COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Flyers' Steve Mason, R. J. Umberger, and Jake Voracek had different reactions to returning to Columbus, the city where their careers either started or blossomed.
Mason, who on Tuesday played his first game in Columbus since the Flyers acquired him late in the 2011-12 season, said he was past being a member of the Blue Jackets. Voracek, with the Flyers since the start of the 2011-12 season, said his Columbus days were ancient history.
Umberger, however, said it would be emotional when he skated onto the ice where he became a Columbus fixture - he is second in franchise history in goals (120) and third in points (250). Last June, he was acquired with a 2015 fourth-round draft pick for Scott Hartnell.
"It's exciting to come back here. I have so many great memories in this building," he said before the game. "I love Columbus. I love the fans; they've been so good. . . . To have some of those memories come back to you, you just enjoy the moment."
During a first-period stoppage, the winger received a nice ovation as a "Welcome Back R.J. Umberger" video was shown on the scoreboard.
Umberger, 32, entered the night with just four points, but he played well during the three-game West Coast trip that ended Saturday with a 2-1 win in Los Angeles.
"The last two or three games have definitely been my best of the year. I'm feeling like myself, and the confidence is rising," said Umberger, who ended a 17-game point drought with a goal in Anaheim last Wednesday. "I'm excited to continue it and build off of it."
Umberger said it took him a while to understand his role with the Flyers.
Umberger said he has to be a player who "can play up and down the lineup. There's going to be nights where I'm going to get power-play minutes, and there's going to be a lot of nights where I'm not. There are going to be nights where I play 14 or 15 [minutes], and sometimes I play 10. I've got to be ready to go every night. Penalty killing has to be one of the things I take a lot of pride in."
Coach Craig Berube said Umberger has been a good role player lately; he has also been on the second power-play unit.