AN ALL-STAR, AGAIN: Florida Panthers' Jaromir Jagr elected one of four captains for 2016 All-Star Game in Nashville ... Will Jagr go, and who goes with him? ... Gerard Gallant contract extension now official
Jaromir Jagr was selected to his 13th All-Star Game/tournament on Saturday.
The question now is: Will Jagr go to Nashville?
The thought here is yes.
Jagr, 43, was elected by fans as one of four captains for the All-Star Game held in the Music City on Jan. 31.
All four NHL divisions will be represented in the new format which is going to a 3-on-3 tournament.
Each division will play a period with the winners meeting for a championship game and players on the winning team splitting the $1 million prize pool.
Before the Panthers played the Predators last month, Jagr created quite a stir by asking fans via his Twitter account not to vote for him.
At the time, Jagr was fourth in voting for the Atlantic Division.
"I appreciate your votes for All-Star game," Jagr wrote, "but 3 on 3 would kill me, and I don't want to die yet. Thank you for understanding. Too old."
Jagr backed up that statement in Nashville saying he would have loved to play such a format years ago but not now.
Jagr is part of Florida's 3-on-3 overtime unit.
"It's too much for me,'' said Jagr, who turns 44 on Feb. 15.
"Fifteen years ago, OK. Not at 44. [3-on-3] is good for the NHL, there's a lot of scoring chances and that's what NHL fans have wanted to see."
Another question is which Panthers, if any, go with Jagr to Nashville.
Roberto Luongo and Aaron Ekblad went last year in Columbus and would seem to be favorites to go again. Sasha Barkov would also seem to be a candidate.
The rest of the roster will be announced by the NHL on Wednesday.
Coach Gerard Gallant could match fellow Prince Edward Island native Doug MacLean as the only Panther coaches to be behind the bench in an All-Star game.
MacLean's Panthers led the Eastern Conference at the time of the 1997 ASG; Gallant has four more games to get there. The coaches will be determined based on percentage of available points come next Saturday.
-- Speaking of Gallant, his contract extension is now official. The Panthers are holding a press conference Saturday at 4:45 before their game with the Rangers.
Gallant didn't comment on the extension specifically after the morning skate, but when asked, said he and his family were very happy in South Florida.
"It's a great spot,'' Gallant said. "When the opportunity came up to get a job here, it was great. Your family loves it here, your wife loves it here. The winters are pretty good. We've really enjoyed our time here.''
-- Nick Bjugstad will not play Saturday against the Rangers but could be back in the lineup against his hometown Minnesota Wild on Sunday.
Gallant said Bjugstad was probable for Sunday.
-- Shawn Thornton is back in the lineup against the Rangers with Luongo in net. Al Montoya goes Sunday against the Wild. Connor Brickley is scratched Saturday.