The 2011-12 season was a renaissance for Jaromir Jagr, as the future Hall of Famer returned to the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers after a three-year sojourn in Russia to show that even at age 40, he still can be a top-line performer.
Whether the comeback lasts another season, however, is unknown.
Jagr, who turned 40 in February, had 19 goals and 35 assists in 73 games, and both Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell credited his presence alongside them on the Flyers' first line as a major reason each had career seasons that included appearances in the NHL All-Star Game.
Off the ice, Jagr's impact was just as tremendous, as numerous teammates raved about his work ethic and relentlessly positive personality having an infectious influence on the rest of the roster.
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By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Staff Writer A pair of fortuitous bounces 3:18 apart in the first period gave the Devils all the offense they needed, as they defeated the Flyers 3-1 in Game 5 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2003. READ MORE ›
"He's a great guy in the locker room, he's a lot of fun to be around," teammate Jakub Voracek said. "He's still showing he can play at the top level in the NHL at 40. Only a few guys can do it. That's why he's so special."
The season also was special to Jagr, who didn't hold back on his feelings about his first season in Philadelphia.
"That was probably my most enjoyable year I ever had," he said after his season ended with a 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. "I won some [Stanley] Cups, I won some trophies, but I loved this year. From the organization to the last player on the team, and the fans, they were so nice to me. I hate to finish it right now. That's the worst feeling.
"You want to finish the whole story."
Whether there's another chapter left in his Philadelphia hockey story is unknown. Jagr certainly wasn't ready to answer it in the immediate aftermath of his season ending.
While his season as a whole was good, he appeared to slow down as it wore on. He had 12 goals and 31 points in his first 32 games, but when the calendar flipped to 2012, his production diminished. In 41 games to finish the season, he had just seven goals and 23 points. He also played through a nagging groin problem that limited his skating.
His numbers in the postseason were a continuation of that drop-off. He had seven points in six games in the first round against the Penguins, but just one goal, and all but one of those points came on the power play. In the second round against New Jersey, he was held to one assist -- on the power play -- and seven shots on goal. And the powerful skating bursts and strength on the puck that have been a hallmark of his game were notably absent.
Jagr made $3.3 million this season and the Flyers certainly will have the salary-cap room to re-sign him. The team showed interest earlier in the season, but Jagr said he wanted to wait until the season was over to see how he felt.
"Right now I don't know," he said about his future following Game 5. "I don't know what's going to happen."
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