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Jagr received good advice from close friend

Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 1:33 AM / 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
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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