Jaromir Jagr returns for the first time as a Devil

Jaromir Jagr returns for the first time as a Devil

An old friend and fan favorite returns to Philadelphia again tonight.

Jaromir Jagr, the 41-year-old enigma, comes to town this evening as the Flyers host the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m.

This is actually Jagr’s second visit to Philadelphia since leaving the Orange and Black. If you recall, Jagr came back with Boston this past April 23 during his half-season stint with the Bruins. He recorded and assist but finished minus-1 in a 5-2 Flyers win.

Jagr enters tonight’s contest as the Devils’ leading scorer with three goals and seven assists.  His 10 points would make him the Flyers’ leading scorer by three points over the trio of Vinny Lecavalier, Brayden Schenn and Claude Giroux, each of whom have seven points on the season.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that at this point in time the Flyers, especially Jagr’s Philadelphia linemates Giroux and Scott Hartnell, miss the future hall-of-famer’s presence.

During his only season in Philadelphia two years ago, Jagr potted 19 goals and added 35 assists in 73 games played. Giroux – 28 goals and 65 assists – and Hartnell – 37 goals and 30 assists – both had career years playing alongside Jagr.

Oh, how things have changed around these parts.

Since Jagr decided to leave and sign with Dallas during the 2012 offseason, Giroux has totaled just 13 goals and recorded a minus-17 rating in 62 games. Though he’s added 42 assists in that span, his play clearly hasn’t been the same.

In that same span, Hartnell has played just 42 games due to various injuries. In those 42 games, Hartnell has scored nine goals and added just three assists. In fact, Hartnell hasn’t had an assist in the past 36 games.  It’s hard to get assists when the team doesn’t score, but you get the point.

On the ice, the Flyers really miss the way Jagr can create offense. Keep an eye tonight on the way Jagr carries the puck into the offensive zone with ease and the way he uses his body to win board battles and create space for his linemates.

He’s an offensive creator. The Flyers who are supposed to be creating offense, like Giroux and Jake Voracek, simply put, aren’t creating much of anything right now.

The Devils signed Jagr to a one-year, $2 million base-salary contract with another $2 million in potential bonuses this past summer.

In both hindsight and looking at the Flyers’ current offensive struggles, would you have signed Jagr to that type of deal?

It’s worth pondering.

All of this aside, I’m having trouble figuring out what Jagr’s Halloween costume was last week based upon the pictures he posted to his official Facebook page.

70s pornstar Aquaman? That’s my guess.

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Claude Giroux spent Friday signing virtual autographs as the cover athlete for Topps NHL Skate 2017, a new onilne digital trading card game. Remember when trading cards came in a bubble gum pack? 

After the event, Giroux sat down with CSN's Michael Barkann on Philly Sports Talk for a game of “Who Does It Better: Canada or the United States?”

The game started off with a few easy softball questions, with Giroux picking the NFL over the Candian Football League. Then it got a little tougher, as Giroux chose Canadian hockey over U.S. hockey.

Despite talents like Drake and Shania Twain, Giroux went with the U.S. over Canada in music, and also chose American bacon over Canadian bacon.

Eventually, Barkann asked Giroux which beer he preffered.

“I don’t drink beer," Giroux responded.

Really? What Canadian doesn't like beer?

As he started to get up out of his seat after the interview, Giroux showed his true colors. “I love beer. I love beer,” he said.

Check out the video above to see the full game. 

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."