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A hockey life: Older, wiser Jaromir Jagr continues to live his dream 05.28.13 at 11:15 am ET
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Jaromir Jagr will try to help the Bruins knock off his original team, the Penguins, and advance to the Stanley Cup finals. (AP)

Hours after the Bruins’ 5-2 victory over the Rangers last Sunday, the TD Garden sat still and empty.

The boisterous crowd had long since departed after Boston took care of business, holding serve on home ice, supplying the team with a 2-0 series lead in its Stanley Cup playoff conference semifinal series. The players and coaches trickled steadily out of the building, the janitorial crew had finished cleaning. Hours after the final whistle, Jaromir Jagr returned, alone, to the ice.

“Hockey is who he is,” said Mark Recchi, Jagr’s former Penguins teammate. Last seen in a Bruins sweater hoisting the Stanley Cup, Recchi now is a hockey operations advisor with the Stars, the team that dealt Jagr to the Bruins. “That’s his life. He’s passionate about it, he works hard at it, and he still wants to be a great player. He does whatever it takes to stay at that level.”

In front of 17,565 empty golden seats, the 41-year-old Jagr skated. Using every inch of his 6-foot-3, 240 pound frame, the forward from Kladno pushed himself, feeling the burn in his thickly muscled thighs. Living over 3,900 miles from his family in the Czech Republic, Jagr needed to be back on the ice, back home. The man with such phenomenal balance on skates then skated some more.

“This is playoffs,” reminded Jagr. “Any player will find out. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the first, second line or third. It’s tight checking. It’s harder to score.”

Jagr began his NHL career with the Penguins but now is looking to end Pittsburgh’s season. His playoff resume includes 78 playoff goals, though none have come recently. Amidst the longest scoring drought of his career, Jagr has not scored in 21 consecutive playoff games (his last playoff goal came against the Penguins in 2012). Though he has accumulated 193 playoff points over the course of his career, Jagr has registered just four points in 12 games during the Bruins’ 2013 postseason run.

“It’s harder to score for me, and it’s harder to score for anybody else,” he said. “Unless you the best player in the world.”

Jagr would know better than most, considering, once upon a time, he was the best in the world.

Just like Jagr can’t fathom the idea of leaving the rink after a game (he is on record stating his desire for the NHL to begin playing doubleheaders), the concept of life without hockey is far removed from his mind. The offensive dervish entered the National Hockey League at the age of 18. Since then, every imaginable part of his life — and the world — has changed. His identity as a hockey player has evolved over the past 23 years, but his profession remains unchanged. Jaromir Jagr, all these years later, is still a hockey player.

“I don’t think he’ll ever change,” said Craig Patrick, general manager of the Penguins from 1989-2006. “He was built this way.”

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Brad Marchand gets ‘the monkey off the back’ and Bruins get a win 05.17.13 at 12:39 am ET
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Brad Marchand scores the game-winning goal in overtime Thursday night. (AP)

Much was made of Tyler Seguin not scoring a goal in the seven-game series against the Leafs, and for good reason. After all, if the Bruins figure to go deep in the playoffs, they will eventually need one of their better players to get going offensively.

But the same could also be said of Brad Marchand, who also went goal-less in round No. 1.

He had three assists but no goals as the Bruins survived in seven games.

Marchand picked a great time to end his drought Thursday night against the Rangers.

Marchand took a perfect feed from Patrice Bergeron on an odd-man rush and beat Henrik Lundqvist at 15:40 of overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

“I think it might’ve been Z [Zdeno Chara] who had a nice poke check on the three-on-two there,” Marchand said. “And then Bergy did a really good job. I was able to get a little bit of space, he made a great pass, and I just put it in the open net.

“It felt great. We had a really good game tonight, and to be able to finish it off with a win is very big. We’re happy that we’re able to capitalize in these overtime games. They’re very tough games to be in, but we’re happy with the win tonight.”

It was obvious in overtime that the Bruins, thanks in part to a Rangers penalty, picked up valuable momentum due to their re-energized power play, which didn’t scored but put six shots on goal.

“Yeah, it’s a whole new series and we’re happy to play the Rangers,” Marchand said. “They’re a very good team and a very good battle. It’s nice to finally get one there and get the monkey off the back, and hopefully they keep coming.

“That’s usually how it goes in the playoffs. One team does very well in overtime and then the other team gets a lucky one. We hit so many posts and had so many very good opportunities. They were bound to get one. But, again, we’re very happy to get the win tonight.”

Marchand pointed to the six shots on the power play as the key to maintaining energy in the extra period.

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Peter Chiarelli: Bruins’ acquisition of Jaromir Jagr similar to that of Mark Recchi 04.02.13 at 6:41 pm ET
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Peter Chiarelli swung a deal for Jaromir Jagr Tuesday. (AP)

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli met with the media shortly before Tuesday night’s game against the Senators to discuss the team’s acquisition of Jaromir Jagr. The Bruins sent Lane MacDermid, the rights to 2012 fifth-rounder Cody Payne and a conditional second-round pick to the Stars in exchange for the 41-year-old.

“He’s a terrific player who’s won some Cups and has been a superstar player,” Chiarelli said. “I liken it a little to — and I told Jaromir this, too — the addition of Mark Recchi. You don’t have to be the guy, but you’re an important piece and you can band together with your teammates. You’ve got the experience, you’ve got a certain skillset, size or whatever you want to call it that will benefit the rest of the group. But really, you’ve won, you have experience and you want to win still. That was an important question and he was very receptive to that.”

Chiarelli said the Bruins had scouted Jagr since he returned to the NHL, but never pursued him in free agency over the last two years. They expressed interest in trading for Jagr earlier in the season, but didn’t know whether the Stars would make him available. Despite the uncertainty, Chiarelli said that the teams were able to put together “ground work” for a deal, which made it easy to complete after the Stars made it known Monday night that Jagr was available. The teams wrapped up the deal Tuesday morning.

This season, Jagr has 14 goals and 12 assists for 26 points. He figures to fit in on the right wing of either David Krejci’s line or the third line with Rich Peverley.

“I do know the options, but well have to see how he fits in,” he said. “Obviously there’s a need on the third line, but he’s got a higher line pedigree. What I said to Jaromir was that we pride ourselves on four strong lines. He’s an important part, but not the part to success, so he could be on the third. There are times when our fourth line has been our third line and vice versa, so it depends on who’s going, but we try to even it out, and he seemed very receptive to that.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Mark Recchi feels players should take what they can get now 11.13.12 at 3:01 pm ET
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Mark Recchi thinks the players should get back on the ice. (AP)

Retired NHL forward Mark Recchi, now a part owner of the Kamloops Blazers (WHL), told the Boston Globe that he feels the locked-out players should accept what the owners are offering and get back on the ice.

Recchi believes that the owners’ offers are only going to get worse over time, so he believes the players should take what they can get now.

“The longer they’re out, the revenues are going to go down and down,’’ Recchi said. “Corporate sponsors aren’t going to be lining up . . . so there goes that money. The schedule isn’t going to be 82 games, I don’t think, at this point. That’s more money lost. So, how are you going to get a better deal? Personally, I think the best time is now.’’

Recchi also said that regardless of how the deal looks for the players in the court of public opinion, the players should realize that these don’t end up as bad as they may look at first.

“The players always get their money,’’ he said. “They’re always going to get paid, no matter what. Look at that last deal. We ended up with the cap and everyone thought it was a bad deal. But it ended up great, right? No matter what the system is, or has been, the players get their money. No matter what the contract, the owners always find a way to pay them more. That’s why I say, get a deal and get back in there . . . the money’s always there.’’

Thus far, all NHL games through November, as well as the annual Winter Classic, have been cancelled due to the lack of a collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the NHL players association.

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Kevin Bieksa calls out ‘stupid’ Bruins after win, says Brad Marchand ‘has to live’ with loss 01.07.12 at 5:27 pm ET
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Kevin Bieksa is at it again. (AP)

Surprise, surprise. Kevin Bieksa is talking.

The outspoken Canucks defenseman called out the Bruins after the Canucks defeated the B’s, 4-3, Saturday at TD Garden. Both Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand were tossed from the game, and Bieksa offered his thoughts afterwards.

“We play hard, but we are a disciplined team,” Bieksa said. “That’s what separates us from them. They obviously play hard, but they tend to do stupid things. The Marchand hit was a pretty stupid thing and I’m sure he’ll be getting a phone call for that one. There is no reason for that. But we made them pay for that. We got to score two goals on that power play and that’s the game. He’s got to live with that.”

Bieksa has been outspoken against the Bruins since the two teams met in the Stanley Cup finals last season. The defenseman made fun of the Bruins for passing around Andrew Ference‘s jacket, saying the tradition was something that pee-wee teams do. He also responded to Mark Recchi calling the Canucks “arrogant” by saying the retired forward should “take a nap.”

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Mark Recchi says Andrew Ference, Chris Kelly are great options to get the ‘A’ 10.04.11 at 10:12 pm ET
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Amidst showing off his latest Stanley Cup ring, retired Bruins alternate captain Mark Recchi weighed in on who might end up getting his vacated letter. Here’s what he had to say:

“I would imagine it would be — obviously Andrew [Ference] would be a wonderful ‘A.’ I think Chris Kelly would be a wonderful ‘A.’ You could go [Rich] Peverley. They’ve got a lot [of candidates]. They’ve got a lot of great leadership in the room. They’re going to be all set.”

Ference seems to be the logical choice, but it’s interesting that Recchi, who is definitely an expert on team chemistry and leadership, included the other two in the conversation. Both Kelly and Peverley were acquired during the season last year, but the Bruins are no strangers to giving out the ‘A’ to a player after less than a year in the system. The last guy they did that with? Mark Recchi.

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Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder return to get rings at 9:59 pm ET
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The Stanley Cup champion Bruins got their rings Tuesday night at the Boston Harbor hotel, and all the players with the exception of Tomas Kaberle and Marc Savard were able to make it to the event. Owner Jeremy Jacobs gave the team a speech, after which the rings, which were delivered earlier in the day, were given to the players.

Boston Bruins/Babineau

Boston Bruins/Babineau

Boston Bruins/Babineau

For Mark Recchi, it is ring No. 3. He also won with the Penguins in 1991 and the Hurricanes in 2006.

“They’re all special in their own way, the Carolina one’s beautiful, Pittsburgh was ’91, it was a long time ago,” Recchi said. “They were beautiful rings, but what they did with this, the Jacobs family, hats off to them. They did an incredible job, and the way they treated the staff and all the people in the building, what they’ve done is an amazing thing.”

Said Milan Lucic: “It’s the last bit before it all starts again. You really want to take it all in as much as you can. It was great that everyone was able to get here together again. It was great that Recchi was able to come in and [Shane] Hnidy and Michael Ryder. It’s awesome. It definitely gives you a good feeling going into next year.”

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