Veteran leadership big part of Florida’s success

Jason Simmonds
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Jagr continues to produce offensively

SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers appear to have found a nice mix of youth and experience.

Gerard "Turk" Gallant

The Panthers have 14 players aged 25 and under listed on their team roster, but a solid group of veterans are leading the way. For example, 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr went into Saturday’s game with a team-leading 26 points, and 36-year-old goaltender Roberto Luongo has 16 of the team’s 21 wins.

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Panthers head coach and Summerside native Gerard (Turk) Gallant could only chuckle at the assessment that Jagr is like a bottle of wine – he gets better with age!

“He’s (Jagr) been really good,” said Gallant. “He’s playing with those two young kids, (Jonathan) Huberdeau and (Alexander) Barkov, and they’re playing great every game.

“Jagr just continues to put points on the board and play good solid hockey.

The biggest thing is he’s come in here and he’s having a lot of fun. He’s enjoying Florida, enjoying playing with those young kids and it’s rejuvenated his career.”

Along with Jagr, Gallant also praised the leadership of team captain Willie Mitchell, Shawn Thornton, Roberto Luongo and Derek MacKenzie.

“We have great veteran leadership, and they’re helping the kids out real well,” said Gallant. “It’s a big part of our club, and we have a good mix of veterans and young players.”



Organizations: Panthers

Geographic location: Florida, Summerside

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