BOSTON (CBS) — In the aftermath of acquiring Jaromir Jagr in a trade from Dallas on Tuesday, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said he spoke to the star forward about coming to Boston as a piece of the puzzle and not having to be in the spotlight all the time.
Chiarelli said Jagr assured him that wouldn’t be a problem. Upon arriving in Boston and taking his first morning skate with his new team Wednesday, the 41-year-old Jagr expressed the same sentiment.
“I don’t feel bad, but the game has changed, so I changed,” Jagr said. “I’m not the guy who wanted to score the most goals in the league or most points in the league. … Don’t take it wrong, I like to score. But there’s more important things, the whole picture of a team and to win as a team. I think in that kind of way, I’ve changed a lot.”
That’s not the attitude you would’ve expected to hear from Jagr back in the days he was warring with coaches Kevin Constantine and Ivan Hlinka in Pittsburgh or when he was feuding with Washington coach Bruce Cassidy (coincidentally now the Bruins’ coach at AHL Providence) as a younger player. The new and improved Jagr has proven his desire to be more a team player and even a mentor during his time with Philadelphia last season.
In fall 2011, Jagr was famous for hosting several of his Flyers teammates at the club’s practice facility late at night – sometimes as late as 11 p.m. – for extra workouts and skating during training camp. With the condensed schedule and just a dozen games remaining in the season, don’t expect Jagr to be burning the midnight oil in Wilmington any day soon. However, he hopes to share his wisdom from two decades in the NHL with some of the Bruins’ less-experienced players.
“And I was so happy when I saw the other guys playing with me or my other teammates doing so good. And in the interview, they say Jagr helps us,” Jagr explained about the Philadelphia experience. “So that’s what makes me also happy – not just scoring goals but also I can help. And there’s a lot of young guys. I learned a lot of stuff through my hockey career. I’ve played for 22 years for a professional and I played with so many great players and I learned so much stuff. And we can always learn, not matter how old you are, you can always learn.
“And if somebody thinks he know everything when he’s 25, he’s lying to you or he’s dumb.”
If Jagr’s ability to boost the offense matches his desire to be a leader for the Bruins, Chiarelli’s trade is going to look pretty smart.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.