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.
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.