Jagr on Jagr

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It would probably be misleading to say I’ve come to really know Jaromir Jagr in my time on the Rangers beat, seeing how we’re all only given a limited window into the athletes we cover. But I think I’ve been around the star wing enough to form an impression, and in many ways, it’s an impression different than what I expected.

1134185597_turesjagr2.jpg

Among the revelations:

  • *He is refreshingly honest*, sometimes to a frustrating extent. You ask Jagr about a convincing win and he’ll talk about how he didn’t play particularly well. Ask him about last week’s near-comeback against the Senators, and he’ll tell you that Ottawa could afford to let up once it went ahead 5-0. Let’s put it this way: some guys freely give you the quotes you need to support your own arguments. Jagr isn’t that guy.
  • *He is surprisingly playful*, with a sharp sense of humor, even if the joke is at his expense.
  • *He is his own worst critic.*

    This isn’t to say I haven’t formed other impressions as well. Jagr’s diva reputation is not unfounded seeing how he might well be the thrust behind certain personnel moves; and his body language at times reveals a player too easily frustrated.

    There is a valid argument that says the Rangers can’t truly rebuild while also featuring the best player in the world, and that’s probably true. But given today’s re-signing of Martin Straka, it’s also probably a reality for the immediate future.

    Anyway, I mention all this as a fairly long-winded intro to some comments Jagr made to me last week when I asked about the start of his season. The basic message: he can be better, and no one knows that more than him.

    “The most pressure I’m getting is from myself, anyway,â€? he said. “No matter how much you guys are going to criticize me, it’s still not going to reach the pressure I’m putting on myself. I’m honest with myself, and I know when I play good and when I play bad. And when I play bad and people tell me I’m playing good, I’m still not going to believe it because I know what I am. I’m honest.”

    To that end, here’s Jagr on his new role as captain, about whether he’s felt compelled to be more outspoken. So far, he said it hasn’t made a difference, but he knows when it will.

    “Whether I’m going to enjoy it or not is in the playoffs,� Jagr said. “That’s when I’ll like it. But so far I haven’t had to change anything.�

    Naturally, others could disagree. And when I asked Tom Renney about Jagr as captain, the coach said the star has grown into the role as the season has worn on.

    “He wasn’t as vocal early but has become more so over time – not to the point where he’s just yapping for the sake of yapping because that’s what a captain does,� the coach said. “It’s significant feedback and that shows the maturation of a captain.�

    Of course, there remains a theory among Rangers fans that Jagr has been a fairly reticent captain because of the prominent role assumed by Brendan Shanahan. It’s no secret that the two still haven’t found much of a chemistry on the ice. But the idea of any friction between the two was downplayed.

    “I think it works because they’re friends,� defenseman Aaron Ward said. “It’s simple: they care about each other. In conversations with each other, they know where the other’s coming from. To have two players battling for a leadership role is not going to work. But you have two guys who see the benefit in listening to one another.�

    So there you have it. Maybe none of this speaks to the more pressing issues around the team. But maybe it does.

    It’s already been said to me once, and it’s certainly worth repeating: if No. 68 was scoring goals like he was last year, all this other stuff might seem pretty irrelevant. And with Jagr staying home from the All-Star Game to work his way back into shape, that might be the best hope the Rangers have.

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    52 Comments

    1. Nice read Sam, good one.

      Always wished Jagr was a bit more outspoken on the bench, kinda a ‘rally the troops’ kinda guy, but i guess as he said, we will see if he does that when it comes playoffs..

    2. Sam, if Jags was scoring like last year we would be ahead of the Devils by 8 points! His shoulder is definitely affecting him

    3. Excwllent job Sam! Thanks for all the information you give us on this blog. You give more details than Rangers Gamenight on MSG

    4. there is a valid argument that says the Rangers can’t truly rebuild while also featuring the best player in the world”

      If you think Jagr is the best player in the world, I am very disappointed. One of the better ones when he feels like it, yes, but he is certainly not the best player in the world. the fact that a 3rd line shadow like Jay Pandolfo can neutralize him so easily speaks to his being below the best.

    5. Doodie Machetto on

      It’s not just Pandolfo though, its Pandolfo, with Madden to cover him up front and White to cover him down low. Even if he beats Pandolfo, there’s two other guys!

    6. Anthony (Abev) on

      Sam, well done.

      I think Jagr is misunderstood because some people take his honesty and wit for not caring. I think some people get caught up in “why doesn’t he score goals every night”.

      Jagr is all business on the ice and I think it’s very difficult for us fans to see it.

    7. Doodie Machetto on

      I just found out that Jason Blake speared Sidney Crosby yesterday. Can I just reiterate how much I LOVE Jason Blake? Man I hate that he’s an Islander.

    8. for Jagr to be easily frustrated and putting too much pressure on himself is a big part of him no repeating last years’ feat. He preaches or teaches Prucha not to do it & he does it to himself.

    9. All I ‘ll say about the comparison of Messier to Jagr is speed kills. And Jagr doesn’t have any and thats why he can’t beat the shadow. Messier could skate thru any trap. And if you shadowed him you better wear your face mask. Enough for the comparisons please.

    10. I’m reposting on this newer thread, sam, in case you don’t review the earlier ones.
      ————-

      quote: “Just because some anonymous guy on an internet board says that Renney or Sather or Hossa suck or that the players in Hartford would do better than the guys on the team doesn’t make it so. And, as I’m sure you know, it isn’t your job to lobby for changes on the team.�

      thank you Peter, Chris, and pf for the first reasonable (and readable) posts in a while here. Sam you’re much too diplomatic. Occasionally take a stand, please, for godssake. It’s your blog.

      Actually I enjoyed the tidbits about the lockerroom music, about your conversations with Jagr (which of course can be taken just the opposite: he’s a complainer, a pouter, whiner, etc., I’m not saying he is, just it’s the flip side of his honesty).

      So, what this reader finds worthwhile are tidbits and insights like those, ones totally offlimits to your readership. Now just please answer my questions regarding the accuracy of reported height of players and why scratched players are identified as such already at practice (rather than after) through their green jerseys.

      thanks.

    11. ps

      now lundqvist’s attempt to shoot at an empty net a few weeks back becomes a little clearer. He probably had a bet with his twin who would score first. Well, Joel won. He scored tonight.

    12. get real. Jagr pouted his way out of both Pitt. and Wash. That is why they boo him in those towns.

      Isn’t it interesting that the Wash. Caps went to the stanley cup final before Jagr arrived, then were awful with him, and now are better with him gone.

    13. Just read this, everybody loves Messier, but couldn’t Sather try to focus on his job here and not always go on vacations
      From: TSN

      The man known affectionately as Moose will have his number retired in a ceremony prior to the Oilers’ game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Feb. 27.

      The day before, thousands of fans are expected to jam the city’s downtown Churchill Square to pay tribute to him.

      That night, Messier and others including ex-Oilers Kevin Lowe, Glenn Anderson and Paul Coffey will swap stories on stage at the city’s Winspear Centre concert hall in a $350-a-ticket charity fundraiser.

      LaForge said Oiler great Wayne Gretzky, the Coyotes coach, can’t attend the fundraiser but will have a role in the jersey retirement at the game.

      He noted that Feb. 26 is a busy time as it’s NHL trade deadline day.

      “(Ex-Oiler GM) Glen Sather was considering moving his (New York Rangers) scouting staff out here so he can be a part of it,” said LaForge.

    14. Sather has nothing to worry about. Clueless Dolan loves him. Even in ’04 when Sather was poison, and had to hide from the public, Dolan said he would not fire Sather under any circumstances. the Rangers can flounder, and Sather could care less.

    15. Amazing!! Just received this from Wildcard. I’m sure you can appreciate it. :)))

      “fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

      i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be
      in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs forwrad it.”

    16. Sam –

      Terrific, terrific piece on Jagr. Best I’ve seen on him in years, honestly – it should be the basis for a much larger feature that appears in the paper or in USA Today. It re-affirmed what I’ve always thought about him – he’s a perfectionist who gets really down on himself when he doesn’t perform which in turn adversely affects his performance. Surrounding him with Straka and Nylander is the Rangers’ way of putting him in a position to succeed. It drives me nuts when people accuse him of not caring or not trying – he has always said he cares very much about this team and this City, and the way he’s already performed here we should give the guy the benefit of the doubt – he already holds many of our scoring records. And while there have been many great players here, none have been anywhere near as prolific a scorer as Jagr is. This year everyone’s accusing the guy of having a bad year, but he’s fifth in the league in scoring.

      I also, however, beg to differ with two points. One is that we can’t rebuild the franchise with him here. There is no reason why 2 or 3 young defensemen can’t be introduced over time, or why Immonen, Dawes and Callahan can’t be slotted into second or third line slots this year with the same or better results. And also, I understand the idea that if he was scoring like last year, we’d have no problems. But I’d submit that those problems are a large part of why he isn’t scoring as much.

    17. Longtimerangerfan on

      lennynyr, great post…I was wondering if anyone else had trouble reading Wildcard’s posts.

    18. Sam:

      Nice piece on JJ.

      Henrik should be in a good mood. I am in Dallas, went to the game tonight and witnessed Joel score his first ever NHL goal. I have often thought that it would be a good idea for the Rangers to try to acquire Joel. However, after watching him tonight, I relaize it would not work. Joel hits far too much for the Rangers. Renney would have him in the press box reading his chicken scratch notes in favor of Marcel Hossa.

    19. Peter, I think you’re right, he is a perfectionist, that is, he sets exceedingly high standards and when he can’t attain those he gets into funks. I don’t think being a perfectionist sets him apart from his teammates (to stay at the nhl level, you’ve got to maintain the highest levels, conditioning etc. unless you’ve the natural talents of say a Kovalchuk), what does is that he has some hard acts to follow (while still a teenager in pittsburgh he was putting up monster numbers) and mostly he strikes me as being excessively moody (maybe sam can confirm this). I’m not saying that’s bad, it just seems that stuff outside the rink has a greater effect (+ or -) on him than on other players, which is why he is also more catered to by the front office and coach than stars of similar stature.

    20. Jagr has really matured, and it’s too bad the young players who would best be helped by his perspective and, yes, leadership are instead ‘seasoning’ in Hartford.

      And while we are talking about Jagr, we should also look at what is going on with Jagr the player. Something is definitely up – either the entire NHL has figured out how to gameplan him out of the picture or, more likely, he is playing hurt way more than anyone with the team wants to admit to. Thanks to a clever friend, I have some numbers to back this up – here is how JJ’s season has broken down (pun intended):

      First 22 games this year: 11-23-34 +10

      Most recent 25 games: 6-19-25 +3

    21. lennynyr: if thats how you spend your time…Im sorry that you are such an loser…I know my typing and spelling are bad…but lets get a look at you and pull your flaws and pick on them. I bet you would cry like a little baby and than deny any flaws right…why cant people just post about hockey?? Why do people have to be such morons and idiots?? Why do people like you have to TRY and bring others down to make yourself feel better? DO you think you are better than me?? I bet you do, did you think you were being funny when you did that?? Well, what goes around comes around, and when it comes back around, well, if you are a decent person you will know why, but I am guessing youll be confused as all heck. Nice to know someone spent the time on me :)

    22. pemoco: thanks for the stats…I knew he was slowing down, but I didnt realise how much. It dose seem like he is still playing hurt, I wonder if the lack of offseason working out has sapped his stamina for the long haul….if so he shoudl show signs of playing better after a week off for teh All star break…if not, well who knows. I think teh Devils are one of the few teams that have not jsut a one, two punch to stop JJ, but a one, two , three, four punch, and not to many star players get to many points against the Devils, its USUALLY the role players that get wins against them. We should all be happy to know that in a few seasons, within 4 or 5 some of those palyers wil be gone, includeing Marty in nets, and Pandolfo most likely as well…withought all the peices at 100% and withought them there at all the Devils will be LESS leathal, they wont becoem easy to score on, their system is to good for that, but it wont be as effective withought the parts they have now.

    23. While Jagr may be moody, it is that moodiness that drove him to be the player he is. He works hard, he plays hard, I dont think his moodiness is all his fault, I mean, I think that when things dont go perfect for a team alot more is blamed on him than is deserved. Even with the Ragners fans want to blame him for the 4th line not getting points. I imagine in someones mind Hollweg dosnt have any points because of Jagr. Washington may be doing better withough JJ now, but that has to do with Ovechkin more than anything, they still sucked right after JJ left, and the fans seemed to think down there that with only having JJ on the team it would bring them a cup. Rangers fans at first seems to think Jagr was a good palyer, that with help and other decent palyers and suport from the team would be a big peice of a deep playoff run. But now it seems they feel he has more control over the teams wins and losses than any one player could have, save for a goalie. I think that Jagr, even though he looks to be pouty is more of a reflection of his desire to win…when the team loses he takes it hard…I dont think its him wanting to win so bad he dosnt care anymore when the team loses…and if I were him and my team wasnt trying to get palyers to help win, and wanted me to do it all, i would probably lose intrest really quick, anyone would…all NHL players want to win, and none want to paly for a team that dosnt want to do what it takes to get W’s instead of L’s.

    24. Sam if you’re up for the task even though it’s won’t be easy, show Renney some tough love by asking him the real questions & don’t let him off the hook with his circle logic. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. I nominate you. GOOD LUCK!… PS if they try to ban you or something similar I’ll start a petition to get you reinstated. Missiom Impossible…this message won’t self distruct;) …My main question is what are the lines going to be & will Renney stick with them for 60 minutes or more, especially Shanny’s line with his imput?

    25. SAM: I agree with bklynblue, someone should ask renney, or tell himt he fans want to see a set of line combos that dosnt include Straka/Nylader/Jagr together….and for an entire game…not just most of a game. If he dose that the fans wont be upset, they will be happy he tried something to get the team out of this funk…

    26. The MSG SHILL OF THE YEAR AWARDS!

      (update)

      Oct: Sam (misreading cue cards did not stop him from having a strong month)
      Nov: Stan Fishsticks “Have the fans forgotten that shootout of Malik’s?”
      Dec: Al “I don’t know why the fans are booing Marek Malik”

      Jan: Boomer Easiason!

      Boomer’s direct appeal to Glen Sather to NOT “touch” Tom Renney who is the greatest thing to happen to the Rangers “since the Messiah” wins him not only January’s award, but puts him in strong contention for

      Shill of the Year!

      Boomer came out swinging, yesterday, on MSG NY, where he claimed his 40 year passion is the New York Rangrs and NOT football. This kissarse alone had the makings of something great, but Boomer did not stop there. After praising Tom Renney comparing him to the arrival of Mark Messier, Boomer took the gloves off, told Sam, Stan, and Al, “let’s dance” and actually addressed the Boss,

      Glen Sather

      DIRECTLY in front of the 1.0 audience who watches MSG NY and laid down the public challenge of not firing Tom Renney.

      It is unknown whether or not the other 3 will even bother to respond to this challenge.

      Of course, after this broadcast, Boomer will be subject to drug testing, and rumors of exogeneous testosterone are already hitting the internet blogs.

    27. Just as fans and journalists reported back in November, Renney wore down Jagr and Shanny with all the ridiculous ice time….

      they are exhausted….that is why you see a combined 2 or 3 goals in 15 games or so. Most predicted that Shanny would be toast by Christmas…..

    28. Doodie Machetto

      I just found out that Jason Blake speared Sidney Crosby yesterday. Can I just reiterate how much I LOVE Jason Blake? Man I hate that he’s an Islander.
      ====
      Hopefully you don’t LOVE him for this stupid act on a second year world class player. This incident is surely not a bright spot in Blake’s career. Crosby may have been angry at the time, but he handled it in the media like a real pro and Blake could learn a thing or two.

    29. “Sather has nothing to worry about. Clueless Dolan loves him.”

      Yes, but Clueless Dolan might be losing his company to Time Warner. The company needs to do something, and the board rejected Clueless Dolan & Family’s buyout bid. Which means it’s time for someone else to sweep in.
      Also means stock prices have been soaring.

      Would the Garden and its teams be included? Maybe. I’d imagine probably not, as you’d have to pry it out of Dolan’s cold, dead hands.
      But there’s always the chance. Time Warner has the Braves. It might not mind the Knicks and Rangers.

    30. Doodie,
      I happened to catch the end of that Isles-Penguins game and what Blake did was a sackless cheapshot-not that Sid doesn’t warrent a shot to keep his yap shut once in awhile, but spearing? Blake is a punk. Do you remember when his little rat-trap mouth got him paired off with an old Messier?

    31. “Longtimerangerfan January 18th, 2007 at 1:10 am

      lennynyr, great post…I was wondering if anyone else had trouble reading Wildcard’s posts.”

      It would be cruel to pick on somebody who couldn’t do something about it. I don’t agree with his ideas but he insults everybody when he refuses to use spellcheck. His namecalling doesn’t help his image either.

      Since he didn’t appreciate my analysis, I’ll just ignore his posts from now on. Waste more time trying to read them in English plus his ideas are contrary to mine.

    32. Doodie Machetto on

      I remember the Blake-Messier tangle. After the game, Blake said he would’ve fought but didn’t want his first fight to be against Messier, out of respect(and I think a little fear) for(of) him.

      And I am happy that Sid got the spear. I HATE Sidney Crosby. The guy scores 100 pts last season and all he did was complain. More importantly, that whiney little girl has KILLED us since he hit the scene. I was at his first game at the Garden, and unfortunately, no one on the bench could hear me from the 400s, calling for them to take him out. In fact, no one even hit him the entire game. He scored as a result. Overall he’s got 9 goals and 10 assists against us. If Orr was gonna cheap shot someone, I would have rather it been Crosby than Ovechkin.

      I’d like to seeBlake and Crosby on the same line at the All-Star game…and then Blake spear Crosby again.

    33. Doodie, I don’t like the idea of spering anybody, even a whiner like Crosby. Beat the crap out of him, hit him hard into the boards yes, but no spearing.

      In the 50’s Doug Harvey almost killed Red Sullivan with a spear. Later they became teammates with the Rangers and all was forgiven. Didn’t work out that way for Terry Sawchuk though. Ron Stewart “speared” him with a chiv in a fight over a woman and he died shortly after. Stewart got away with murder.

      I want an aggressive fighting team that sta

    34. Doodie, I don’t like the idea of spering anybody, even a whiner like Crosby. Beat the crap out of him, hit him hard into the boards yes, but no spearing.

      In the 50’s Doug Harvey almost killed Red Sullivan with a spear. Later they became teammates with the Rangers and all was forgiven. Didn’t work out that way for Terry Sawchuk though. Ron Stewart “speared” him with a chiv in a fight over a woman and he died shortly after. Stewart got away with murder.

      I want an aggressive fighting team that sticks up for each other, fights when necessary, hits as often as possible but no spearing. That’s crossing a line.

    35. Sam, what does this mini-break for Jagr actually mean? Is it really just a rest or is he going to be working out like a fiend or receiving some kind of medical treatment? I don’t know crapola about that kind of stuff, but it seems hard for me to believe such a short time could actually add much strength. Though, lord knows, he could use the rest.

      Anyone else know?

    36. I don’t like Crosby’s mouth either, but spearing? The NHL needs to send a message.

      Cindy is a crybaby, but Pittsburg is to blame as well. As a rookie, he should have been collecting dirty jerseys, not wearing an A. He is a world-class talent, but a dopey kid who needs some fatherly advice on how to shut up.

      Blake is an idiot.

    37. An NHL player NOT whining on his way to the penalty box is the exception to the rule. And most of them are a decade older and supposedly more mature than Crosby.

    38. Doodie Machetto on

      Crosby whined on his way to the box and at all times in between.

      OK, you’re all focusing on the wrong thing. I LOVE that he’ll play outside of the rules. Messier used to break the rules on purpose all the time to send a message. Yes, he could’ve used a penalty that wasn’t a spear, spearing is bad. But I’m talking about the use of the deliberate foul to send a message.

    39. Doodie Machetto on

      lenny, I had never heard of a woman being involved. I got this from wikipedia:

      Stewart was involved in a tragic incident in New York that claimed the life of famed goaltender Terry Sawchuk, his housemate at the time. Alcohol was involved and none of the witnesses could accurately recall what triggered the dispute, but many speculate that Sawchuk confronted Stewart about his pottery obsession after Stewart had removed the only refrigerator in their house in order to make room for a new kiln.

    40. Doodie, I met Sawchuk’s uncle from Detroit in St Petersburg FL about 12 years ago. We were staying at the same motel when I was in a temp job down there. He told me the story and how the Detroit press told a different story than the NY press.

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