By Tom Dougherty | FFTomDougherty
For the second shootout this season, the Philadelphia Flyers opted not to use future NHL Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr as one of their three shooters. Instead, Danny Briere, James van Riemsdyk and rookie Matt Read were trotted out there for Monday’s 3-2 shootout lost to the Colorado Avalanche.
Briere went first, and tucked the puck past Jean-Sebastian Giguere’s skate while van Riemsdyk, making his first career shootout attempt, channeled his inner-Patrick Kane with a couple nifty moves before roofing the puck on Giguere. Read, also making his first attempt skated in on Giguere with the game on his stick and fired a wrister, beating Giguere but not the crossbar.
The Flyers only other shootout was a 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils Nov. 3 where Peter Laviolette went with Wayne Simmonds, Briere and Claude Giroux as his three shooters. Fair enough. Briere and Giroux are above and beyond the most gifted breakaway skaters on the Flyers roster, but why Simmonds?
Last night raises the same question. Why Read or van Riemsdyk, who neither had a shootout attempt in their careers, instead of Jagr?
Jagr is 5-for-22 in his career in the shootouts, scoring 22.7 percent of his attempts. That percentage puts him third on the Flyers roster in terms of percentage of scoring on shootout attempts behind Briere and Giroux.
His success rate isn’t as impressive as you’d think it would be for the active leading scorer in the league with 656 goals to his name. But we have to wonder what Laviolette’s thinking was behind leaving Jagr sitting on the bench for the second shootout of the season.
It’s been over three years since Jagr’s last shootout attempt, but it’s a breakaway contest. He has had his fair share of breakaways in the past three years playing in Russia and with the Flyers.
Maybe Laviolette had a gut-feeling that van Riemsdyk and Read would come up with goals. van Riemsdyk scored and Read did beat Giguere, but it does warrant the question of why no Jagr?