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Jagr received good advice from close friend

Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 1:33 AM ET / News
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Jagr received good advice from close friend
Jaromir Jagr had a few options in July when he was pondering his NHL return, but thanks to a friend from home, he took the Flyers\' offer. It turned out to be the best possible advice.
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Jaromir Jagr's impact in Philadelphia has been felt inside the dressing room, on the ice, and up and down the Flyers' lineup.

Claude Giroux is off to the best start of his young career. Scott Hartnell is redefining his role as a power forward. Jakub Voracek's dream of playing with his boyhood idol is coming true. Peter Laviolette is thrilled to have a veteran with Jagr's status to point to as an example of how a strong work ethic can pay off in goals and wins.

Jagr has 6 goals and 9 assists through 14 games, including 11 points over his current seven-game point-scoring streak. He's serving as the right wing on the Flyers' top line with Giroux and Hartnell. They quickly have formed one of the NHL's most dominant lines this season.

"He's an elite player, he really is," Laviolette said of Jagr.

"He was the only one that knew (what teams) I was talking to beside my agent. And he knew I was talking to probably five or six teams, coaches and GMs, but the Flyers were not involved. Every time I talked to the GM, what they told me I told my friend. Then two days before free agency I was talking to the Flyers. After that I talked to my friend, and he said, 'That's it.' I don't know what he knew, but he said, 'You're talking to me about them differently than other teams.'" - Jaromir Jagr
But according to Jagr, the only reason he brought his elite talent to Philadelphia is because his closest friend of more than 30 years told him that's what he should do.

He wouldn't divulge any information about his friend other than to say he lives in the Czech Republic, but Jagr credits his friend with convincing him to accept the Flyers' one-year, $3.3 million contract offer.

"He was the only one that knew (what teams) I was talking to beside my agent. And he knew I was talking to probably five or six teams, coaches and GMs, but the Flyers were not involved," Jagr told NHL.com Tuesday. "Every time I talked to the GM, what they told me I told my friend. Then two days before free agency I was talking to the Flyers. After that I talked to my friend, and he said, 'That's it.' I don't know what he knew, but he said, 'You're talking to me about them differently than other teams.'

"I cannot tell you what, but he sensed in me it was a different feeling. I've spent about 30 years with him and he knew because he knows me and he saw the difference, could tell the difference."

Jagr, though, still came to Philadelphia without any preconceived expectations or thoughts about what he might be able to accomplish as a 39-year-old who hadn't played in the NHL since 2008.

He just wanted to see if he could make it work at this level again after spending three seasons in the KHL.

"Good or bad, I was going to play through it," Jagr said. "That's why I didn't expect anything. No matter if it was bad or good, I wanted to play."

So far it's been all good for Jagr, who is playing well and cementing opinions of himself to others.

For instance, Laviolette had no idea that Jagr was such a preparation nut.

"The way he trains, the time he puts in to prepare himself to play, I don't think you get to see that when you're on the opposing bench," he said.

That work ethic has rubbed off on the Flyers' younger players like Giroux and James van Riemsdyk.

"When he came here I didn't know what to expect," Giroux said. "But when he came here he was the one that worked the hardest and gave the young players like me and van Riemsdyk a wake-up call to see that if we wanted to be one of the best we had to work at it, that it wasn't just going to come."

Voracek is happy to report that the image he had of Jagr when he was a child who used to hang posters of No. 68 on his bedroom walls matches what he now sees from his favorite player and teammate.

"I think we click pretty well," Voracek told NHL.com. "We live pretty close to each other so we keep in touch every day off the ice, as well. It's very cool to be with him."

Hartnell commented after a recent game that he still finds it surreal that Jagr is even on his team.

"That hasn't worn off yet," he said. "It's fun."

Jagr himself looks to be having a blast, as well. That much was obvious Tuesday after the Flyers came off the ice after practice.

Jagr and Voracek were laughing and telling jokes in their native tongue. Jagr was smiling and having fun with the Flyers' equipment managers. He even joked about the upcoming Flyers-Rangers Alumni Game that will be played Dec. 31 at Citizens Bank Park.

"They probably thought I was going to play in that game," Jagr said, laughing at his own joke. "I surprised everybody. Obviously I wasn't invited for that game. So I chose to play in the NHL game."

Not without the help from his anonymous friend.

"Sometimes you cannot listen to yourself," Jagr said. "You need the people around you to help you make a decision like this."

The Flyers are ready to write a thank-you letter.

"His smile when he plays the game is almost infectious," Laviolette said. "He's happy to be here. He's happy to be a Flyer. He's having a terrific start to the season. And he shows by the way he smiles."

SCHEDULE

HOME
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 76 21 55 7 76
C. Giroux 75 23 46 2 69
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 76 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 76 13 17 1 30
M. Del Zotto 58 9 20 -5 29
M. Read 74 7 22 -7 29
M. Raffl 61 20 6 7 26
V. Lecavalier 52 7 11 -10 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 15 17 11 .927 2.24
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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