passes along word from a source that said there’s “no truth” to the rumors.

It sounds like it’s already becoming a running joke among team members, as the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc reports:

Publicly, it seems like the team is bottling this up, but the only people who know what happened for certain were in the Blackhawks locker room.

The good news might just be that the team won’t have to linger on any issues – if there are any – as their plate is pretty full. They’re working to integrate Teuvo Teravainen into the Patrick Kane-less lineup and might make some significant moves as the trade deadline approaches.

One might wonder if they’ll take whatever issues out on Alex Petrovic tonight, even if Quenneville (sort of) denies it.