PHILADELPHIA PA - FEBRUARY 05: Andrej Meszaros #41 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against Brad Richards #91 of the Dallas Stars on February 5 2011 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
As training camp is only a couple of weeks away by now, a lot of the European Flyers are finishing off their time in their native countries and prepare for a move back to Philadelphia. It's time for Andrej Meszároš to take one last look at the year behind.
"I wouldn’t say it was my best season, but one of the better. I’m glad I was able to play better hockey again than I did in Tampa and help my team win games. It’s just a shame how the playoffs went."
"We wanted to win last season, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. We had an excellent first half of the season, but then we put the brakes on in the Buffalo series and it became a pretty long and challenging series. And then we lacked the power and energy against Boston. Perhaps it was similar to the previous season when the Flyers went to the finals, but then lost to Chicago."
"But I think we will be successful this year. I hope this time we start with a good pace right from the start of the season and keep it up all the way to the victorious end."
Meszároš says his injured wrist is improving, but not quite there yet.
"I hurt some of the tendon and muscle in the wrist. I had a plate there for a week and a special brace for another six weeks. I had the wrist treated with a physiotherapist in the summer. It’s still healing and it seems to be improving, but I can’t use it 100% yet at the on-ice workouts. It should be fine eventually, perhaps by training camp."
As training camp nears, the thought of getting to play with Czech legend Jaromir Jagr is also starting to sound better and better.
"I’ve always liked him. You know, the first book I ever read was actually about Jagr."
"It was quite the experience to get to play against him and now to be on the same team with him will be even greater. It’s certainly better to play with him than against him. When I was in Ottawa, he played for the New York Rangers. He’s got strong legs, he can hold on to the puck, pass and shoot perfectly. I’m convinced he still has something to offer and will strengthen the team. He was one of the biggest stars in Russia and also proved his worth at the World Championships."
After his first season with the Flyers, Meszároš is able to point out the main difference between playing hockey in Philadelphia and Tampa.
"There are very passionate fans in Philadelphia. When we lose we get booed and they want us to play better. When you see and hear that, it motivates you. Philadelphia is a sports town. They eat and breath their sports."
While Ian Laperrière is still under contract with the Flyers, Meszároš says he was offered his usual #14 this summer after having to switch to #41 last season. But there's not going to be another number switch.
"Now #14 is available again and they wanted to give it to me, but I declined. I played well with #41, so why change it."