Tag Archives: Jaromir Jagr

Flyers Notebook: Jagr Skates, Bryzgalov Gets The Start

5 Jan

WELLS FARGO CENTER — Whether it’s his calf or his groin, something is ailing Jaromir Jagr. The good news, the winger said on Thursday, is that it won’t keep him out of the lineup too long.

He joined the team for morning skate but did not take part in any drills. While all the forwards wore white jerseys, Jagr wore orange and did some skating to stay in shape.

“It’s totally different than it was the first time,” said Jagr. “The first time I got injured, I felt a sharp pain. This one was a different pain, and it wasn’t that much pain. But I knew if I was played longer, it could get a lot worse. That’s why I stopped playing [Monday].”

While the pain is still there, it is minute according to Jagr. He said that when he becomes pain-free, he’ll give it a go. The initial diagnosis from the Flyers was seven to 10 days, but he thinks it might actually be a little sooner.

“I was kind of shocked when I heard that because I didn’t feel that way,” said the 39-year-old. “But I’m saying sometimes when you cannot skate, when you come back you need an extra three days to practice to get into game shape. When I’m skating like I did today, I don’t feel any pain. That’s to my advantage. Soon, I feel when I’m ready I can go, because I’ll be in good shape.”

On more than one occasion this season, Jagr has said that he really wants to prove what he can do in the playoffs, that that’s why he doesn’t feel pressured to return from an injury too soon. He also had some concerns about ice time in the offseason before he signed with the Flyers, but being on the top unit further alleviates his fears. But still, he doesn’t enjoy sitting out.

“To me, every game is big,” said Jagr. “You can see it. Don’t get me wrong, but in the new NHL, with the one-point for a (overtime and shootout loss), the race is too tight. You lose five or six games, you’re out of the playoffs. Look at Washington, they lost five or six games and they’re in 10th place. Everything is so close that you cannot afford to lose a lot of games. Every game is big for me.”

Bryzgalov Back In Net

After watching the last two games from the bench, Ilya Bryzgalov will go back between the pipes for the Flyers against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Despite the festivities being over, he continued to practice in the old school brown pads, glove and blocker. In fact, that’s a look the other goalie has adopted as well. Sergei Bobrovsky is wearing the brown pads after wearing his normal gear in the Winter Classic. He told Philly Sports Daily that he likes the pads and will continue to break them in.

Bryzgalov has a career 7-6-4 record against Chicago, but the nod to him is more about getting his confidence back.

“I expect him to go in there and play well,” said Peter Laviolette. “Again, my moves [to sit him in the Winter Classic] were made not necessarily for that reason. I already stated that it was based on [Sergei Bobrovsky] and the way he had been playing, those numbers. That’s what we did.”

The Flyers say that Bryzgalov has had a different attitude recently and there has been a newfound work ethic in practice.

“I think you can see he’s been working hard,” said Claude Giroux. “The last few practices he wants to get better. Everybody knows he’s a good goaltender. He’s just had some bad bounces. If he works hard like he’s been doing the last few weeks, I’m not even worried about it.”

Have no fear, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Bryzgalov will go without personality.

“He’s always gonna be joking around,” said Matt Carle. “I just think that’s his personality. I think once the puck drops hopefully the focus will be there. He’s a great goalie. He earned that contract that he has. Just because he had a bad stretch of games, I don’t think it means much. He’ll get back on track and we have all the confidence that he will.”

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Giroux Not Worried About All-Star Snub

5 Jan

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It’s still a foregone conclusion that Claude Giroux will be playing in the NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa later this month, we just have to wait a little longer for that announcement.

On Thursday morning, fan voting ended and six players were announced as the starting lineup for the All-Star Game. Giroux was not among them. Instead, four Senators and one Maple Leaf topped the charts north of the border.

Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson, Dion Phaneuf and Tim Thomas are the starting six of this year’s All-Star Game as voted by the fans, many apparently in Ottawa.

“They want to see their own in the All-Star Game,” said Danny Briere. “I get that. I understand that. That’s why only the top six get voted in. Claude definitely has his place there. He’s probably gonna be the first one, or at least the top three, that will be added right away. It’s not even a question mark in his regard.”

Giroux doesn’t feel miffed. He didn’t even know the announcement was coming, so he was far from worried about it.

“Nah, I understand,” said the Flyers leading scorer. “I think everybody understands. It’s in Ottawa; they want Ottawa players to be there. That’s fine.

“I’m not gonna judge the way they do it. It really doesn’t matter. I don’t know what to say. It seriously doesn’t bother me one bit.”

Giroux has 18 goals and 28 assists this year for the Flyers. He is second in the league in scoring will, in all liklihood, be heading to a second straight All-Star Game. He admitted that it would be special being in his home providence of Ottawa.

“I don’t care if it’s top six, I just want to make the team,” said Giroux. “That would be pretty cool and to go back to back would be pretty cool. It’s in Ottawa where my friends are. It would be a pretty good experience.”

Peter Laviolette has not been shy about his feelings on Giroux’s All-Star status.

“Maybe I’m biased,” said the coach. “If I had to start a team, I’d pick him first over anybody else in the league.”

Giroux finished seventh in overall voting with 385,253 votes. Linemate Jaromir Jagr was just outside of the top 10 with 255,178 votes, 48,548 shy of Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin. Laviolette also insinuated on Thursday that Scott Hartnell could be an All-Star candidate. Imagine the Flyers’ entire top unit going to the All-Star Game.

“Whatever happens, happens,” sad Jagr. “If I would go, I’d go. If I don’t go, I will practice and I’m gonna get better. Either way it’s fine with me. If I go, I’m gonna have fun. If I don’t go I’m gonna stay here and work hard and I’m gonna get ready for the playoffs.”

Matt Read To Fill In For Jagr On Top Line

4 Jan

VOORHEES, N.J. — Matt Read nearly wasn’t a Flyer. He went to a camp with the Minnesota Wild before his senior year at Bemidji State, but opted to play his senior year. The Wild weren’t the only team interested in the Ilderton, Ontario native, but despite a guaranteed contract, he returned to college.

“He wanted to come back and lead us into a new building and also wanted to lead us into the WCHA,” Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore told Philly Sports Daily back in March. “He wanted to come back and graduate. We relied heavily on him the last four years.

“It was the right call because more and more teams obviously again, thought he could play for them. I think he gained more maturity. Again he was in a situation where he was a leader. He was our captain. He was put in different situations. He also gained a degree, which was very important.”

Then the Flyers came in and swept the graduate away with a three-year, $2.7 million contract. And it’s a good thing that he got all that experience as a leader where he was relied upon in a top spot with many people depending on him and pressure was a constant. For the next week and a half, he’ll be filling Jaromir Jagr’s skates on the top line with Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell.

Jagr is expected to miss up to 10 days with a left groin injury; that projects to around four games. Read has played left wing, right wing and center for the Flyers this year, so change is nothing different for him.

“I walked in and I saw I was on a line with them, I thought oh, Lavy made a spelling error there,” said Read. “I was excited. You probably only get one of these shots to make the most of one of these opportunities and you know I look forward to playing with those guys tomorrow night, and try to cash in on a couple points and help our team win.”

Read is second among rookies with 12 goals this season. He’s been a fixture on both sides of the Flyers’ special teams game. Being on the top unit will open up more opportunity for him to pad those stats. Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is on the shelf indefinitely with a left shoulder injury, so now would be the time to catch him in the point standings.

“I think if I get out of my game a lot and try to make good plays, like what Jagr does out there, that’s not my game,” said Read. “I’m just going to try to stick to my game plan, work hard and win puck battles in the corner and get those guys the puck. They’re special players, they’ve got great talent, so I’ll just benefit from getting them the puck.”

Read has 12 goals and 10 assists in 34 games, putting him fourth in overall scoring among rookies, but he’s in a bit of a slump lately. He has one goal and three assists in his last 11 games. Putting him on the top line should alleviate that and Peter Laviolette is eager to see what he does with the latest challenge.

“Every time we’ve asked him to do something or needed a void filled, he’s been able to jump in there and contribute,” said the coach. “We’re just looking at it. There was practice today. I liked it. We’ll see.”

There is no doubt from his new linemates that he’ll be easy to work with, even if he’s not a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Jagr.

“I think he’s played every position, probably played with every guy on the team too – third line, second line and first line,” said Hartnell. “He’s a work horse, he’s got a good stick, and I think we’ll have a good game. I think he works hard and he’ll want to stay up on that top spot.”

Read’s determination coupled with versatility was one of the things that made him an attractive collegiate prospect and helped him get into the NHL. His coach knew that even before he graduated.

“He’s just got a lot of depth to his game,” said Serratore. “I think the biggest thing is he’s very, very reliable and that’s what Philadelphia’s gonna get is a very reliable player, an all-situational type player.”

Injured Leg Kept Jagr From Finishing Winter Classic

2 Jan

CITIZENS BANK PARK — The Flyers were hoping that Jaromir Jagr would be able to offer more than 7:09 of work in the Winter Classic, but an injured left leg kept him from finishing the game.

Jagr said that he got speared in the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the cold made it freeze up.

“There was swelling in that muscle, maybe because it was too cold, we couldn’t heat it,” said Jagr. “When there’s swelling around the muscles, you never know what can happen, but I wanted to play.”

He played 6:01 in the first period and walked off the Citizens Bank Park field with less than five minutes to go in the first period. He returned for the second, but only lasted two shifts before he couldn’t go any longer. He remained on the bench, but why?

“First of all, I like my teammates,” said Jagr. “I wanted to be part of that. I knew it wasn’t gonna get any worse if I sit on the bench. I want to be part of the bench. I’m part of the team. I would watch it on TV anyway. This way I was close and I could help guys. You never know, maybe there would be a power play 5-on-3. Maybe coach would put me in then.”

He said that was the only way he was getting back into the game. He can’t even pinpoint exactly what happened on that second shift of the second period, but once he came off, he knew immediately that he couldn’t return.

“I don’t know. It’s tough to say,” he said when asked what aggravated the injury. “I didn’t feel right skating. But it’s not bad. I’ll be back pretty soon.”

Jagr, Talbot Laugh Last In Return To Pittsburgh

29 Dec

The most important thing was that the Flyers didn’t lose three in a row. It would have been the first time all season they had done so. But make no mistake about it — Peter Laviolette knew the game meant a little more to Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot. The former helped the Flyers to a 4-2 win over the Penguins, keeping them undefeated in the Consol Energy Center.

Laviolette started the line of Jagr, Talbot and Claude Giroux for one ceremonial shift. That meant a return to Pittsburgh for Jagr and Talbot.

Once that line left the ice, the Flyers were behind the 8-ball. Tyler Kennedy found Jordan Staal at the right side of the Flyers’ net and he had a wide open net to shoot the puck into as starter Sergei Bobrovsky had already committed to Kennedy.

But the Flyers struck back. On the power play, Giroux found Kimmo Timonen at the point on a power play and the defenseman one-timed the puck over the glove of Marc-Andre Fleury to tie the score.

In the second period, however, the big statement was made. With fans mercifully booing Jagr each time he touched the puck, he was given a drop pass from Scott Hartnell and carried in, danced between two defenders and backhanded a shot past Fleury. It was a classic Jagr goal, kind of like one of the 439 he had as a Penguin.

Jagr hunched over along the boards, as if to avoid the rain of boos, and made his trademarked salute, seemingly directed at a fan who gave him a salute of his own (although of the one-finger variety).

Second periods had given the Flyers trouble in recent games, but against the Penguins they won the period 2-0, making the most of their six shots on goal.

Matt Read added the second tally of the period, snapping a nine-game goalless drought when Sean Couturier, who returned to the lineup after a head injury kept him out four games, took a shot that bounced off the leg pad of Fleury and right in the slot for Read to bury.

In the third, Kennedy made it interesting with a blast over Bobrovsky’s glove side where there was precious space available. In the game’s final minute, Talbot tallied on an empty net for his 10th of the year, completing a storybook ending for the former Penguins.

Bobrovsky did his part as well, making 24 saves. His performance gives him a fourth career win over Pittsburgh and begs the question: Does he get the start in the Winter Classic?

For now, the Flyers will just focus on the fact that Jagr silenced some boos, they avoided a third straight loss, and put them in a tie with the Rangers for the first place in the division.

Jagr Braces For Return To Pittsburgh

29 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — The rivalry between the Flyers and Penguins was intense enough. Pittsburgh fans certainly didn’t need Jaromir Jagr to fuel the fire. This year, they expected the Czech to be skating with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, or at least for the No. 68 to hang in the rafters at Consol Energy Center.

Instead Jagr chose to join the hated Flyers over the Penguins on July 1 when free agency opened. Fans felt betrayed since the organization extended an offer to Jagr and were long-rumored to be the top contender for the 39-year-old winger’s services. But Jagr feels betrayed himself. He says the Penguins were playing games of their own and now he looks like an enemy where his NHL career started.

Jagr didn’t take Pittsburgh’s offer and instead, shockingly joined the Flyers. He says that the offer from Pittsburgh was just made to appease the fans, that he never felt wanted.

“Exactly. They’re not gonna say it, but that’s the way it is,” said Jagr. “Whoever is smart, they’re gonna figure it out, but I don’t want to talk about it. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m just protecting myself. That’s all.

“They saw me play at the World Championships. There was not many GMs there, but the GM from Pittsburgh was there. He saw me play. If he was interested or whatever in the way I play, they would ask me. They would talk to me.”

When the free agency window opened this summer, Penguins general manager Ray Shero claimed that he had indeed been keeping a close eye on Jagr at the IIHF World Championship in Slovakia.

“We feel from the information we have and after seeing at World Championships, that he’s a guy who might be able to help us this coming season,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on June 28. “We feel he’s a guy who could help us this year, and retire as a Penguin.”

Jagr says that’s not so. At no point in the offseason did he think that he would actually be donning black and gold again in Pittsburgh.

“To be honest with you, not really. I didn’t think they wanted me,” said Jagr. “Truly, I don’t think the management, the coaches wanted me to be there. When you look back to the articles over there, what happened one month before I was a free agent — and I didn’t even talk to anybody.”

OK, let’s take a look.

“I don’t understand where all this came from,” GM Ray Shero told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in May. “Jagr is not a guy we’ve spoken about in a couple of years. We talked about him for a little bit after his time with the Rangers, but that’s about it.”

“They were not interested,” said Jagr. “All they were interested in was to bring me back for the [20th anniversary of the 1991 Penguins championship team] golf tournament.”

“We were able to get that invitation to him, and we’d like to acknowledge his involvement with the organization,” Shero told the Tribune-Review. “That’s really all there was to it.”

This season, Jagr is in orange and black. He’s scored 11 goals with 19 assists in 31 games with the Flyers and has seen great benefit from playing with Claude Giroux. A few months ago, some in Pittsburgh had visions of him playing with different young stars — Crosby and Malkin — and adding to his remarkable Pittsburgh totals. He had 439 goals and 640 assists in 806 games with the Penguins.

“I don’t think I’d be playing with them,” said Jagr. “I had a conversation with them. I talked to the GM. They said Crosby had players to play with and they didn’t think I’d be playing with him.

“When the GM tells you we have to sign [Tyler] Kennedy first and Kennedy is playing the third or fourth line … Just go and look for [the] GM a month before I was a free agent, and it’s going to tell you a lot. It’ll tell you if they wanted me or not.”

Many believe that Jagr was just out for money. His one-year deal with the Flyers is worth $3.3 million. It is believed to be more than what the Penguins offered in their one-year proposal that Shero eventually retracted.

“We made what we thought was a very fair contract offer to Jaromir on [June 28], based on his stated interest of returning to the Penguins,” Shero said in a statement. “We made our best offer from the start, given our salary cap structure, in an attempt to facilitate a deal. But now, after several days, with an extended time frame for making a decision, and additional teams getting involved, we have decided to move in a different direction. It was never our intention to get involved in a free agent bidding war, and we have to focus on our team.”

Jagr says that his return to the NHL was never about the coin.

“If this was about money, I would have stayed in Russia and got twice more than here … tax free,” said Jagr.

In fact, the Flyers weren’t even the highest offer in the NHL.

“You would be very surprised,” said Jagr. “There was a team that didn’t make the playoffs last year in a different conference and they just wanted to sign players because they had to get to the minimum [salary floor].”

Clearly, Jagr is still a little shaken by the whole experience and feels as though he was set up by the Pittsburgh front office. His intention, he says, is to bring this to light for the fans that feel wronged.

“People have to understand that this is the whole business,” said Jagr. “People are gonna say whatever they have to say to make the fans happy. When I got traded, I came to [then general manager] Craig Patrick and told him, ‘This team is in trouble.’ Not bankruptcy, but we didn’t have much money. I was making $10 million that year. There was the second line: [Robert] Lang, [Martin] Straka, [Alex] Kovalev. They were all free agents. We couldn’t sign them. Pittsburgh couldn’t sign them.

“I came to Craig Patrick. I told him, ‘You know what? I know it’s gonna make it easy for you and the Penguins organization if you trade me for that money. Sign all three players and the team’s gonna be better. If I were to stay there and those guys leave, we have no team.’ He drafted me. I felt like I was his kid or something. I think it would be tough for him to trade me if I didn’t come to him and say it. I didn’t want to get traded, but I just made it easy for the team to do it because I don’t think we would be good. I think we would be bad if I wouldn’t have been traded.”

If the potential of a Lang-less, Straka-less, Kovalev-less Penguins team was bad, his situation with the Penguins now just might be worse. Jagr has already been to New York and Washington this season and he’s heard a healthy contingent of boos in both Madison Square Garden and Verizon Center. He expects to hear many more boos Thursday night at Consol Energy Center.

“It’s gonna be a lot worse in Pittsburgh, no question about it,” he said when asked about his reception in New York last Friday. “If you want to hear boos, go to Pittsburgh.”

Jaromir Jagr Doesn’t Mind The Boos

24 Dec

NEW YORK — Jaromir Jagr hears the boos. He just doesn’t pay them any attention. At 39-years-old, he’s got more important things to be worried about. Friday night in New York marked the second time this season visiting a team that he had played for before and the fan base subsequently welcomed him with boos.

Every time he touched the puck at Madison Square Garden, they poured it on. But why? When Jagr was a Ranger he pulled the team from mediocrity and brought them to the playoffs after seven years of early tee times.

“I didn’t hear much,” said Jagr. “When I’m in the game, I don’t hear it. It wasn’t that bad.”

He was booed in Washington earlier in December, and he said that didn’t bother him either.

“I’m not 22 anymore,” he said.

New York was no different, but at the same time, he knows it will get worse. His season, especially with how productive it’s been, has been building up to a boiling point.

“It’s gonna be a lot worse in Pittsburgh, no question about it,” he said. “If you want to hear boos, go to Pittsburgh.”

On Dec. 29 he will return to Pittsburgh, the team that made him famous and the team that feels slighted because he signed with the hated Flyers instead of the team he began his career with. The expectation in Western Pennsylvania was that No. 68 would hang in the rafters someday, but that doesn’t seem likely now.

What does seem likely, is that the worst from the fans is yet to come. Good thing for Jagr, it doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s prepared.