Jaromir Jagr walked out of the Phillies’ clubhouse and onto the ice at Citizens Bank Park for the third period just waiting, wishing and hoping that there would be a way that he could factor into the 2012 Winter Classic.
Perhaps, Jagr thought, there would be an opportunity on a five-on-three power play that might not require much skating on his wonky leg.
It never happened.
And so, Jagr spent the final 34 minutes, 48 seconds glued to the Flyers’ bench, suffering from an injury that was sustained in Pittsburgh last Thursday.
“The last game in Pittsburgh, I sprained my leg,” Jagr explained. “I tried to fight back and try it, but I just couldn’t skate. I didn’t want to hurt the team.”
Some had suggested that coach Peter Laviolette may have benched the NHL’s ninth all-time scorer, since Jagr did skate for 10 shifts and 7:09 of ice time over the first two periods. That wasn’t the case. Instead, James van Riemsdyk — moving up from the fourth line — filled in for Jagr with Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux.
Jagr, 39, has 12 goals and 19 assists in 33 games this season and was coming off a scintillating performance in the Steel City.
“I didn’t bench him,” Laviolette said, referring all injury questions to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren.
The Flyers did release an official injury update for Jagr, hours after the game was completed. Holmgren said that Jagr is now day-to-day with lower-body injury. Jagr described it as a calf injury.
Jagr’s status for Thursday’s game against the Blackhawks is unknown.
Other questions were raised about Jagr remaining on the bench for the duration of the game, even though he was too hurt to play. Jagr said on Saturday that he wasn’t a fan of playing in the cold weather. The official game time temperature was 41.1 degrees, though it plummeted throughout the game.
Jagr said the temperatures, which tighten muscles, didn’t exactly aid his injury.
“I was hoping that if we got to a power play or something like that, [I could play]," Jagr said. “But I just wanted to be with my teammates.”