|Jaromir Jagr wanted to sign with Canadiens in offseason||04.05.13 at 1:29 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Jaromir Jagr is a Bruin, but if he had it his way over the summer, he would be a Canadien.
The 41-year-old has been all smiles since being traded from Dallas to Boston this week, but the 12-time All-Star actually wanted to sign with Montreal in the offseason. The Habs were Jagr’s top choice after his one-year contract with the Flyers expired, but when the Canadiens didn’t reciprocate the interest, he took a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Stars.
“I had never played in Canada, so I would like to try it,” Jagr said after Friday’s practice. “The [Canadiens] went in a different direction, so that’s OK. I feel like Canada lives more for hockey, so I wanted to try it at the end of my career, how it is to play in Canada.”
Jagr’s path has instead brought him to Boston, where he finds himself on the other side of the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry. He’ll get his first taste of it Saturday night in Montreal, where he figures to get a different reception than the ovation he got on his first shift Thursday. Canadiens fans, who are perhaps the most passionate in hockey, routinely boo other team’s star players, but Jagr said that at his age he shouldn’t even qualify for the type of treatment Zdeno Chara, among others, gets.
“Hey, I’m not a star anymore, so I don’t really care,” Jagr said with a laugh. “Zee is the best defenseman. He’s a star. It’s going to be a lot worse in Pittsburgh, trust me.”
The Bruins don’t play in Pittsburgh again this season, so the only way Jagr could revisit his old stomping grounds, which he eventually spurned when he signed with the Flyers upon returning to the NHL in 2011, is in the playoffs. He ties in quite interestingly to a budding rivalry between two of the East’s top teams, as the failed acquisition of Jarome Iginla in Boston (Iginla wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause for Boston, forcing the Flames to trade him to Pittsburgh) led to the Bruins swinging a deal for Jagr.
“I was reading it like everybody else,” Jagr said of the Iginla-to-Boston fiasco. “I went on the Internet and I saw the first headline was Iginla going to Boston. I didn’t follow it after that. The next day, I find out it didn’t [happen]. Sometimes, that’s what happens. Hey, you cannot trust anybody in this business. You never know. I learned that.”
For now, Jagr doesn’t need to worry about the Penguins — at least until April 19, when the B’s host Iginla’s squad at TD Garden. Even with experience on both sides of a great rivalry between the Penguins and Flyers, Jagr says he doesn’t know what to expect on being a part of the Boston-Montreal rivalry. What he does know is that the Bruins can take over first place in the Northeast Division with a win over the Habs, as Montreal has 53 points to Boston’s 52 with one more game played.
Jagr noted the intensity of Thursday’s 1-0 win over the Devils, as the Devils are pushing for a spot in the playoff picture. If he thought that was impressive, he should be floored by what he sees Saturday in Montreal.
“Every game is going to be like a playoff game. We found that out yesterday. Every point is so important, and it’s even more important for the teams who are fighting for the playoffs, for the eighth or seventh spot,” he said. “For us, we want to be in first place. It’s going to be a huge game, and you want to get ready for the playoffs with games like that.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Jaromir Jagr ‘going to be a very effective player’ on B’s power play||at 12:23 pm ET|
NBC’s Pierre McGuire spoke with Mut & Merloni on Friday about Jaromir Jagr‘s role on the Boston power play, Tyler Seguin shifting to center, and what the Bruins need to do against the Canadiens on Saturday.
McGuire reminisced about his days working with a young Jagr in the Penguins organization, saying, “We had to kick him off the ice because he was such a workaholic. That’s how much he wanted to be great.”
The Bruins got their first look at Jagr on the power play on Thursday, and McGuire said he expects Jagr to be as much of a force low in the zone with the man advantage as he’s always been.
“That’s where Jaromir’s so good,” he said. “From the hash marks down to the icing line, just getting him to get the puck — he can spin and control, he can dish it off or he can take it to the net. So, when he has that kind of multiple-weapon attack from that area, it opens up the one-timer for [Zdeno] Chara. It opens up the back door for potentially Tyler Seguin. It opens up getting the puck to other areas on the ice, maybe for Nathan Horton. So again, where he’s posted right now, he’s going to be a very effective player playing down there. He always has been.”
To beat the Canadiens, McGuire said, the Bruins have to shut down P.K. Subban the same way opposing teams targeted Ray Bourque during his time in Boston.
“The biggest thing is you have to identify certain players,” McGuire said. “Whenever Raymond Bourque was on the ice we had a Ray Bourque rule. You had to hit him every time he was on the ice, and as you skated by him, you had to hit him in the hands with your stick. Our guys lived by it for two straight years and it paid huge dividends for us. ‘¦ It’s the same thing with Subban. Their power play’s effective, yes, because [Andrei] Markov‘s good, but Subban’s got that overwhelming shot and the ability to distribute, and he’s a breakout player, and he’s a trap-breaker. So if you’re giving that guy free minutes, he’s going to eat you up. You’ve got to punish that guy.”
|Jaromir Jagr his own worst critic after Bruins debut||04.04.13 at 10:23 pm ET|
Jaromir Jagr scored the Bruins’ only goal in his debut with the team Thursday night, but after the game was surprisingly critical of his performance.
Jagr, 41, said he was “so tired” and that he struggled in a “tough” first showing for Boston. He skated on the second line with Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand, whom he said he apologized to for his performance (19:12 of ice time, an entire power play and five shots on goal and his 15th goal of the season).
“I told them I’ve got to get better. I felt bad for them that they have to play with me,” he said. “I’ve got to get better, that’s for sure.”
When asked to explain what he meant by tired — whether it was exhaustion in the game or being tired from the last two days since being traded from the Stars — Jagr said it was a combination of things and that he had difficulty sleeping Wednesday.
“I don’t know. Maybe the stress a little bit, and just surprised that I got traded and then I had to pack and get ready,” he said. “I didn’t sleep very well last night. I slept only two hours, I don’t know why. It just hits you. I have to go and sleep and it’s going to get better.”
Jagr scored the only goal of the game Thursday when he drove to the net and Marchand bounced a pass off Jagr’s left skate and past Martin Brodeur.
“I think that was the first time I scored with my leg,” Jagr said. “When I was 25, I wouldn’t like that goal. At 41, I’ll take anything right now.”
The veteran right wing did say that after his first day with the team, he is confident that he will be better and more comfortable as he gains more experience in the Bruins system and with his teammates.
“You guys have to understand, we had a morning skate,” he said. “This league is too good to just [show up and be comfortable]. This is not an All-Star [game in which] guys meet to just play one game. This is very tough. You’re playing against a team that’s fighting for the playoffs. It’s not easy to just go there. I don’t know these guys. They don’t know me, how I play. We had some chances, but I believe it’s just going to get better and better.”
|Jaromir Jagr scores as Tuukka Rask blanks Devils||at 9:27 pm ET|
Jaromir Jagr got plenty of attention, but it was Tuukka Rask who stole the show Thursday at TD Garden in a 1-0 Bruins win over the Devils.
Jagr, who was acquired by the B’s on Tuesday, scored the only goal in his Bruins debut, but it was Rask’s 40-save shutout performance that kept the Bruins in it. The win improved the Bruins to 24-8-4 on the season with 52 points through 36 games.
Up next for the Bruins is a meeting with the Canadiens in Montreal. Here’s what went for the B’s in the Thursday night win.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Well, Jagr was able to match Lane MacDermid‘s pace (MacDermid scored in his Stars debut Wednesday).
The 41-year-old definitely looked like he was still getting a feel for his linemates, as his goal actually came as the result of the second pass he failed to connect on with Brad Marchand. Jagr, perhaps mistaking the speedy Marchand for a very speedy Marchand, sent the puck just out of the left wing’s reach. Marchand caught up to and sent a centering pass in front, with the puck going off Jagr’s skate and in.
– Speaking of Jagr, the Bruins obviously brought him in with the idea that he’d help the power play, but how about this? Jagr played the entire two minutes of the Bruins’ second-period power play. Jagr played on both units, first with Tyler Seguin, Marchand and Nathan Horton up front with Zdeno Chara at the point, and then with David Krejci, Rich Peverley and Milan Lucic in front with Dougie Hamilton at the point. The B’s didn’t score on the man advantage, though it was a better showing with a few quality chances.
– Rask was definitely the Bruins’ top performer, as he turned in an exceptional performance behind some rather shaky defense. Rask’s finest work came in the first period, when he made a kick save on Alexei Ponikarovsky and followed it by stuffing David Clarkson on the rebound with his right pad.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– It wasn’t quite the 47 shots allowed Tuesday against the Senators, but the Bruins allowed 40 shots on goal Thursday. They’ve now given up 87 shots on goal over the last two games, though the opponents have combined for just two goals, both of which were scored by the Senators.
– Seguin, who centered the second line in Patrice Bergeron‘s absence, looked like a wing trying to get comfortable playing a different position. It’s too soon to say he isn’t a fit for the job, but Seguin rightfully looked like he was adjusting after spending the entire season to this point at right wing.
Seguin went 0-for-3 on draws in first period and 2-for-5 in the second, which certainly was a far cry from the standard Bergeron has set by leading the league in faceoff efficiency. Claude Julien had Rich Peverley take draws in the defensive zone for Seguin early on, though Seguin was trusted with the responsibility in the second period and won a draw. Seguin finished the night 3-for-12 on faceoffs.
Jaromir Jagr was the main attraction but Tuukka Rask stole the show.
Rask turned aside all 40 shots while Jagr scored the only goal in his Boston debut as the Bruins edged the New Jersey Devils, 1-0, Thursday night at TD Garden. The win was an important one for the Bruins, who improve to 24-8-4. Boston has 52 points and kept pace with first-place Montreal in Northeast Division. The Bruins trail the Canadiens by just one point heading into another showdown north of the border Saturday night.
Jagr finished with a team-leading five shots in 19 shifts, which including 19 minutes, 12 seconds of ice time. He also had one hit, one blocked shots and one giveaway in his first game with the Bruins since being acquired from Dallas on Tuesday. One game after allowing 47 shots on net in a 3-2 win over Ottawa, the Bruins allowed the Devils to fire 40 shots.
Fans were ready for the debut of Jagr early on Thursday night at the Garden. As he took the ice for the pre-game skate, fans cheered him, the last Bruin to take the ice for warmups.
Jagr’s debut included a standing ovation in his first shift, the third overall of the game for the Bruins. As was the case in the morning skate, Tyler Seguin centered Jagr’s line with Jagr on the right wing and Brad Marchand on the left.
His first period was active, if not productive. He was on the ice for six shifts, totaling five minutes, 58 seconds. He had two shots and a blocked shot but the game was scoreless after 20 minutes. The Devils, after getting outplayed in the first four minutes of the game, dominated the final 15 minutes, outshooting the Bruins, 17-6, for the period.
While all eyes were on No. 68 every time he stepped on the ice, Rask was the bigger story as he made big save after big save, including a pair of back-to-back right pad saves on Alexei Ponikarovsky and David Clarkson from the low slot midway through the period. Minutes later, Rask turned away Adam Henrique on blocker save.
The Bruins and Jagr finally broke through in the second period as a centering pass from Marchand ricocheted off Jagr’s left skate and through the five-hole of Martin Brodeur just 80 seconds into the period for a 1-0 Boston lead. It was the 640th goal of Jagr’s career and 18th against Brodeur in 64 career meetings.
Six minutes later, the Bruins and their fans got a good look at another reason why management went out and acquired the 41-year-old veteran. When David Clarkson took an interference penalty, Jagr was placed on the power play for the full two minutes. He was stopped by Brodeur in close on a backhander and spent a majority of the time behind the net, though he did have one giveaway on the man advantage. Jagr was on the first power play unit with Zdeno Chara, Nathan Horton, Marchand and Seguin.
The Bruins applied serious pressure in the final two minutes of the second but Brodeur turned away Gregory Campbell and Marchand to keep it a one-goal game.
Rask kept up the sterling play in the third, highlighted by another big pad save on Andy Greene with just under eight minutes left in regulation. Greene broke through the Bruins defense and had a clean look but Rask stopped the wrister in close.
The Bruins are off Friday before leaving for a Saturday night date with the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal. For complete coverage of Jagr’s debut from the Garden from DJ Bean and Mike Petraglia, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
|Chris Kelly days away from returning to Bruins lineup||at 12:40 pm ET|
Chris Kelly skated for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday as he nears a return from a broken tibia suffered on March 11 against the Senators, but Thursday marked the first time he skated with his teammates.
Kelly participated fully in the Bruins’ morning skate, and though he will not play Thursday against the Devils, Claude Julien said that his return to the lineup is right around the corner.
“I think it’s just a matter of probably days now vs. a week that hopefully he’ll be back,” Julien said.
The coach added that Kelly will travel with the team to Montreal this weekend for Saturday’s game, though it’s too early to tell whether Kelly will actually play vs. the Habs.
Though Kelly is itching to get back on the ice (this is the longest he’s been out with an injury in his NHL career), he isn’t getting too far ahead of himself when it comes to jumping back in the lineup.
“It’s just about how I feel. If I feel good, I do a little bit more the next day,” he said. “If I don’t feel as good, maybe don’t push it as much. One step at a time. Today was my first day with the guys, and it was just a morning skate. Maybe if we practice tomorrow, I’ll get to skate a little longer with them and maybe do a little more.”
Morning skates aren’t a very physical affair, as the half hour is used for skating, line rushes, and other work such as special teams and face-offs. The next step in Kelly’s recovery would appear to be adding the physical aspect.
“I’m hoping not to get hit, to be honest,” he said with a laugh. “If they want to hit me, I guess that will be the next step.”
As for what he’s looking to get out of the final days before he gets back into games, Kelly said that it’s a combination of getting over the injury and getting his strength back.
“I think it’s a little bit of both. Conditioning is definitely a big part of it,” he said. “You don’t want to be fatigued and put yourself in a vulnerable position for other injuries. The fatigue aspect is definitely there. I need to work on that and just feel comfortable with the injury as well.”
When he does return, his line could look different. When he was injured, he was skating with Rich Peverley and Jordan Caron on the third line, but since then the Bruins have added Kaspars Daugavins and Jaromir Jagr, both of whom could eventually be in the third line mix. The B’s have also used Jay Pandolfo more on the third line (Pandolfo and Daugavins played on Peverley’s wings in Thursday’s morning skate).
Kelly’s line struggled mightily before he went down, and the third line has continued to underachieve. He doesn’t view his eventual return as a chance to bounce back with a new linemate or two, focusing instead on just playing when he can.
“I just want to be back. Whoever I play with will be great,” he said. “I know adding [Jagr] was great, and Daugavins as well. There are a few new faces, but whoever I play with will be great with me.”
|Jaromir Jagr couldn’t be happier to be with Bruins: ‘At the end, it’s going to be great’||at 12:21 pm ET|
New Bruins superstar Jaromir Jagr, acquired in a Tuesday trade with the Stars, says he’s not a young kid anymore but he’s very happy to be with the Bruins.
At 41, Jagr figures to re-energize a team that again has aspirations of lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup in June.
So, it’s no surprise to find Jagr hasn’t given serious thought to retirement.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I love to play. If I feel healthy and I feel like I can play on some kind of good level, I want to keep playing, if I can get an opportunity to play. I’m not going to saying anything [like] I’m retiring because I’m not ready for it. I love the game too much, so if I’m not good for the NHL, I’m going to go and play in the Czech League or somewhere else but I still love the game and like everybody else, if you love something, you just don’t want to let it go. You hold it ’til you can.”
Is there enough left in the tank?
“I believe where there is love there is no time,” Jagr said with a smile.
“I [don’t have] a no-trade clause so I guess wherever Dallas got the best opportunity, they took it. But I’m happy about it. You don’t ask questions, you just go to play. Through my whole hockey career, I was pretty lucky to play where it was always good for me. I know it’s going to be good, maybe not from the start but at the end, it’s going to be great.”
Jagr feels like Boston is similar to Philadelphia in 2012, a team that was a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Jagr helped the Flyers beat the Penguins in the first round before losing to the Devils in the Eastern semifinals.
“I’ve changed so I kind of like it,” Jagr said. “I don’t mind it at all. I was in the same situation in Philadelphia last year. I was so happy when I see the other guys play with me, my teammates, doing so good. When they did interviews [in Philadelphia], they said, ‘Jagr helped us.’ So, that’s what makes me also happy, not just scoring goals but he can help. I know I can help. There’s a lot of young guys. I’ve learned a lot of stuff through my hockey career. I played for 23 years and I’ve played with so many great players and I’ve learned so much stuff.
“You can always learn. No matter how old you are, you can always learn. If someone thinks they know everything when he’s 25, he’s lying to himself or he’s dumb. So, you can always learn and I’m here to teach the guys and tell them what I have to go through and make their hockey life easier.”
For more, visit the Bruins team page at weei.com/bruins.
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