HOCKEY

The Washington Post Sunday - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS -

Jaromir Jagr gave the Florida Panthers some star power like per­haps never be­fore, helped them win a di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship and un­ques­tion­ably played a role in en­er­giz­ing what had been a stag­nant fan base.

Af­ter all that, his tenure with the Panthers is over.

Mak­ing of­fi­cial what was sus­pected for some time, the Panthers re­vealed they are go­ing for­ward with­out the sure­fire Hall of Fame for­ward.

On a day dom­i­nated by free agent sign­ings — such as Florida adding for­wards Evgeny Dadonov, Radim Vr­bata and Micheal Ha­ley — the big­gest news out of Florida was that Jagr no longer is in the Panthers’ plans.

“I can’t say enough. It was an honor to be touched by a leg­end,” Gen­eral Man­ager Dale Tal­lon said. “I was torn. It was a tough cou­ple weeks or months, what­ever it was. Can’t thank him enough. What he did for our kids, for my­self and ev­ery­one in this or­ga­ni­za­tion, you can’t mea­sure it.” . . .

Af­ter cel­e­brat­ing a Stan­ley Cup cham­pi­onship for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive sea­son, Pitts­burgh Pen­guins Gen­eral Man­ager Jim Ruther­ford told the team’s pend­ing free agents to test the mar­ket and re­port back if they wanted to re­turn.

There’s not much room at the inn, and it turns out that the Pen­guins will look very dif­fer­ent as they try for a three-peat. As free agency opened, Pitts­burgh signed de­fense­man Matt Hun­wick and goal­tender Antti Niemi but lost winger Chris Ku­nitz, cen­ter Nick Bonino and de­fense­men Trevor Da­ley and Ron Hain­sey.

Ar­guably the team’s most im­por­tant move came late Satur­day when it re-signed re­stricted free agent de­fense­man Justin Schultz to a three-year, $16.5 mil­lion deal.

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