Linemates getting over the awe with Jagr

Linemates getting over the awe with Jagr
April 6, 2013, 2:30 pm
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MONTREAL – There’s a great dynamic going on between 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr and two young linemates who were barely out of diapers -- or not even born yet -- during the great early moments of his NHL career.

Brad Marchand is a little bit older than the 21-year-old Tyler Seguin, and probably has a little more recall of Jagr’s dazzling debut. So he might be getting the sticky fingers when it comes to grabbing a few mementos over the next few months from playing with the future Hall of Famer.

“I almost feel like a super fan right now,” admitted Marchand, who assisted on Jagr’s game-winning goal against the Devils Thursday night. “I haven’t got around to it yet, but I’m sure I’ll steal a stick or two [from him] by the end of the year.”

Seguin admitted he also felt an inordinate amount of internal pressure to give up the puck and defer to a guy he grew up watching dominate for the Penguins, Capitals and Rangers, among others. But Jagr said he simply wants to keep up pace with the two young speedsters as best he can, and utilize his big body, puck possession strength and ability to slow things down and create plans to good effect with his talented linemates.

He was off to a good start Thursday night with five shots on net, the game’s only goal and some nice little plays while skating the full two minutes on Boston’s one power play possession against the Devils.  

“They’re young guys. They have a lot of energy,” said Jagr, referencing Marchand and Seguin. “You want to slow them down. You want them to play like me . . . slow. They need their energy. I’m happy for them. They’re playing good games and that’s good for them. They won the Cup, so they know what to do.

“For me it’s always about adjustments. You constantly have to adjust because the game is changing so much every year. Especially when I come [back] from Europe, I have to adjust. It’s a different game in Europe. They call it hockey, but I always say it’s a different game with the same roof. It’s all about adjustments.”

Bruins coach Claude Julien said he might have noticed Marchand and Seguin as star-struck young players early in Thursday’s first game with Jagr, but it turned into a forward group slowly gelling as the game moved along. Seguin was adjusting to his new responsibilities as a top-six center filling the spot vacated by Patrice Bergeron’s concussion, and both and Marchand were just discovering how best to operate with No. 68.

“A lot of our players are getting requests from their friends for [Jagr] autographs and stuff like that. They’re getting bombarded,” said Julien. “He certainly has that aura about him that he’s earned. He’s a Hall of Famer. There’s no doubt. For what he’s accomplished at his age, it’s pretty amazing as well.

“I even saw Seguin apologizing at one point for not getting the puck to him. We’ll get past that stuff. But the first time it’s a natural thing especially for a guy like [Seguin] who wasn’t even born when Jagr started playing. We’ll get past that being in awe thing and get down to playing pretty quickly.”

If anything can shake the awe out of Marchand and Seguin skating with a guy that’s scored 680 career goals, it would be a late season tilt against a Montreal team that’s still standing above them in the standings. The autographs requests, stick heists and tips on growing a full, healthy mullet should be over for the Black and Gold, and it comes down to making the best use of an elite talent in Jagr skating with two of the best young forwards in the NHL.