Philadelphia Flyers v Winnipeg Jets

Voracek on taking Jagr’s spot: “He was practically my idol”


After signing him to a four-year, $17 million deal, it was clear just how strongly the Philadelphia Flyers feel about Jakub Voracek. GM Paul Holmgren essentially admitted that he’ll take Jaromir Jagr’s spot.

Voracek spoke about Jagr’s impact both last season and how he grew up idolizing the future Hall of Famer (who grew up in the same Czech Republic town of Kladno) with’s Sarah Baicker.

“It was very fun for me last year with all the players, especially [Jagr],” Voracek said. “He was practically my idol since I was a kid. To be around him all year long and to watch what he does before the games, after games and during practice was something priceless.”

The similarities between the two inspired some to call Voracek “Baby Jagr,” but he’ll have an opportunity to make an identity of his own alongside his idol’s linemates Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell.

The Flyers must hope that the 22-year-old breaks through like Jagr did around that age. After some strong initial seasons, Jagr exploded during the 1995-96 season when he was 23, jumping from 70 points to a whopping 149 (62 goals included).

Expecting anything close to that in a league where 100-point seasons are rare would be excessive, but Philly’s front office would love the parallels to continue in some form.

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane

On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.