– Last season, Jaromir Jagr
returned to the NHL as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, after three seasons in the KHL. He made a tremendous impact on the Flyers, both on and off the ice, bringing veteran leadership and offensive production – he scored 19 goals and tallied 35 assists in 73 games.
Since being traded to the Bruins from the Dallas Stars on April 2, Jagr has had a similar influence in the Boston. In just nine games with the Bruins, Jagr has notched two goals and six assists.
With the B’s visiting Philadelphia tonight, it is the first time Jagr has returned to the city since signing with the Dallas Stars after last season. Following the B’s morning skate, Head Coach Claude Julien talked about what Jagr has brought to his team.
“Well, without a doubt, good scoring depth; great example for, obviously, younger players to see what it takes to be a pro for a long time,” said Julien. “He's a great teammate, easy to get along with, so he's brought a lot of good things, he's been a good help for us.
“When he came to us we had some injuries, so he was able to fill in some holes that we really needed filled, so away we go with him.”
Julien didn’t know much about Jagr prior to the 681-goal scorer making his way to Boston. The B’s coach only went by what he heard from others: that Jagr was a good teammate and a positive influence. So far, what Julien had heard has been spot on.
The B’s bench boss also pointed to Jagr’s love for the game and how that has allowed the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer to continue to thrive.
“I think, to be honest with you, I'd heard a lot – you hear from everybody – and it was all the same things I've heard about,” Julien said. “He's a good teammate, but everything in his life revolves around hockey. He loves the game, he's a student of the game; I know he lives for it because he doesn't like days off.
“He enjoys being around the rink, so it explains a little bit why he's still playing hockey at this age. To be able to have the success that he's had you have to have passion for this game. Whether his body, his age is getting up there, he still finds ways to be productive and a good player.
“But he's been a great addition, even in the dressing room. He smiles all the time, good teammate, encourages players, not afraid to joke with them and loosen guys up. [He] really has been, to me, a great addition to us.”
This morning, Jagr compared Boston to Philadelphia, saying the two cities share a similar passion for sports.
“I was missing the NHL a little bit, especially when the playoffs came,” said Jagr on why he returned to the NHL last season. “The fans are so good here [in Philadelphia], they follow the sports. Boston is so similar to Philly; Boston fans, Boston people and Philly people, they love sports, they follow the teams, they follow hockey, they follow baseball, they follow football.”
Tonight, Philadelphia will show its support for Boston after the tragic events at the Boston Marathon last week. While the two cities may be enemies on the ice, on the court, or on the field, for one night they will be coming together.
The Flyers and their fans will donate the charitable portion of tonight’s 50/50 raffle to onefundboston.org. The Flyers will also wear special edition jerseys with a Boston Strong patch on their uniforms and decals on their helmets. Those jerseys will then be put up for auction following the game, with the proceeds also going to onefundboston.org.
Members of the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments will participate in a pregame ceremony that will feature a tribute video and the singing of God Bless America.
This morning, Coach Julien said he was looking forward to tonight’s support from the Flyers, while his team tries to hang on to the top spot in the Northeast Division.
“Well, there's no doubt,” Julien said. “We've said it so many times, the pro sports, the cities, all pro sports have been unbelievable and I don't see anything being different here.
“We can't thank people in cites enough for the support they've shown. We have to be appreciative, but at the same time, we still have to do a job. We have to go out there and play a big game tonight. We're hoping to hang on to our top spot in our division, and at the end of the night, you have to come up with the two points.
“What's going to happen here tonight, I'm sure is not going to be forgotten.”