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“I never thought that Pittsburgh fans would want me back,” Jagr said. “Every time I played there, they were booing me every time I touched the puck. I didn’t think it would be such a big deal that I didn’t sign with Pittsburgh.”

While most of the Flyers had been skating for weeks at the team’s practice facility, Jagr hit the ice for the first time Friday. He knew, and was friends with, some of the players killed in the jet crash carrying the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Jagr stayed behind and attended memorial services.

“Sometimes life can be tough, for everybody,” Jagr said. “Sometimes life brings you something sad, and you just have to feel sorry for the families of the players. You just have to sometimes think that life is a little bit more than anything (here).”

Holmgren expected Jagr to become a leader in the locker room. The Flyers named defenseman Chris Pronger team captain on Friday, giving them a pair of veterans on both sides of the ice who know how to win championships and set an example.

Jagr proved his mettle when he refused to consider a multiyear contract but he didn’t know how much he had left.

“If I was confident I could be very good for this team and could help them a lot, I would be thinking more,” he said. “But right now I don’t know. And I don’t want to have two years and be here just to be here.

“I want to be a plus for this team.”