SUNRISE Jaquiski Tartt Jersey , Fla. (AP) — Aleksander Barkov is the best player in the Florida Panthers‘ dressing room. And so, it’s been no secret that his being designated as that room’s official leader was inevitable.
His time has arrived.
Barkov was announced as the 10th captain of the Panthers on Monday, with outgoing captain Derek MacKenzie ceremonially — and willingly — handing the 23-year-old Finnish star his first Florida jersey with a “C” stitched onto the shoulder. MacKenzie held the job for two years, always knowing that a member of the Panthers’ young core would take the role one day.
“Their concern when we first kind of considered me being captain is that this day might come,” MacKenzie said. “But that was the least of my concerns.”
Barkov is entering his sixth NHL season. He is coming off the best year of his career, with 27 goals and 51 assists for 78 points in 79 games, and he’s one of the biggest reasons why Florida believes it is finally on the cusp of becoming a consistent playoff contender.
“I feel like I’m in the right place,” Barkov said. “I’m really happy.”
He becomes the second-youngest current captain in the NHL, behind only Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. Among the other 20 captains in the NHL — not counting Barkov or McDavid, and taking into account that nine teams currently have captain vacancies — the average age is 32.
“He’s our best player Kyler Fackrell Jersey , game in and game out,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. “Nobody works harder off-ice, his preparation is second to none and his attention to detail is second to none. He’s just 23 years old. He’s an amazing young man.”
By Barkov’s own admission, he’s not much of a talker. But when he does speak, his words resonate among teammates. And MacKenzie, who has indicated that this season may be his last in the NHL, expects to see Barkov wearing the “C” in Florida for many years.
“I think we’re all in a good place right now,” MacKenzie said.
The Panthers, who started their preseason schedule with a Monday doubleheader against Nashville, begin their 25th regular season on Oct. 6 at Tampa Bay.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are going back to the Super Bowl in search of a sixth title.
They’ll face a Philadelphia Eagles team looking for their first Lombardi Trophy.
Brady led the Patriots (15-3) back from a 10-point Youth Chris Kunitz Jersey , fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 in the AFC championship game Sunday.
Starting his 36th playoff game, Brady shook off an injury to his right hand and the loss of top target Rob Gronkowski to rally the Patriots to their record 10th Super Bowl appearance.
The Patriots will try to match the Pittsburgh Steelers’ six Super Bowl trophies when they face the Eagles (15-3) on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.
Nick Foles, the backup QB who was thrust into the starting role when Carson Wentz blew out his left knee last month, led the Philadelphia to a 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game.
Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise and moxie in going 26 for 33.
The Vikings were hoping to become the first NFL team to serve as host to a Super Bowl in its own stadium, but they followed up their ”Minneapolis Miracle ” with a ”Flop in Philly.”
So, they’ll clear out their lockers long before the Eagles and Patriots and their fans take over U.S. Bank Stadium for Super Bowl 52 in two weeks.
Oddsmakers like the chances of Brady winning a sixth Super Bowl ring , making the Patriots nearly a touchdown favorite to beat the Eagles.
The Patriots and Eagles, who last won an NFL title in 1960, several years before the first Super Bowl http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/sean-lee-jersey , met in the Super Bowl after the 2004 season with the Patriots prevailing 24-21.
Hours after Brady’s game-winning 4-yard TD pass to Danny Amendola with 2:48 remaining in Foxborough, the Eagles won for the fourth time in five tries under Foles.
It started out ominously, however.
The Vikings celebrated Kyle Rudolph’s 25-yard touchdown catch from Case Keenum on their opening drive by mimicking the Olympic sport of curling for their TD celebration.
It was the Eagles who had all the fun after that.
Patrick Robinson’s spectacular 50-yard interception return got Philadelphia started. Then Foles and his offense tore up the league’s stingiest scoring defense, with long TD throws to Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. LeGarrette Blount had an 11-yard scoring run when things were decided in the first half, and the Eagles were headed to an NFL title game the Vikings (14-4) hoped to be in at their own stadium.
”You know everyone was against us,” Foles said. ”Coming out here and stick together and (we) come away with an amazing victory against a great team.”
Blake Bortles and the stingy Jaguars (12-7) led New England 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold against the defending champions.
The NFL’s second-ranked defense kept Brady and the Patriots at bay for most of the game, but lost linebacker Myles Jack and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus on consecutive plays on New England’s winning drive.
It was New England’s 13th win in 14 games since their 2-2 start. Their only stumble since September was a 27-20 loss at the Dolphins on Dec. 11.
Brady, wearing a black bandage on his right hand after needing stitches to close a cut that happened on a play during practice earlier in the week, showed no signs of being hampered.
And Ryan Dzingel Jersey , with the game – and the season – possibly on the line, the Patriots star came up big again.
”I’ve had a lot worse,” Brady said. ”I didn’t know that on Wednesday. It was a crazy injury. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday was a little scary. Then I started getting some confidence and today we did just enough to win.”
Brady finished 26 of 38 for 290 yards and two touchdowns to Amendola.
It’s the eighth Super Bowl appearance for Brady and coach Bill Belichick, who have won five times – including last year’s 34-28 overtime rally against the Falcons.
”It’s pretty amazing,” Brady said. ”Just to be on a team that wins these kinds of games, it’s just a great accomplishment.”
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