Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jagr Statesman

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jagr Statesman

Article excerpt


There are flecks of gray in Jaromir Jagr's playoff beard. He turned 41 three months ago, and he is the only player in the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers who was alive in 1973, when the two franchises last met in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Jagr, who won two Stanley Cups with Mario Lemieux and the Penguins in the early 1990s, is also one of the few players in the Bruins-Rangers series who has been on both teams. In the first of his three playoff seasons with the Rangers, 2005-06, Jagr scored 123 points and welcomed a rookie goalie named Henrik Lundqvist to the team.

Those were good times, he said Wednesday, especially because the Rangers' success followed a lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season.

"We were the kind of team that no one thought would make the playoffs, and we did," Jagr said after the Bruins worked out at TD Garden, the site of Game 1 tonight.

"It was Hank's first year," he added, referring to Lundqvist, "and Tom Renney's first year as coach, and it was a good group of players. I think we surprised everybody. That's why I have such good memories of that time."

Jagr said he was not in touch with any of the current Rangers. Lundqvist, Dan Girardi, Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal are the only holdovers from 2007-08, Jagr's final season with the team.

"He's such a special player," Lundqvist said of Jagr. "I'm happy I had the opportunity to play with him. It's a great memory to have when you look back, to have the chance to play with one of the best players who ever played the game. It was a lot of fun."

Jagr left the Rangers in 2008 and played in Russia for three years. He returned to the NHL last season to play for Philadelphia and signed with Dallas after this season's lockout. The Bruins acquired Jagr from Dallas on April 2, after a deal with Calgary for Jarome Iginla fell through.

In 11 games with Boston in the regular season, Jagr scored two goals, one of them a deflection off his skate. …

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