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JAGR SETTLING IN WITH FLAMES

The winger took part in powerplay drills on Friday

by ARI YANOVER @NHLFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

While still unsure whether he'll play in the Flames' home-opener Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome (8 p.m., TV: Sportsnet One, Radio: Sportsnet 960 The FAN, Jaromir Jagr has taken on a bigger role in practice. 

During Friday's morning skate he played with both powerplay units.

"He just thinks the game and he never panics in those areas," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "What I found with Jags lately is he goes to the net a lot more. He recognizes where the fish are, right, they bite around the net, so he goes there.

"The thing is he's just skilled in all assets. He can shoot the puck, he's got a long reach, he gets to pucks so well. 

"And a lot of the powerplay is getting things on net, retrieving, and getting those broken plays, and there's no one better at doing that kind of stuff."

The Flames officially signed the 45-year-old right-winger on Oct. 4, when he arrived in Calgary from the Czech Republic. He missed the season-opener that evening at Rogers Place in Edmonton, a 3-0 loss to the Oilers.

Since then, Jagr has been acquainting himself with his new teammates and getting up to speed in practice, where he's been skating on the third line with Kris Versteeg and Sam Bennett.

Bennett, as a linemate, is of particular interest. The 21-year-old is just a year younger than budding star Aleksander Barkov, who was Jagr's most frequent linemate over his past couple of seasons with the Florida Panthers.

Jagr already seems to have taken on something of a mentorship role with the Flames, which Gulutzan said he's familiar with from when he coached No. 68 in Dallas.

"He's really good with the young guys," Gulutzan said. "He loves the game, he's trying to pass on some helpful things and the guys listen. Obviously, they would like to have that kind of career."

As for dressing in the home-opener, that's still up to Jagr.

"We're gonna let Jags decide that," Gulutzan said. "Second day of training camp for him really. So we'll know more tomorrow, see how he feels."

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