PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr made one thing very clear in speaking with reporters this morning -- in his world, happiness comes before money.
Jagr, who has had an outstanding return to the NHL after three seasons in Russia -- 34 points in 38 games, a spot on the team's top line -- says he's having as much fun now as he ever has in his long career.
"Everything right now is good and nobody is panicking," Jagr said. "That's what I like, nobody's panicking. We lose, coach has confidence, we don't panic, we don't switch lines. Our line didn't play good for four games, nobody panicked. Coach (Peter Laviolette) said to us, 'You have to play better,' but no panicking."
He's having so much fun a month shy of his 40th birthday that he said he'd be amenable to signing another one-year contract with the Flyers -- assuming things stay the way they are.
"I don't think it'll be a problem to make something here," he said.
Jagr did say, however, he's in no rush to sign any contract extension now. He's still not completely healed from the nagging groin injury that kept him out four games in November and two more in January. He'd said he'd rather wait until the end of the season and see how he feels and where he thinks he fits with the team.
"I don't want to talk about it because we've got 40 games to go and the playoffs," he said. "I just want to let it go. If I'm going to play good, I don’t think it's going to be a problem."
And Jagr said money won't be the biggest issue with him.
"If it would just be money, I wouldn't be here," he said. "Why would I come here when I get twice or three times as much in Russia and play 50 games? I came here just to play. Can you buy happiness for two years? Are you going to take the risk to go somewhere else and not be happy? I want to be happy. At my stage, I want to come to work and be happy. There's lots of places where the guys don't like each other, but they have to come (to the rink) because that's their job. I don't want that at my stage.
"We play good, have a lot of young guys, having a lot of fun. The coach is great, organization is great. It's like a family."
And to that extended family -- the Flyers' fans -- he says not to worry about next season.
"They don't have to worry," he said. "If I'm going to play good, I'll probably be here."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK