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.