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Welcome to the Dwork On Sports blog.  This is a place where I’ll cover all things related to South Florida sports, with a steady combination of facts and opinions while ultimately keeping a close eye on anything and everything related to our local teams.

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Dwork On Sports

Today was the NHL’s Trade Deadline, a day that is usually a pretty busy one for the Florida Panthers.  That wasn’t the case this year though, as general manager Dale Tallon chose not to pull the trigger on any deals to ship off his remaining unrestricted free agents, Scottie Upshall and Tomas Kopecky.

Tallon’s big splash came last Thursday when he acquired veteran scorer Jaromir Jagr from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a pair of draft picks.  I was beyond thrilled when I heard about the trade as I’d been saying for months that if there was one guy who I’d love the Panthers to trade for this season it would be Jagr.

He still has plenty of skill left in his game and can help Florida five-on-five as well as the power play. Additionally, and just as importantly, Jagr has become known as a great mentor for younger players which we all know the Panthers have an abundance of.

In the two games that Jagr has played with the team, Florida has gotten a pair of wins while totaling nine goals.  To compare, they had scored a total of 11 goals in their previous nine games, compiling a record of 2-5-2.

Jagr’s impact hasn’t just been on the scoresheet and win column.  Several of Florida’s young players have been given tips and advice from Jagr, something that will undoubtedly continue as long as the 43-year-old is with the team.

He has already said that he would like to play another year or two in the NHL and Tallon said after trading for Jagr that he’d like for him to stay with the team beyond just this season.

Now let’s get back to the trade deadline. While the Panthers remained quiet during the flurry of trades, the team was still a topic of conversation on Sportsnet’s deadline day coverage.

Longtime NHL backup goalie Glenn Healy made some sarcastic remarks about the Panthers, mocking the team by calling them “mighty” and inferring that the Boston Bruins should be embarrassed that they are barely holding the Cats off for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

That comment didn’t sit very well with Florida’s captain Willie Mitchell, who took to twitter and let the analyst know just how he felt about someone badmouthing his team on national television.

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Way to go, Willie! You’ve gotta love the team captain showing no hesitation in defending his squad in a very public way.

That kind of Panther pride has been missing for a long time but it’s indicative of the changing culture that has been happening in Sunrise over the past few years.

Even Tallon, who met with the media following the passing of the 3 p.m. deadline, voiced his approval of Mitchell defending his team.

“God bless Willie,” said Tallon with a smile. “He’s a great captain and a Panther. We got a good group who care for each other and believe in each other as well and believe in our team, so it’s all good.’’

It is all good.  But with 19 games remaining in the season, it can get a lot better.

Florida currently sits two points behind the Bruins for the second Wild Card spot.  The Panthers have four games remaining on their season-long seven-game homestand and will play 12 of their final 19 games at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

The Panthers also have three head-to-head matchups left against the Bruins, two of which will be at home.

Oh, and in case you were wondering… Healy’s ‘mighty’ career save percentage was an unimpressive .887 which goes right along with his dreary 3.37 goals-against average.

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