Bruins excited about addition of Jagr

Bruins excited about addition of Jagr
April 3, 2013, 1:30 am
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Jaromir Jagr isn’t yet in Boston, and isn’t expected to arrive until sometime on Wednesday while flying from Dallas.

But the presence of Jagr was seemingly already there in the Bruins dressing room after Tuesday night’s 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden after the Bruins nabbed him in a pre-deadline trade with the Dallas Stars. The 41-year-old Jagr is the active leader among NHL players with 1,679 career points, which puts him comfortably above Teemu Selanne by a solid 250 points and sits him only 44 points behind former teammate Mario Lemieux for seventh all-time among NHL scorers.

That kind of cachet leaves an impression with a group of established Stanley Cup champs, even if the 1990’s mullet of his heyday has been toned down to something that looks more like North Shore hockey dad. Milan Lucic’s uncle, Dan Kesa, actually played with Jagr for the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 1998 and had a picture going around on Twitter that he’d taken with Jagr – along with his two brothers – when he was just 10 years old.

So it’s pretty mind blowing a young elementary school kid grinning widely in a picture of Jagr during his big-haired prime is now preparing to become his teammate – and perhaps even his linemate if Jagr is put on a line with David Krejci and Lucic.

“I was 10 years old in that picture back when I was a lot better looking than I am right now,” joked a smiling Lucic. “My uncle played on the Penguins, and when they played the Canucks I had a chance to go down in the dressing room and meet him. That was obviously back when he was in his absolute prime.

“For me and my brothers, for us as kids, it was pretty awesome to meet a guy like him. It’s the same feeling today when you hear the news that you get to play with a legend like him. It’s definitely going to be a great addition to our team. I think Claude [Julien] said it best when he said we’re not looking for him to be the savior. We’re looking for him to add onto this team, and hopefully make us better.”

Lucic said that his uncle Dan was also present for the Stanley Cup banner raising last season when Jagr was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers on Opening Night, and his uncle was able to renew acquaintances with Jagr. But that’s probably as close as member of the Black and Gold is to Jagr in the personal relationship category.

David Krejci skated with Jagr on the 2010 Czech Republic Olympic hockey team, and doesn’t remember much beyond “the tournament being a really quick one.” That seems curious given that Krejci idolized Jagr while growing up in the Czech Republic, and had posters on his wall while one day dreaming of being in the NHL just like his hockey hero.

The 26-year-old playmaking pivot didn’t pull any punches when asked specific questions by the Bruins front office about Jagr before they agreed to the deal.

So what exactly did Krejci tell the B’s front office on Tuesday as they were waiting to pull the trigger with Dallas?

“Just some ‘bad’ things [jokingly laughs]. Obviously he’s a great player. We all know what he can do so we didn’t have to talk about his skills and his game,” said Krejci. “We talk about what kind of guy he is and stuff so kind of gave [Peter Chiarelli] feedback. But I also told him that I don’t know him much. I played with him one tournament, it was a quick tournament

“I am excited, obviously. He’s a big name, especially back home. I never really thought I would have a chance to play with him on a real team other than [the Czech Olympic] team so it’s pretty cool. I’m looking forward to it.”

Chara didn’t characterize his conversation with Chiarelli and Claude Julien about Jagr, but lauded the vagabond goal-scorer for his ability to still dominate players half his age when the mood strikes him.

“If he wants to be, he’s still a dominant player. What he gained as a young man working extremely hard, he still has it, and he still works extremely hard,” said Chara. “It’s not like he’s just playing only one style. From what I’ve heard and talked to other people, he still works extremely hard on his game.

“He still wants to win and he wants to be as best as he can be, so when you have a player with his talent working hard usually good things happen.”

The theme here is that it’s not just about past greatness when it comes to Jagr coming to Boston after the Bruins missed out on Brenden Morrow and Jarome Iginla in past trade talks. He would share the team lead in goals scored with 14 and would far and away be the B’s leader with six power play goals on the season. Jagr will help the Bruins across the board in their areas of offensive need, and he could also teach some of the younger guys how to cultivate the meanest mullet in the history of the NHL.

It remains to be seen whether Jagr can help lead the Bruins to a deep playoff run or another Stanley Cup championship, but they did the best they absolutely could in advance of the trade deadline once Iginla had the carpet swept out from underneath.