Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jagr: Power play cure?; Sestito, Simmonds updates

Jaromir Jagr may be the antidote for a power play that killed the Flyers last season.

Jagr: Power play cure?; Sestito, Simmonds updates

Jaromir Jagr (center) celebrates his first period goal against the New York Rangers on Monday. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Jaromir Jagr (center) celebrates his first period goal against the New York Rangers on Monday. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

Jaromir Jagr may be the antidote for a power play that killed the Flyers last season.

Just don’t suggest to him that his impressive preseason presence on the point is your reason for optimism.

“I can’t promise anything,” Jagr said again, trying to cool feverish expectations that have stemmed from his 5 points in just two exhibition games, including back-to-back power play goals against the Rangers on Monday night.

Yes, it was just one preseason game. Yes, Jagr has been one of the Flyers’ brightest spots on the ice in two matchups.

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And the Flyers’ power play looked brilliant, notching a goal in every scenario (5-on-4, 5-on-3 and 4-on-3), after a dismal 19th place finish (16.1 percent) in the NHL last season. The Flyers’ power play was more fickle – and hot and cold – than the stock market.

Then again, it’s the preseason.

“We did a little better than last game,” Jagr said. “And when guys in the center have great vision like they do, it makes it better and easier.”

Jagr was referring to Claude Giroux, whom he called a ‘smaller Mario Lemieux.’

The Flyers have spent just two days working on the power play in practice, not spending more than a few minutes on each unit.

Then again, it’s the preseason.

“It’s a little early,” Danny Briere said. “You don’t want to get too excited, too quick. Teams are going to adjust well. This year, we definitely want to be better, because last year it cost us some games and momentum at times.”

SESTITO UPDATE: According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Tom Sestito may need to wait until Wednesday for his hearing with new dean of discipline Brendan Shanahan. You see, Shanahan has had his docket stacked each of the last few days, doling out suspensions like they’re candy.

Video of Sestito’s boarding major is below. You be the judge.

All signs point to Sestito, who Flyers’ general manager Paul Holmgren admitted was maybe a little “overzealous” with his hit in an attempt to make the team, receiving less than the 10 games Jody Shelley was banned last week because he does not have a disciplinary history with the NHL.

Nonetheless, it probably killed Sestito's chances of making the team out of camp. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette needs players he can trust.

SIMMONDS BACKLASH: Partly because the New York media ran with it like a Lindsay Lohan panty shot, and partly because it was caught on video (but not audio), Wayne Simmonds will likely have a phone conversation with senior VP of hockey operations Colin Campbell on Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss his apparent use of a homophobic slur against Rangers agitator Sean Avery.

Simmonds did not want to go into too much detail about his conversation with Avery, but it’s safe to say the Rangers’ agitator has never been too careful with his word choice, either.

Avery, who was arrested in Los Angeles last summer after calling cops “pigs” and was once suspended and traded for referring to ex-girlfriend Elisha Cuthbert as “sloppy seconds,” implied that Simmonds should be fined. Avery campaigned for same-sex marriage in New York State last summer.

Dreger reported that the fine could be somewhere in the $2500 range.

“I mean, Kobe got fined 100 grand,” Avery said after the game. “Everything is different now. You know, it’s an issue. It has been said for years. It is an issue that people are dealing with and trying to overcome.”

Simmonds said Avery sucker-punched him in a scrum, following Sestito’s hit, and Avery’s word choices weren’t exactly printable, either.

“He definitely said some things to me that I wasn’t too happy about,” Simmonds said. “I can’t recall every single word that was said. I am not here to say that he said this and I am not going to rat him out. It doesn’t matter to me. It was a hockey game. It’s something that happens every game.”

In Simmonds’ case, it probably helps that Campbell was at the Flyers’ game in London, Ontario, last week and witnessed when a banana was thrown from the stands at him during a shootout attempt.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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Daily News Staff Writer
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