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Isles' Reese ready to face his idol -- Jagr

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- Growing up in the Pittsburgh suburbs, New York Islanders defenseman Dylan Reese said watching Jaromir Jagr with the Pittsburgh Penguins was one of the reasons he started playing hockey.

Tonight, he'll go head-to-head with his idol.

"He came in right around the time I stared playing," Reese, 27, told "He's one of the reasons I started playing, him and (Mario) Lemieux and the Penguins' Cup (winners) in '91 and '92 -- that's when hockey picked up in Pittsburgh and that's when guys my age started playing the sport."

Reese, a 2003 seventh-round pick of the Isles, got a close-up look this morning when he watched part of the Flyers' morning skate, said he thought this day never would happen once Jagr left for Russia in 2008.

"It's pretty exciting to play against him," said Reese. "I always admired his playing style and how he uses his body to protect the puck and he always seems like he's one of the toughest guys to get the puck off of. I'm excited to play against him tonight."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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