BOSTON -- Jaromir Jagr stayed seated while he spoke with a larger-than-usual media contingent at Bruins morning skate, and joked that he wasn’t going to stand because he’s “getting old.”
Jagr's luminescent smile was there while talking about the excitement of joining the Bruins in the middle of the season, and his skill was obvious while working with his new teammates to find their sweet shooting spots during morning skate.
That’s exactly what he was doing with Nathan Horton toward the end of morning skate as he feathered passes from the half-wall to Horton in the face-off circle before he blasted away shots at the net.
The mullet wasn’t in its mid-1990’s glory, but Jagr still looks remarkably similar to the fresh-faced youngster when he was winning Stanley Cups with Mario Lemieux in Pittsburgh. Now he hopes to come full circle and help the Black and Gold win another Cup as a rental player brought in for his skill, his presence, and his ability to lift Boston’s power play out of the doldrums.
“It’s not easy, but I’m coming to a great team with some great guys . . . a lot of humor. I think they’re going to make it easy for me,” said Jagr. “I think it’s all going to take time. I didn’t come here to play in one game. I came here to play in many more games, so it’s going to take time to see what works best.
“I wish I could [make a big impact], but I’m not 25 years old anymore. I don’t think this team really needs that. They won the Cup two years ago. When you look at all of their top guys they’re still here. When you look at me I just want to come in here and help them produce a little more.”
It looks like he could have some kind of impact right away as he was skating on the right wing with Tyler Seguin centering him and Brad Marchand on the left side. In a way, Jagr will be stepping in for a concussed Patrice Bergeron, and immediately jump into a big spot in Boston’s lineup.
A guy that’s scored almost 1,700 career points and won Stanley Cups while playing elite professional hockey for over 20 years isn’t going to feel pressure at this point in his career. But he also freely admits that the Jagr pictured with a 10-year-old Milan Lucic in a photo widely dispersed after the trade is almost a different lifetime ago. He's in the twilight of a brilliant career and knows that one more Stanley Cup has as much meaning as the scoring titles he won during his NHL hirsute days with the Penguins and Capitals.
“I’ve been around a long time. The game has changed so I’ve had to change,” said Jagr. “I’m not the guy who wanted to score the most goals in the league or scored the most points in the league. Don’t get me wrong, I like to score. But there are more important things for me in the whole picture: to win as a team. In that kind of way I’ve changed a lot.”
Claude Julien had his ‘A’ comedy material when asked about the Jagr trade following Thursday’s skate in preparation for a Thursday night showdown with the New Jersey Devils.
“I asked [Jaromir Jagr] if it was really a done deal,” said Julien. “I think he’s a great addition. He’s a guy that can certainly help our hockey club in many different ways. He’s a guy that can certainly make plays and he’s a big guy. He protects the puck well and he’s strong on his stick . . . a very heavy stick.
“The power play is another area where he can certainly fit in. There’s so much that I think he can bring to our club and the way that we play. It’s no secret he’s been very good on the power play in his career, and hopefully he can start showcasing that tonight. There’s no doubt he’ll blend in very well.”
If mullet wigs and No. 68 Bruins Jagr jerseys start showing up in bunches in the TD Garden stands then he’ll be doing a lot more than simply blending into the Black and Gold scene. And if the future Hall of Fame forward takes the NHL’s 25th ranked power play and turns it into something dangerous headed into the Stanley Cup postseason, even better.
If Jagr does that with his passing and shooting then he won’t be blending in with the Bruins at all, and that won’t be such a bad thing.