I really just never thought I’d see the day when Jaromir Jagr was in a Boston Bruins uniform.
Whether it be the size of his contract or his reputation as a selfish player, I just never fathomed a situation in which Jagr ended up in the Spoked-B. But in this crazy, lockout-shortened NHL season he has and I couldn’t be happier with what I’ve seen from the legend.
Jagr has been nothing short of spectacular so far in his brief stint with Boston. In 10 games for the Bruins the 41-year old right winger has 2-7-9 totals, while averaging about 18-minutes of ice time a game and he is a +3. Jagr is a big body and he knows how to use every inch of it to his advantage.
Standing at six-foot three and weighing a solid two-hundred and forty pounds, Jagr is combination of size and skill not often see in hockey, it makes him a handful for any opposing forward or defenseman to handle. Check out him on the forecheck forcing the turnover before going top-shelf on Florida Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom:
In his “old-age” however, Jagr no longer just relies on pure talent or physical ability. He’s smart and has become a crafty veteran, so when you combine that with everything else, you get one heck of a hockey player, even if that player is old enough to be my father and maybe some Bruins’ fans grandfather.
I also haven’t seen any negatives with Jagr, yet anyway. He appears to be happy and motivated, two things he desperately needs in order to be effective on and off the ice. He even appears to be embracing the role of veteran and is constantly talking to his teammates on the bench or on the ice, what he’s saying exactly I don’t know but the other Bruins players always appear to be listening intently. One Bruin who has definitely benefitted from Jagr’s presence is fellow newcomer Carl Soderberg.
Soderberg finally made the jump from the Swedish Elite League to the NHL this year and Bruins head coach Claude Julien immediately put him on a line with Jagr. Considering Jagr is one of the greatest European players of all-time and someone who bounces back and forth between Europe and North America, he knows how to adjust to the NHL and has the ability to make those around him better. Seems like a pretty easy decision Julien made there.
Whatever Jagr is doing or saying, it’s working because Soderberg has looked better and better every game as his confidence continues to grow (playing with a future Hall of Famer has its perks). He now has 0-2-2 totals in 3 games and Soderberg’s first career point was actually an assist on a Jagr goal, coincidence?
Even with Jagr playing at such a high level and dropping knowledge on the Bruins, the team has still stumbled and is a shaky 1-3-1 in their last 5 games. Hopefully the rest of the team can find their rhythm and start to keep pace with Jagr, because right now he’s making all of them look old and tired.