Game 4 between the Penguins and Flyers will drop the puck tonight, but people are still buzzing about how Sidney Crosby carried himself during the Pittsburgh’s 8-4 loss. One of those people is none other than Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr writes in his blog for Czech website, iSport, that even he’s surprised by some of the things Crosby did in an effort to stand up for his team. While Jagr plays it cool, he says that he wouldn’t have acted out the way Crosby did if he was in his shoes.
There is a lot of talk now about Sidney Crosby and what he’s been doing on the ice. Some give it a lot of thought, others less. And I am a guy who does not care at all, I take no notice. He does harm only to himself. But every man is different, perhaps this helps him get into the game and play better.
But I don’t want to add any more comments; I really take no notice of it. In fact, when on the ice, I hardly know something like this is going on. I really want to focus on my game, to be as useful as possible to my team.
Focusing on your own team is always the best way to do things, but you could argue that’s exactly what Crosby was trying to do in his own Flyer-irritating way.
As for Jagr, one more Flyers victory sees him vanquish his first team from the playoffs finishing off what would be a heartbreaking year for the Penguins, one that started with their courtship of Jagr only to see him knock the Pens out while playing for their most hated rival.
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.