PHILADELPHIA -- No longer are Flyers fans whistling at him, mockingly, like they did when his mullet flapped in the chilled wind during his visits with Pittsburgh, Washington and the Rangers.
No longer is he Public Enemy No. 1, like he was in parts of two decades.
After scoring a total of four goals in three preseason games, the one-time villain -- right winger Jaromir Jagr, the Flyers' new elder statesman -- has become accepted.
With open arms.
Jagr -- his locks trimmed, his smile effervescent, his scoring touch still intact after all these years -- received rousing cheers during preseason games at the Wells Fargo Center.
"I don't think anyone expected him to come back and be as good as he has shown so far in camp," said Danny Briere, who spent some preseason time on the power play with Jagr. "It's very exciting for everyone. It's exciting for me to have the chance to skate with him and to play with him."
Jagr has played in 17 NHL seasons, won five league scoring titles and an MVP award, and he is the league's active leader in career points (1,599, ninth in history), goals (646, 12th) and assists (953, 14th). But at 39, and after playing the last three seasons in Russia, there were questions about how he would adjust to returning to the smaller NHL rinks.
And while he downplays his preseason success, others don't.
"He's clearly still got it," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.
He also has a different attitude. He is more comfortable with himself than in his younger years, more mature than the guy who, in 1992, had been on two Stanley Cup champions in his first two seasons with Pittsburgh. That prompted Jagr, then 20 and in a contract squabble, to proclaim: "I have two Stanley Cup rings. I don't need more rings. I just need money and beaches and girls."
Nearly two decades later, he laughs at those words.
"Maybe when I was 20, I had an ego ... when I said that," said a grinning Jagr, adding he has been living with the same woman for the last six years. "I was dumb" back then.
Jagr, whose presence should invigorate a power play that was 19th in the 30-team NHL last season, is content to play a supporting role. In fact, he "relishes the role.
"I'm here to help the younger guys," he said.
In Jagr's last NHL season, he had 25 goals and 46 assists with the 2007-08 Rangers. The Flyers, needing offense to replace the goals scored by Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Ville Leino, would be thrilled with that type of production.
"He brings a lot of experience, a lot of offense, a lot of options in different areas -- for our lines, for our power play," Laviolette said. "He's been great ... He possesses the puck. He makes plays. He gets his shots off quick."
In the summer, the Flyers signed Jagr to a $3.3 million, one-year contract after he spurned other free-agent offers, including one from his 11-year employer, Pittsburgh. (Penguins fans can't wait to let him hear about it when he returns on Dec. 29.)
Jagr, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound physical-fitness addict who looks much younger than his age, had his best season with the Penguins in 1995-96, collecting 62 goals and 149 points. In NHL history, 11 players who had 50-goal seasons later played a campaign in which they turned 40, as Jagr will on Feb. 15.
Those 11 players averaged 17 goals in seasons when they turned 40. Jagr isn't concerned with the number of goals he scores.
"I just want to play the best hockey possible, and whatever happens, happens," he said. "Do as much as I can, that's my goal. As long as I'm honest with myself, that I know did everything I could, I'll be happy with myself."
He has his sights on playing on his third Stanley Cup champion, not another scoring crown.
"If you win as a team, then no one remembers who scored the goals. Everybody remembers the winners," said Jagr, a native of the Czech Republic who will decide after the season if he wants to continue playing. "How many points did I score when we won the first Cup? Nobody knows if you don't look at the stats, but they know I won the Cup and I was part of that team."
Jagr said he doesn't want to disappoint his teammates "and I don't want the guys who took the risk 1/8by signing him 3/8 to take blame. That's why I want to do good -- to help them and make it easier for them."
In the preseason, Jagr developed quick chemistry with Claude Giroux ("A little Mario Lemieux," Jagr called him) and James van Riemsdyk. That line figures to be together for Thursday's opener in Boston.
Giroux and van Riemsdyk are two of the Flyers' young cornerstones. Their combined age (45) is just six years older than Jagr (39).
In his past NHL seasons, "I was the go-to guy and everybody was playing around me," said Jagr, who believes making "smaller turns" is one of the biggest adjustments as he returns to NHL rinks. "And this is not the same situation here. I want to help the young guys and help the offense. I don't want everything to be around me. The guys who have been here before are going to be the stars. They have a good future."
They can learn, however, from the guy with the glowing past, a guy whose present doesn't look too bad, either.
Especially without the mullet.