Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr skates with new teammates, discusses spurned Pens fans

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Amid the angry reactions regarding Jaromir Jagr’s supposed betrayal of Pittsburgh Penguins fans by signing with Philly, many ignored the fact that he was often booed mercilessly during returns to the Igloo. Surely those same fans must have felt their blood boiling today, as Jagr put on that orange, black and white jersey for the first time.

Jagr is just one of several players who will wear a Flyers uniform for the first time in regular season games next season – especially if youngsters Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier make the squad. The Philadelphia Flyers stand among the NHL’s most radically altered teams, so it’s probably important to note that head coach Peter Laviolette will experiment with line combinations during training camp.

That being said, some might have been surprised to see Jagr skating with what would be the top line to start things out. Here’s what the first day forward lines looked like, via CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio.

James van Riemsdyk -Claude Giroux-Jaromir Jagr
Scott Hartnell-Danny Briere-Jakub Voracek (staff had been thinking Jagr there)
Max Talbot-Michael Nylander-Wayne Simmonds
Jody Shelley-Blair Betts-Andreas Nodl
Brayden Schenn by himself

NHL coaches are known for tweaking their lines and Laviolette is no exception. With that in mind, Jagr could bounce around the Flyers’ lineup but before and during the season, especially since it is conceivable that he could work alongside Giroux, Briere or even former Rangers running mate Nylander. Still, Giroux wasn’t shy about expressing his excitement about skating alongside Jagr, a player he once looked up to.

“When I was a kid, I looked up to (Jagr) because he was obviously one of the best young players to ever play,” Giroux said. “So, anytime you have a guy like that on your line, it’s pretty exciting. He’s that kind of player who knows how to score goals and is always in good position to get open. He’s been in the league for a long time, so anytime you have a player like that on your line it’s good. I’ll be playing with JVR too, so I was playing with two strong guys.”

Regardless of his linemates, Jagr will likely be booed heartily in Pittsburgh when he makes his first-ever appearance at Consol Energy Center on December 29 (health permitting). Jagr addressed the many angry Penguins fans who were let down when Jagr ended his flirtation with a return to Pittsburgh by signing with the team’s cross-state and divisional rivals.

Finally, here is footage of Jagr putting on that Flyers jersey for the first time.

Fight video: Someone other than Evander Kane beats up Alex Petrovic

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Bummed out on this holiday? Look on the bright side: at least you’re not as sore as Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic likely is right now.

Not long after suffering three defeats at the hands/fists of Evander Kane, Petrovic likely lost another bout to Nashville Predators tough guy Anthony Bitetto.

(Note: some might consider this more of a draw, for what it’s worth. You can watch that latest fight in the video above.)

Hey, at least Bitetto didn’t taunt Petrovic after their fight …

It was a rough night for the Panthers overall, as they suffered a gruesome injury or two and fell to the Predators by a score of 5-0.

Outdoor game rumors: Jets host Oilers, Red Wings at Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings face off during the first period of the Winter Classic outdoor NHL hockey game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day, and so are rumors about hockey fans bundling up for outdoor games next season.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman went over two possible outdoor matchups coming for 2016-17 during Saturday’s Headlines segment.

A smart move for a potential game in Winnipeg: Imagine the Jets hosting a game in Winnipeg in February? Ilya Bryzgalov almost turned off his TV in protest.

Instead, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports that the Jets are likely to host the Edmonton Oilers in October. That would be a smart logistical move, as long as it isn’t too hot.

(Also, playing it then would hopefully increase the odds of the mainstream sporting public seeing Connor McDavid in an outdoor game.)

Toronto’s turn: Friedman reports that the Toronto Maple Leafs are likely to host the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 Winter Classic (or at least an outdoor game), almost certainly on New Year’s Day 2017.

The two teams combined for a great Winter Classic at Ann Arbor in 2014, so that could be a fun time.

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Keep in mind these are reports (and well-placed ones at that) rather than official announcements for the NHL. These things could always change.

Related: Could the Penguins host the Flyers outdoors next season, too?

Ducks likely to recall Khudobin after Gibson injury

Chicago Blackhawks' Richard Panik (14), of Slovakia, collides with Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Chicago. Anaheim won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.

The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).

The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.

Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:

The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”

Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.