WILMINGTON -- Jaromir Jagr had a wide smile on his face when he was asked about the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry, and whether he was looking forward to participating in it.
The hirsute right wing is no stranger to hate games on the ice, of course, after taking part in so many Penguins/Flyers showdowns -- on both sides of the rivalry -- over the years. That doesn’t even mention the 180 career Stanley Cup playoff games on his resume.
But it appears word of the Zdeno Chara/Max Pacioretty incident traveled as far as the KHL, which is where Jagr was playing when it happened, because it was the first thing that popped on the Czech Republic star’s radar when asked about Saturday night’s game at the Bell Centre for first place in the Northeast Division.
“I know something happened when Zee hit that guy from Montreal, and since then things have turned around,” said Jagr, who has 15 goals -- including six power-play strikes -- this season between Boston and Dallas. “I was reading about it. But I’ll have to see it for myself and then tell you about it after the game.”
Jagr had a splendid debut while scoring a goal in his Black-and-Gold debut on Thursday night, and led the Bruins with five shots on net while showing off the trademark passes and ability to carve out position in the offensive zone with his large frame. He’ll endear himself even more to the B’s fan base if he can come through with a top-drawer performance against the hated Habs in Montreal and help the Bruins get sole share of first place in the division for the first time in months.
Jagr is clearly excited to have gone from a Dallas organization that was simply battling just to get into the playoffs to a Boston club that’s battling for first place and a spot in the top two in the Eastern Conference. But it’s not close to his first rodeo in 18 NHL seasons, and he’s taking the even-keeled approach to this weekend.
“I don’t like to be too high or too low." he said. "I don’t think it’s going to help my game. I just want to control myself when I’m out there, and control my game.
"But you can’t do that for everybody," he added with a laugh. "Some guys love it and some guys don’t like it.”
Jagr asked about what kind of reception he’s expecting at the Bell Centre, and his response was perfect.
“I’m not starting anymore, so I don’t have to worry about it,” said Jagr. “I don’t care.”
Just as it was great hockey theatre watching the graceful Jagr go through the paces with linemates Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin on Thursday night in Boston against the New Jersey, it should be doubly so as the legendary Jagr puts another classic hockey experience on his resume when he suits up in Black and Gold to face the angry masses in Montreal.