Claude Julien: Jaromir Jagr is ‘coming to help us, he’s not coming to save us’
|04.02.13 at 11:15 pm ET|
Clearly, the Bruins felt a positive buzz from the acquisition earlier in the day of Czech superstar and future hockey hall of famer Jaromir Jagr. The Bruins went out, fired 50 shots on net and beat the Senators, 3-2, at TD Garden.
But Bruins coach Claude Julien made it very clear that he’s not expecting the 41-year-old player to save the Bruins, just help them, much in the same way Mark Recchi helped Boston to a Stanley Cup in 2011.
“Well, there’s no doubt he’s going to help us,” Julien said. “And I think that’s the key word, he’s coming to help us, he’s not coming to save us. That’s what people have to understand. He’s a great player, and he still is a great player, but at the same time, if we expect to watch him do the work we’re not going to be going anywhere.
“We need our team to play better and he’s certainly going to help our team be better. I like the acquisition ‘ a big strong guy, he’s hard to knock off the puck around the net area, in the corner; he does a great job. To me, he seems to suit our needs and what we’re all about. Again, I know he’s happy to come here and we’ll certainly be happy to have him in our lineup because he’s going to help in a lot of areas.”
As for those comparisons between Recchi and Jagr?
“He’s a guy with experience,” Julien said. “You know, the thing is, you hear a lot of gossip out there, and a lot of times half of it is BS. So I think we have to give this guy a chance. I know that I like everything about him, and I also am one of those guys that knows some of the things he likes to do and respects some of those things. In Philadelphia, you can talk to players about how good he was for the young kids and really set a good example. So those are things that should be helpful for us as well. So he’s a veteran, he wants to win another cup, and he’s always been a true professional so we don’t expect him to be any different with us, and I have a feeling that he’ll fit in really well with our group.”
There is the reputation that Jagr has had his run-ins with head coaches of other teams he’s been on before, like in Washington and New York, with the Capitals and Rangers, respectively.
“You’ve been in our dressing room, right? There’s a lot of different personalties and there has been some different personalities and it’s never been an issue before,” Julien said. “I haven’t really had a chance to spend much time with Jags, so I’m not going to comment on that because I’ll take the time to get to know him. You learn to deal with different personalties, that’s what this game is all about nowadays, and trying to deal with those personalties. I think our team, our players, have done a good job in letting everybody in, and as a coach I’ve always tried to work on their strengths and learn to get to know them for what they are.”
The presumption is that Jagr will take Nathan Horton’s spot on the first line and add a lot of punch to the Bruins punchless power play.
“I think he can score on the power play, too,” Julien said. “And you know, he’s got that great shot, he’s good on the half wall and stuff like that, but he brings more than just that. That’s one of his strengths, but as I said earlier there are a lot of things he can help us improve on. Power play will be one of those, but more than that 5-on-5 where he excels in the areas we try to pride ourselves on.”
So which line will Jagr wind up on?
“My thinking was, was to say nothing tonight and let you guys figure it out and you can right all the line combinations [Wednesday],” Julien said, knowing the Bruins have Wednesday’s trade deadline day off from media availability. “Maybe I’ll look at some of those, maybe some of you guys will be winners.”
Safe to say, the Bruins already consider themselves winners in the category of recovering from the Jarome Iginla debacle.