This time last year, Jake Voracek was in his hotel room in Slovakia preparing for the world championships and hitting the refresh button on his Internet browser to follow the Stanley Cup playoffs.
This year, he’s still playing with countryman Jaromir Jagr, but not for the Czech Republic. He’s been a big factor in the Flyers’ playoff run — and he is much happier to be in North America instead of Stockholm, Sweden, where his fellow Czechs will face Norway today.
“The Stanley Cup playoffs is probably the best thing you can be a part of,” Voracek said. “I’m very happy this year that I have an opportunity to play in them.”
Before this year, Voracek had only played four playoff games. His Columbus Blue Jackets were swept by the Detroit Red Wings in 2009. He vowed this year would be different.
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“Since we made the playoffs, I was like, ‘OK, this new part of my hockey career is gonna be there,’” Voracek said. “I’m excited for it. Especially after we beat Pittsburgh, that was an exciting feeling. To win that first series, now we’re more and more hungry every game. You want it so bad, it’s unbelievable.”
Voracek has been one of the more consistent performers the Flyers have had in the postseason. In 10 games, he has two goals and eight assists. He had only one assist in his four playoff games as a Blue Jacket, but the three years in between have really allowed his game to mature.
Perhaps the best example of that was when the Flyers entrusted him with the opportunity to run the point on the first power-play unit.
“When they told me, I was pretty happy because you have the puck more and when you have a great quarterback like Kimmo [Timonen], it’s always a good thing,” Voracek said. “I’ve been playing it for the last 40 or 50 games, so we all know where every guy is going on the ice.”