• December 2, 2021

At 40 Jagr Can Still Play With The Best Of Them

Tuesday night the Flyers won a thriller in Winnipeg Manitoba when they defeated the Jets in overtime in one of the wildest hockey games in recent memory by a score of 5-4 . The win was good and hopefully will kick start this team to getting back on a long winning streak. The problem is it should have never been close to begin with but with Ilyia Bryzgalov in net it’s obvious no game will come easy for the Flyers the rest of the way.

Bryzgalov is single handedly finding ways to sabotage what could be a great season for the Flyers. I could easily sit here and rip him apart for another lousy performance against the Jets but the guys in front bailed him out tonight in a major way. It’s pretty evident the Flyers are playing against two opponents every night the rest of the way. The first opponent is the opposing team and the second is Bryzgalov in net. Tonight we saw a Flyers team that wouldn’t give up and knew how important 2 points were in the standings.

The grit and determination we saw on the ice tonight was in large part due to the veteran leadership on this squad and one veteran in particular in my opinion hasn’t been celebrated as much as we should be celebrating him this season and that guy is Jaromir Jagr. Jagr scored the game winner in overtime against the Jets on Tuesday. He scored two goals against one of his former teams the Penguins in his first game back from sickness the game before. Jagr when healthy has been an absolute thrill to watch in orange and black and it’s a shame he couldn’t find his way to Philadelphia sooner in his career.

At 40 years of age Jagr is still playing at a high level in the NHL after playing in Russia for the past two seasons since leaving the rival NY Rangers. Jagr could have signed anyplace in the NHL when he decided to return last summer and many thought he’d go back to the Penguins to finish where he started. Jagr deciding on the Flyers was an interesting choice and many including myself were puzzled by the move back in the summer.

At best most thought he’d be a nice complimentary piece of the team that could contribute on an occasional basis and be more of a teacher to the young talent. It turns out Jagr is teaching the young talent on this squad by example each and every night with his top notch performance which just won’t stop even at 40 years old.

In 50 games so far this season Jagr has 16 goals, 26 assists, 42 points and is a plus 7. Considering the time he’s missed with injuries he’s still putting up great numbers for someone at his age. If Jagr continues to stay healthy I expect him to finish with at least 25 goals this season. Jagr now has 16 career over time goals after the Jets game and it’s pretty clear he knows how to put his foot on the gas in crucial situations when the game’s on the line.

During this recent stretch of bad play from the team Jagr was sidelined with an illness and even though they lost to the Penguins last weekend Jagr came back and provided a veteran spark this team needed. Jagr isn’t a goalie so the guys up front can’t do anything about the poor performance of Brzgalov but if they continue to put the pedal to the metal anything can happen as long as they get into the playoffs.

Jagr’s true strength will come in the post season as I expect him to turn it up a notch and display a veteran leadership that others on the team can take advantage of for a playoff run. The way Jagr is playing I fully expect him to make a case to return again next season if not in orange and black then someplace else in the NHL. His game is still there and for those of us in Philly that want to continue to focus on the bad goaltending and poor defense be my guest because it rightfully should be blamed for a lot of the problems as of late with this hockey team.

If this team is to come out of this recent funk and go on a long playoff run besides the fact the defense and goaltending will need to turn around they’ll need to continue to receive great contributions and veteran leadership from Jaromir Jagr. Number 68 is a huge asset to this team and a player we’re lucky to have in Philly. Jagr is showing everyone that 40 is just a number. I don’t believe we’ve seen the best of what he can do just yet and his true value will show over the next few months if the goaltending and defense find a way to turn things around.

John Stratis

A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan always looking to share his opinion about the greatest sports town in the world. Follow me on twitter @JohnStratis

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  • every Winnipeg game this season has been extremely entertaining —finally on the good side of the outcome — I love the way hockey is played when these 2 team met –

  • Exciting games indeed vs the Jets, but not the type of play that will get you anywhere come Playoff time.. Flyers will be a 1 & Done team this Playoff Season as most Philly Teams have become anymore..

  • Paulman, I dare you to say something about Philadelphia sports. I know you can if you really try

  • I like the Soccer Team (Union), they will probably make it to the Semi-Finals again.. and I liek Temple to make the Sweet 16.. Outside of that, all 4 Major Sport Franchises are 1 & Done with a very strong possibility that the Phils and Eagles don’t even make the Post-Season for their 2012 Seasons

  • Paulman your last post is a little “gloom & doom” I think and for no other reason than to get a rise out the people reading it. First, no one cares about soccer outside of Victoria Beckham and “March Madness” would be an afterthought if noone was gambling on it. The Eagles had a horrible year and need defensive help, but I’m willing to see what they do before predicting they miss the playoffs. The Phillies have holes for sure, but so does every team and they’ve won the division for five straight years. The Sixers are successful for no other reason then they got people to talk about them again and are still a legitimate bigman and shooter from competing and the Flyers are always in the playoffs. I agree that signing “Bry” long term seems to have been a mistake, much in the way that the Ealges siging Vick was, but realistically all 4 teams will likely be in the playoffs and if so, I suspect at least one two will be better than 1 & done.

  • FLyers and Sixers are limping in to the end of the Season and will be out without much of a fight I am afraid.. The Phils have ruled the NL East for the last 5 Seasons but that’s about to end, Competitors have closed to gap and some analysts even have the Nats/Braves as legitimate winners of the NL EAst, so the Phillie Season is no cakewalk and they will have to start the season with guns a blazing..
    #1) Can Utley/Polanco rebound back to Career Averages and Production (of Not, Phils are in trouble)..
    #2) Can the Trio of young PItchers Worley,Stutes & Bastardo all improve or even pitch as well as they did last Season.(is Sophomore slump occurs, Phils are in trouble)
    #3) Can Papelbon handle the Philly Media and Fans after a blown save or two.. (he ‘s very temperamental and will be a Hero or a Goat within the 1st monrth of the Season, a good start for him is imperative or it could be a long hot summer for him)
    #4) How many At-Bats can Thome Get..,he probably needs a good 12-15 At-Bats per week to stay sharp, where does he play???
    #5) Can Mayberry continue his Consistent Play and Production like we saw last year to become a regualr everyday player whether it’s at 1B until Howard returns and then can he hold down the Left-Field Position..
    #6) Can Rollins and Victorino improve their Batting and On-Base %’s to lead the Phillie Offense… If not, who jumpstarts this Offense..
    #7) Can Reserves/Bench Players Nix/Whittinghton and Thome all contribute and come thru with some clutch hitting more so then the previous group..
    #8) Is Dominic Brown a Legitimate MLB everyday player.. (I think he will start the Season in Triple AAA and maybe be a mid-summer call-up) but the Phils one way or another need to find out by year’s end if Brown is the real deal or not

    These are all legitimate questions and of copurse not everythingg goes according to plan… If Phils have most of these points go in their favor, then they are in very good shape but if points #1, #2 and #6 don’t go their way then they could have a lot of problems scoring Runs and even though they have a Great Top #3 in the Rotation with Halladay/Lee & Hamels, they still need to score 4 + runs to winagainst the good teams..
    The NL East has gotten considerbly strong and the Phils will receive stiff competitiomn by younger,hungrier clubs liek the Nationals.Marlins and Braves
    The Rest of the NL is still very competitive too with the Cardinals,Brewers losing bot Pujols and Fielder to the American League, the Reds have added some quality players as has the Rockies & Arizona and the SF Giants still ahve very good Pitching and the LA Dodgers are looking to rebound with some young star players in Kemp,Eithier,Loney,Gordon wuith 2 Young Guns at the top of their rotation in Kershaw and Billingsly followed by veterans Lilly and Harang …
    Should be a very competitive season so getting off to a good and healthy start will bode very well for the Phils..

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