Jagr: "Hopefully I Can Help Them to Another Cup"
BOSTON, MA - Welcome to Boston, Jaromir Jagr.
When Jagr sat in the locker room Thursday morning in his stall, before his debut in the spoked-B, next to Nathan Horton and just a couple down from Tyler Seguin, prior to suiting up for morning skate, he took a look around at his new teammates and smiled.
After the initial shock of being traded for the first time in his career from Dallas to Boston had worn off, he was excited to come to Boston and join a room full of Stanley Cup champions.
"I was shocked, no question about it. But I understood, I'm going to a good team," Jagr said on the sequence of events. "They won the Stanley Cup two years ago."
The future Hall of Famer and two-time Stanley Cup champion took another look around, gesturing at his teammates as they taped their sticks, laced their skates and made preparations before pregame skate.
"They didn't make any changes - so the team looks kind of the same. Hopefully, I can help them to another Cup."
When Jagr addressed Boston media for the first time, he talked again about the "great team" he had arrived to.
"I found out it’s a lot of great guys, a lot of humor so they make it easy for me," he said.
During morning skate, Jagr took rushes with Tyler Seguin as his center and Brad Marchand on the left wing, skated 2-on-1 drills showing glimpses of chemistry with Brad Marchand, and was integrated into the B's power-play. That humor must have showed glimpses as well, as Jagr and Horton shared a conversation inside the faceoff circle right before the work on the man-advantage, which ended with the pair sharing a laugh and No. 68 giving No. 18 a stick tap.
Of course, there are also familiar faces for Jagr, whether it be Andrew Ference, who he played with in Pittsburgh, Zdeno Chara, his neighbor overseas, or David Krejci, who he played on the 2010 Olympic team with for his native Czech Republic.
"We love each other and I've had to face him for the last 15 years, every time I was on the ice, he was on the ice, so I’m very happy I’m on his side right now," Jagr joked about Zee.
"Krejci, he’s from the same country. Some guys play in Czech on this team, so they speak little bit of Czech but on the other side it’s not going to be a problem."
Jagr also talked about his willingness to help younger players and share his experiences.
"You can always learn and I am here to teach the guys and tell them what I've had to go through, and hopefully it will make their hockey life easier."
And on a puck-possession team like the Bruins, Coach Julien knows it won't just be his words of wisdom that will help the Black & Gold - it's his ability to protect the puck.
"This is a guy that can certainly help our hockey club in many different ways," said Coach. "He’s a guy that can certainly make plays, he’s a big guy – we talked about that – he protects the puck so well, strong on his stick, heavy stick. As you know, the power play is another area that he can certainly fit in."
"There’s so much I think he can bring and with our club, the way we play, there’s no doubt he will blend in very well."
Having played professional hockey, in the NHL and overseas, for more than 20 years, Jagr knows he's not the same player he once was - but his drive has not changed.
"Well, of course I wish I could do that but I’m not 25 anymore, that’s the one thing. Another thing, I don’t think this team really needs it," said Jagr, when asked how he was looking to make an impact on the Bruins.
"They won the Cup two years ago and when you look at the top guys, they’re still here so they know they can do that. For me personally I wish I could somehow help the team to produce better and not play bad."
"Don’t take it wrong, I like to score but there’s more important things for me, the whole picture as a team and to win as a team. I think in that kind of way, I changed a lot."
Whether 25 or 41, Jagr's work ethic has been second to none throughout his career, something he's prided himself on since he started in the league in 1990 - and something that makes me think of the quote Coach Julien has on the wall in the locker room at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington: "Some people dream of success. Others wake up every day and work hard at it."
"I always believe if you don't work, you can't compete against the best and you cannot play," said Jagr. "I always liked to do a little extra when I was younger, I just didn't talk about it or nobody knew, now everybody starts wondering why I do that. Without extra work, it's tough to compete in this league."
And for the ageless Jagr, as long as he can play, he's not hanging up the skates anytime soon.
"I love the game too much," he said. "Like everybody else, if you love something you just don’t want to let it go, you hold it until you can’t."