Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jagr Poised to Pass Messier for Second on NHL's All-Time Points List

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jagr Poised to Pass Messier for Second on NHL's All-Time Points List

Article excerpt

Messier: Jagr has dazzled, inspired

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Whether as a flashy rising star or as a battle-tested veteran, Jaromir Jagr has impressed NHL legend Mark Messier for more than a quarter century.

"When (Jagr) came into Pittsburgh he dazzled us with his power and his skill and his overall game," said Messier. "Later on in his career he's kind of inspired us with his passion and dedication.

"He's played long enough to understand what the game means to him as a person and as a player."

Poised to be overtaken by the 44-year-old Jagr for second on the NHL's all-time points list, Messier reflected Thursday about the Czech superstar's accomplishment in what has become increasingly a young man's game.

"The only way you can play, and do what he's doing right now, is to make sure you are putting in the time for your conditioning and taking care of yourself," said Messier. "The game has to be the No. 1 priority in your life because it takes a lot time to prepare each and every game, let alone each and every season.

"You've got to give Jaromir a lot of credit for what he's been able to do early in his career, and then maybe even more credit for how he's been able to sustain himself."

Messier, who passed Gordie Howe's point total of 1,850 for second all-time in his final NHL season back in 2003-04, finished his career with 1,887 points. Jagr grabbed third place from Howe in March and sits at 1,884 points after an assist in Thursday's game between his Florida Panthers and the Winnipeg Jets.

Wayne Gretzky's all-time mark of 2,857 points isn't going to be equalled by Jagr, or likely anyone else for that matter.

"I'm still the most surprised person that I have been sitting at No. 2 for this amount of time," Messier said on conference call. "I didn't really consider myself an elite scorer like a Mario Lemieux or a Wayne Gretzky. I never considered myself that kind of player. …

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