Jagr doesn’t want to play in All-Star Game, but could face one-game ban if he skips it

Jared Clinton
Jaromir Jagr (Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images)

In one week, Jaromir Jagr is expected to be in Nashville to represent the Panthers during all-star weekend. Whether or not he’ll be there, though, may be up in the air.

The 43-year-old told the Miami Herald’s George Richards that he doesn’t want to go to the All-Star Game. Jagr said the Panthers have “30 important games left, he needs to be ready,” according to Richards. Unfortunately for Jagr, if he were to skip the All-Star Game there would be one catch: he could face a one-game suspension.

If he’s using an excuse — for argument’s sake, if he says he has an injury — he will likely be forced to sit out the Panthers’ first game following the all-star break, which is a road game against the Washington Capitals on Feb. 2. Read more

Watch Panthers’ Gudbranson flip Blackhawks’ Teravainen with huge hit

Jared Clinton
Teuvo Teravainen hit by Erik Gudbranson (via Streamable)

Less than two weeks ago, Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson walloped Edmonton Oilers center Taylor Hall with a clean open-ice hit. Gudbranson was back at it again Friday night as he laid out Chicago Blackhawks winger Teuvo Teravainen with a solid jolt that flipped him onto his head.

Midway through the second period, Teravainen broke up the ice with Phillip Danault with the Blackhawks down 4-0. The opportunity was there for a two-on-one, and Teravainen flipped a backhand pass in Danault’s direction. But as Teravainen moved the puck, he was met with a solid check from Gudbranson: Read more

Watch: Erik Gudbranson fights Matt Hendricks to avenge Aaron Ekblad hit

Matt Larkin
Oilers Panthers fight

Anyone who prefers on-ice justice to the official, league-mandated kind of justice can rejoice at what happened Monday night between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers.

On Jan. 10 Oilers left winger Matt Hendricks caught the Florida Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad with a hit from behind. Ekblad returned to the game but wound up in concussion protocol and was forced out of the lineup the following night. He hasn’t played since, though he’s expected to return later this week.

Hendricks earned a three-game suspension for the hit but returned just in time for his Oilers to face the Panthers again Monday. It didn’t take a genius to know what was coming, though it was hardly the Claude Lemieux treatment for Hendricks, who stood tall. Rugged Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson, all 6-foot-5 and 216 pounds of him, challenged the six-foot, 207-pound Hendricks. Fists flew just 4:16 into the game. Check it out:

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Benches clear, punches thrown after Canucks down Panthers in overtime

Jared Clinton
Canucks and Panthers post-game scrum (via Canucks/YouTube)

Monday night the Vancouver Canucks did what no team has done since Dec. 12: they beat the Florida Panthers. But after Daniel Sedin scored the game-winning goal in overtime — a goal that tied him with Markus Naslund for the most in Canucks history — he skated towards the Florida bench and appeared to yell something to the Panthers, and they didn’t take too kindly to Sedin’s words.

Canucks winger Derek Dorsett said that while Vancouver was celebrating at center ice, Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic and goaltender Al Montoya were yelling at the Vancouver players and Petrovic squirted water towards Sedin. That’s when Dorsett headed over to the Florida bench and the melee ensued: Read more

Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad in concussion protocol; Matt Hendricks suspended three games (UPDATED)

Matt Larkin
Aaron Ekblad. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

It doesn’t matter how piping hot the Florida Panthers are. Losing their Clydesdale sophomore defenseman, Aaron Ekblad, is a devastating blow. He was scratched from the Cats’ lineup Monday night with an upper-body injury entering their game against the Vancouver Canucks.

A night earlier, Ekblad took this massive hit from behind from the Edmonton Oilers’ Matt Hendricks. Another look, if you haven’t seen it:

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Panthers’ win streak is outstanding, but changes necessary for playoff success

Jared Clinton
The Florida Panthers celebrate (Jeff Sanzare/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers are the best story in the NHL right now. With a mix of talent both young and old, the Panthers have rattled off 12 consecutive wins — just under one-seventh of the campaign — and have built a five-point lead atop the Atlantic Division. There’s still half a season to go, but Florida seems bound for its fifth post-season appearance in franchise history.

The thing is, though, the Panthers could be bound for a short stay in the playoffs if adjustments aren’t made.

Even though coach Gerard Gallant’s team continues to piece together wins, more than a few of their past several victories have come in games where they’re been incredibly outplayed. Take Sunday’s game. Against the Edmonton Oilers — the third-worst team in the standings — Florida mustered seven shots through two periods. Thankfully, the Panthers scored twice in their first five shots to pick up the win, but by game’s end they had been outshot 25-14 and escaped with a one-goal victory. For obvious reasons, netminder Al Montoya was the first star.

“They took it to us,” Gallant said post-game. “They outplayed us in the game. I thought the last 10 minutes we took over the game and played real well, but we weren’t good enough again tonight, but good enough to win.” Read more

Suspend him or not: Matt Hendricks delivers questionable hit on Aaron Ekblad

Jared Clinton
Matt Hendricks hits Aaron Ekblad (via Streamable)

Edmonton Oilers winger Matt Hendricks was all over the ice Sunday night and it could leave him watching from the sidelines for a game or two after the league announced he will have a phone hearing for a hit he threw on Panthers blueliner Aaron Ekblad.

Early in the third period of Sunday’s game, Hendricks had chipped the puck into the Florida Panthers’ zone and was giving chase in a 2-1 game. Ekblad headed back to retrieve the puck with Hendricks barrelling in on the forecheck and made the decision to reverse the puck to partner Brian Campbell. In tapping the puck over to Campbell, though, Ekblad kept his back turned to the play and was run into hard by Hendricks: Read more

Taylor Hall got crushed again; may be a magnet for devastating hits

Ryan Kennedy
Taylor Hall (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Taylor Hall knows that he has absorbed way too many nuclear hits in his career. The Edmonton Oilers star literally told me this over the summer when I interviewed him for a feature in our annual Yearbook:

“You get injured a few times and you start to look in the mirror,” he said. “The biggest way to contribute is to hit the scoresheet, so maybe you don’t skate into the corner going a million miles an hour anymore.”

So far this season, Hall has lived up to that code, suiting up in all 43 games so far for the Oilers and leading the squad with 41 points. But it’s not just the corners Hall has to worry about – open ice can be just as dangerous, as he found out against the Panthers on Sunday:

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