As Jaromir Jagr sat at his locker stall in Coral Springs, he was asked whether he felt ready to rejoin the Panthers’ lineup Wednesday in Anaheim.
Jagr leaned to his right and knocked on a wooden countertop.
After getting through Florida’s skate-intensive practice Monday, Jagr says he plans to return against the Ducks as the Panthers kick off a three-game California swing.
“It was my goal to get through the practice and I did it,’’ Jagr said. “It’s a good step. If I could have, I would have played. I just couldn’t. Hopefully things will even get better over the next two days.
Never miss a local story.
“The first practice is always the hardest. I just don’t want to over-do anything.”
Jagr’s specific injury is hard to pinpoint, although he said he has been dealing with something since sustaining a hip flexor strain Oct. 13 in Carolina.
By playing through it, Jagr may have overcompensated and brought about hamstring and groin issues. Jagr has even complained about his breathing.
Last Tuesday, Jagr felt he wasn’t helping his team and left Florida’s win over Colorado late in the first period.
Jagr then sat out Florida’s back-to-back set against Boston and Washington last weekend but has been working out and say he feels ready to help out once more.
“Something was wrong and it shot down my right side, the hamstring, my back, my core,” Jagr said. “They just didn’t work together. I knew it, but didn’t have time to fix it.
“The hip flexor, that’s where it started. Then it just got worse and worse.”
The 43-year-old Jagr continues to lead the Panthers in goals (six) and points (10) as Florida has just two goals in the two games he has missed.
Florida scored all four of its goals against the Avs once Jagr left, however.
On Monday, Jagr was back in his red jersey signifying his place on Florida’s top line along Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau.
Unlike last week, Jagr didn’t leave the practice early and suffered alongside his teammates as they went through round after round of up-and-backs at the end of the session.
“He did a full practice and that sounds good,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We would love to have him back, we miss him when he’s not there. We want to make sure he’s ready and I think he is.
“He’s a big part of our team and it showed. If it was a long-term injury, we wouldn’t put him in. But he thinks it is fine.”
The team flew to southern California soon after the practice with Jagr saying the five-hour flight will do him no favors.
“That’s a long flight and it’s not going to help me,’’ Jagr said. “Five hours is five hours. It’s like going back to Europe.”
▪ The Panthers sent Logan Shaw back to their AHL team in Portland, Maine, after one game and recalled Garrett Wilson. Wilson, 24, played in two games for the Panthers last season.
“Getting called up is definitely a dream of mine,” Wilson said. “This is where I want to be so I have to play my game, hopefully make an impact and chip in offensively. It’s nice to get the opportunity, I just have to take full advantage of it.”
▪ Defenseman Alex Petrovic blocked a shot with his shin Saturday and eventually left that game early. Petrovic’s X-rays were negative but he still missed Monday’s practice.
“There’s nothing broke but it was painful to put the skate on so we told him to take the day off,” Gallant said. “He should be fine, we fully expect him to skate [Tuesday].”