Right Winger Jaromir Jagr (#68) of the New Jersey Devils gets his right arm on Defenseman Nick Schultz (#55) of the Philadelphia Flyers

NHL Firsts Are Made of These

January 3, 2012

The Flyers may have lost the Winter Classic to the New York Rangers, but there are certain moments you never forget…like scoring your first career NHL goal before 46,967 fans in the NHL’s most popular regular season game of the year. Brayden Schenn was that lucky guy who scored his first career NHL goal during the Winter Classic.

The last player to score his first career NHL goal in the Winter Classic was Danny Syvret, also a Philadelphia Flyer at the time, back during the 2010 Winter Classic in Boston during the Bruins’ 2-1 win over the Flyers.

“It’s nice to get the first one,” Schenn said. “It’s good to get it out of the way. It’s something I can build on…I’m going to keep on building on this and hopefully keep on improving.”

Schenn was the first to break the scoreless game at 12:26 into the second period. The Flyers were able to build off of that when Claude Giroux scored another one at 14:21. Thirty seconds later, Mike Rupp from the New York Rangers scored his first of two goals. Brad Richards would score the game winner at 5:21 in the third to give the Rangers a 3-2 win over the Flyers.

The comeback win put the Rangers first in the Atlantic Division.

Jagr Injury

If you were watching the Winter Classic, you would have noticed that the camera rested on the hockey legend Jaromir Jagr throughout the beginning of the game. He ended up leaving the game during the first period, returning in the second period, only to play 68 seconds and then sit out the remainder of the game.

Flyers’ coach Peter Laviolette was quick to respond after the game that he did not bench the legend.

Instead, Jagr informed the media that he has a new leg injury. This one is a new one, not an old one.

“I got hurt in the last game,” Jagr said of the injury. “There was a swelling in that muscle. Maybe it was because it was too cold and I couldn’t heat it. But when there’s a swelling in the muscle, you never know what can happen.”

Jagr decided to return to the game and sit on the bench for the remainder of the game, even though he knew that he wasn’t going to play.

“First of all, I like my teammates. I wanted to part of that. I knew things weren’t going to get any worse if I sit out on the bench. I wanted to be part of the bench. I’m part of the team. Why sit here? I was going to watch it on TV anyway. If I was close, I could help the guys.”

As far as the gravity of the injury, Jagr responded that he would be back in the lineup soon.

Mike Rupp’s Salute

Rupp had a good night, scoring the first two goals for the Rangers. After his first goal, he did something very reminiscent to hockey fans everywhere…he performed the Jagr salute.

When Jagr was asked what he thought of Rupp’s salute, he replied, “I don’t really pay attention to that stuff. He decided to do it. I mean, he scored, and it was a good goal, too.”

Rupp’s second goal celebration was very reminiscent of P.K. Subban’s celebration. Whether Rupp was trying out a few borrowed celebrations in order to find his own, fans are responding awkwardly to both. Then again, Rupp isn’t known to be a goal scorer…considering these two Winter Classic goals were his second and third goals of the season.

Let’s just hope Rupp either finds his own way to celebrate rather than becoming that guy who steals everyone else’s celebration traditions.

The Winter Classic Tradition

The strange thing about the Winter Classic tradition is that every team wearing the dark colored jersey ends up winning the Stanley Cup the following year. This goes all the way back to the inaugural Winter Classic game in 2008 when the Penguins wore their blue jersey and ended up winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. In 2009, the Chicago Blackhawks wore their black jerseys, and then won the Stanley Cup in 2010. In 2010, the Boston Bruins wore their black jerseys, and won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

The Pittsburgh Penguins wore their dark jersey in the 2011 Winter Classic. If tradition continues, they’ll win the Stanley Cup this year, and the Philadelphia Flyers will win the Cup in 2013 (barring a lockout).

Another strange statistic coming out of the Winter Classic lies with the away teams. Away teams playing in the Winter Classic have gone far into the Stanley Cup playoffs, only to lose. If the tradition continues, the Rangers will go far this year in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, only to lose.