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01-22-2013, 03:50 PM
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With their first round pick (17) in the 2013 ATD, the Guelph Platers have selected: Jaromir Jagr, RW

Career Highlights:

2 time Stanley Cup Champion 1991, 1992
1998 Olympic Gold Medal Winner
2005, 2010 World Championships Winner
15th Member of the Triple Gold Club (World Champion, Olympic Champion, Stanley Cup)
Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins 1998-2001

NHL Record Holder for Assists and Points by a RW
15 Consecutive seasons of 30+ goals (including the lockout 94-95 season!)
15 Consecutive seasons of 70+ points (including the lockout 94-95 season!)

Hart Memorial Trophy Winner - 1998
5 Time Art Ross Trophy Winner - 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
Lester B. Pearson Award Winner - 1999, 2000, 2006.
NHL First Team All Star - 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006
NHL Second Team All Star - 1997
NHL All-Rookie Team - 1991
Golden Stick Award – 1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011
#37 on The Hockey News list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players (he was 26 at the time)

Born: Feb 15, 1972
Position: RW
Height: 6-3
Weight: 240 lbs

Regular Season:

With 5 Art Ross trophies to his name and 2 second place finishes (one due to a prime Mario Lemieux), Jaromir Jagr is one of the greatest offensive players the league has witnessed.

For his career he is currently 8th all time in the NHL with 1657 -- points even after three work stoppages and a stint in the KHL.

8-Top 10 Goals: 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9
10-Top 10 Assists: 1, 1, 1, 3, 3, 3, 5, 7, 7, 9
11-Top 10 Points: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9

In addition to his scoring totals, Jagr has been a remarkable clutch goal scorer with 114 GWG (2nd all-time) and 16 overtime goals (1st all-time) in the regular season.

Another hallmark of Jagr's offense is his consistency. He recorded 15 straight seasons of 30+ goals and 70+ points, even including the shortened lockout season in 1994-1995.

Originally Posted by overpass
Adjusted Even Strength Points per season during prime (First 10 modern forwards drafted)
Year GP Player $ESP/82 $PPP/82
81-88 617 Wayne Gretzky 119 48
88-01 573 Mario Lemieux 100 63
94-01 575 Jaromir Jagr 99 45
68-75 613 Phil Esposito 86 60
75-82 579 Guy Lafleur 84 44
87-94 604 Steve Yzerman 77 32
79-86 616 Mike Bossy 75 39
78-85 600 Bryan Trottier 72 33
89-97 625 Mark Messier 64 34
72-79 623 Bobby Clarke 63 35
The adjustment is to a league scoring level of 200 even strength goals per team per season. The power play adjusted points are also included - those are adjusted to a league scoring level of 70 power play goals per team per season, and to a league-average number of power play opportunities.

Lemieux was a much better scorer on the power play and shorthanded. And his numbers would have been better if he had been healthy more often. But at even strength, Jagr was just as productive during their respective primes.

Note that other players in this list are not all directly comparable to Jagr, some had more defensive roles and contributions. This list should not be taken as a definitive ranking of even strength performance.

Originally Posted by overpass
Hart Trophy Voting Record
1995 - 2nd. 27 of a possible 75 voting points.
1995-96 - 4th. 156 of a possible 540 voting points.
1997-98 - 2nd to Dominik Hasek. 308 of a possible 540 voting points..
1998-99 - 1st. 543 of a possible 560 votes.
1999-00 - 2nd. 395 of a possible 580 voting points.
2000-01 - 3rd. 210 of a possible 620 voting points.
2005-06 - 2nd. 974 of a possible 1290 voting points.


One of the common knocks on the boards here regarding Jagr is his lack of playoff success without Lemieux or that "he never took over a series".
Having seen it in 1992, I'll argue that when he was without Lemieux but still on a team capable of winning, he did.

Lets put that to rest with a few points:

1) Jagr is 7th all time in playoff points with 189 points in 180 playoff games. The highest ranking player who didn't play any games in the 80s.

2) He is currently 4th all time with 16 game winning goals in the playoffs (8th position due to ties).

3) Lemieux himself needed a lot of help to lead the Pens to the promised land. Including Jagr's when Lemieux was slashed by Graves in the 1992 playoffs:

New York Times, HOCKEY; Jagr's Edge Is Tied to History, Joe Lapointe
Jagr, the Pittsburgh Penguins right wing who is emerging in these Stanley Cup playoffs as a marquee performer in the National Hockey League.

Jagr scored the winning goals in both Game 5 and Game 6 of the second-round series with the Rangers, won by Pittsburgh four games to two. He also scored on a penalty shot in Game 5 and he has six goals and eight assists in 13 playoff games.

With Mario Lemieux still idled by a broken hand, Jagr is the most dynamic offensive threat for the Penguins, who open their third-round series with the Boston Bruins on Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
4) In the Conference finals against the Bruins that same year:

Originally Posted by Sure cure for spring fever: a few devastating defeats,Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy, May 21, 1992

The Penguins were vulnerable. This was a season in which they endured the death of their beloved coach (Bob Johnson), plus fiscal chaos and a couple of salary-dump trades. They'd escaped elimination after trailing Washington, three games to one. They lost Mario Lemieux for 4-6 weeks in the series against the Rangers. They were ready to be taken, and five hockey krishnas from this paper picked the Bruins to beat the Penguins in six.

It's pretty simple. The B's trail the Penguins, 2-0, and must win tonight or their season is effectively over. Let's not pretend these Bruins can win four straight from the Penguins. Lemieux is back (did anyone else notice that Bret Sabrehagen went on the disabled list with tendinitis in his index finger on the same night that Lemieux and Ray Bourque played with broken bones inside their gloves?).

"The first game." Those words still sting Bruins fans. Boston should have won the first game of this series. The B's outskated Pittsburgh and peppered Tom Barrasso with 41 shots. But they were beaten in overtime by the inimitable Jagr (seeing him in your dreams yet?). Losing that game may be the 1992 equivalent of the triple-overtime loss to Edmonton in the first game of the finals in 1990. It took too much out of the B's.

5) This leaves the common criticism that in the late 90s after Lemieux had retired (and the team had declined), Jagr was supposed to have carried a ragtag bunch of players to the Cup.

I'm going to examine his playoffs during this time in some detail:


Lemieux retires for the first time.


The Penguins surprise in the regular season with 98 points (but 18 ties!) and face off against the 87 point Habs.

Game 1:

Jagr assists on a late 3rd period goal to put the game into OT.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post Gazette April 25, 1998, Relentless Jagr will prevail in the end, Ron Cook

No, he might not always say the proper thing. At times he can be immature, a spoiled brat. What was his line about Kevin Constantine when he was in a pout with 10 days to go in the regular season? "He's put me through hell."


But Jagr never stops playing hard when he's on the ice, never stops trying to win. Despite being frustrated practically for the whole game by some interesting strategy by Montreal Coach Alain Vigneault, he found a way to force overtime. He couldn't produce a win on this night, but he'll find a way to win the series. Write it down.

Game 2:

Jagr puts up 3 assists in a 4-1 win.

Game 3:

Jagr scores the opening goal but the Pens lose 3-1.

Game 4:

Jagr scores 2 goals and adds an assist in a 6-3 win.

Game 5

Jagr scores but the Pens lose 5-2.

Game 6

Pens are shutout 3 - 0.

Jagr scores 9 points on the Pens 15 goals total in the 6 game loss.


Jagr leads the team in scoring by a whopping 44 points in the regular season and scores 12 points in 9 games while fighting a groin injury throughout the playoffs.

The Pens were an 8th seed 90 point squad facing a 1st seed 105 point Devil's squad in the first round:

Game 1

Pens lose 3-1, Jagr assists on their only goal.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 23, 1999, Devlish delights, Dejan Kovacevic

Jaromir Jagr was tripped and trapped, hacked and whacked, punched and pulled down by the New Jersey Devils.

And, somehow he did not score a goal.


The Devils game plan was as simple as it was evident: Shut down Jagr at all costs and, if the rest of the Penguins were good enough to beat them, so be it.


Jagr assisted on the Penguins' lone goal and wheeled around the rink with his customary flash and flair. But when time came to penetrate the Devils defense, the door was slammed in his face by Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer, New Jersey's finest defensemen and two of the best in the NHL. The pair matched up against Jagr for all 20 of his even strength shifts and limited him to four shorts.

Game 2

Jagr does not play due to a groin injury. Barrasso and the Pens play very well and win 4-1.

Game 3

Jagr does not play (groin). Straka & Barrasso and the Pens win 4-2.

Game 4

Jagr does not play, Pens lose.

Game 5

Jagr does not play, Pens lose, now facing elimination.

Game 6

Jagr returns to action - playing 29:35 minutes with an injured groin - and scores the tying goal late and the OT winner to help the Pens to a 3-2 win, tying the series.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 3, 1999, CAPTAIN COMEBACK, Dave Molinari

The Penguins might not play another game at the Civic Arena this season.

Or ever, for that matter.

If not, Jaromir Jagr has given fans enough memories to carry them through a long summer. Or, if necessary, an

But never, since he arrived in 1990, has Jagr managed anything more remarkable or enduring than what he accomplished during the Penguins 3-2 overtime victory over New Jersey yesterday in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series.

It's not just that he scored the tying goal with little more than two minutes left in regulation. Or even that he got the game-winner at 8:59 of overtime.

What makes Jagr's performance one of the most magnificent in franchise history is that he did it all while playing with a groin problem that, by most accounts, shouldn't have permitted him to do anything more strenuous than watch the game on TV.

And that almost certainly is where hew ould have spent the afternoon had the Penguins not been facing elimination from the playoffs.

But Jagr takes that "C" stiched to his sweater seriously and wasn't willing to sit out a fifth consecutive game if tehre was any chance he'd be able to help his teammates extend their season.
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 3 1999, Jagr's return stuff of legend, Bob Smizik

His intention was to limit himself mostly to power plays, and understandbly so. He really couldn't skate. Maybe he could muck in the corners, but when it came to up and down the rink, he just didn't have it.
It was the stuff of Lemieux, the stuff - if the Penguins win the series - of legend. It was a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils, which sends the series to a seventh game tomorrow night. [b]The team that had no chance - the eighth seed that didn't match up in any way against the first seed - is eminently capable of sending the Devils to a third consecutive much-earlier-than-expected exit from the posteason.

The Penguins can win because Jaromir Jagr is back and, as he proved yesterday at Civic Arena, when he's in uniform all things are possible.

Game 7

Jagr picks up two assists in a 4-2 win to beat the Devils.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, True Believers Unite, May 5, 1999, Dave Molinari

The Penguins believed, even when it seemed no one else did.

They believed when the only question about their first-round playoff series appeared to be how long it would take New Jersey to run them into the off-season.

When it seemed that adding Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and St. Jude to their playoff roster might not have been enough to save them.

They believed before the series began, and, now that it's over, they're not alone anymore
The Penguins, owners of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, completed an astonishing upset of the top-seeded Devils with a 4-2 victory last night at Continental Airlines Arena in game 7 of their series.
Against the Devils, the image that will endure is of Jaromir Jagr, playing with a bad groin, returning for Game 6 after sitting out four games, and scoring the tying and winning goals to give the Penguins momentum that carried through the conclustion of the series.

Round 2 had the 90 point Pens facing the 97 point Leafs.

Game 1

Accord to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Jagr's groin is still ailing at the start of the series and he is skipping practice but playing.

Very tight game with 37 shots total. Jagr is pointless but Pens win 2-0.

Game 2

Jagr has an assist as the Pens lose 4-2.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 10 1999, Split Personality, Dave Molinari
Penguins right winger Jaromir Jagr, hobbled by a bad groin for more than two weeks, kept his pledge to be in the lineup for Game 2 and was held to one assist, despite being visible and menacing for most of the game."

Game 3

Jagr a goal and two assists and the first star as the Pens win 4-3.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 12, 1999, Third Period Surge, Dave Molinari
Penguins right winger Jaromir Jagr, who is nursing a sore groin, was in the lineup for the fifth consecutive game
Jagr's goal re-energized the crowd and his teammates, and the momentum it generated led to a go-ahead goal by Jiri Slegr precisely 100 seconds later.

Game 4

Jagr opens the scoring but the Pens lose 3-2.

Game 5

Another extremely tight game with a total of 36 shots.

Barrasso allows 4 goals on 20 shots and Jagr's line is a -3.

Game 6

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 17,1999, Penguins must win Game 6, Dave Molinari

He (Jagr) has two goals and three assists in give games, in large part because of some nice work by Maple Leafs defenseman Dimitri Yushkevich and his partner, Danil Markov.
The groin problem that has dogged Jagr since Game 1 of the first round continues to affect his play, although it's impossible to quantify its impact.

"What I do know is that he's not 100 percent," Constantine said. "Is he 90, is he 80, is he 70? I don't know."

Jagr said yesterday that he feels "pretty good" but acknowledged "there are some times when it hurts, [such as] when I try to go full speed from nothing.".
Facing elimination Jagr has a goal and an assist but the Pens lose 4-3.

The Pens, tired or outclassed (or both), manage an average of 20.7 shots for per game in the series.


Jagr misses 19 games of the regular season and still leads the team in scoring by 30 points.

In the first round the 88 point Pens upset the 102 point Capitals in a decisive 4-1 series with 15 goals for in the 5 games.

Game 1:

The Pens blow out the Capitals 7-0, Jagr has 4 assists.

Game 2:

Jagr has a goal (OT winner) and an assist as the Pens win 2-1.

Game 3:

Jagr has 2 assists as the Pens win 4-3.

Game 4:

Jagr has a goal but the Pens lose 3-2.

Game 5:

Jagr scores the series winner in the third and the Pens win 2-1.

After defeating the Caps, the 88 point Pens then faced the 105 point Flyers.

Game 1:

Jagr scores the winner in the first period as the Pens shutout the Flyers 2-0. The Pens are outshot 28-14.

Game 2:

Jagr scores two goals, including the winner, as the Pens win 4-1. The Pens are outshot 45-25.

Game 3:

The Penguins are outshot 44-18 but Jagr scores 2 goals and an assist to get them into OT. They lose 4-3.

Game 4:

Jagr reinjures his leg while playing 59 minutes in the 5 OT game the Pens lose 2-1. Outshot 72-58. Tugnutt makes 70 saves.

Game 5:

Jagr plays despite his injury but is shut down as the Pens lost 2-1.

Game 6:

Jagr continues to play but the Pens lose 2-1 and lose the series.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mourning after Penguins loss still hurts for Patrick, Ron Cook, May 11, 2000
Maybe Patrick could have traded for a big defenseman to neutralize the Flyers' great John LeClair. No one will question Bob Boughner's toughness, not after his hit on Keith Primeau Tuesday night. But he was no match for LeClair and the Flyers' other big wingers over the course of six games.

Certainly Janne Laukkanen wasn't. When he tried to check LeClair in Game 3, LeClair ran him over.
Kasparaitis deserves more blame than Patrick for the rotten outcome. So does Alexei Kovalev, who did nothing offensively. And Robert Lang, who did nothing after Game 2; Martin Straka who did nothing after Game 3; Josef Beranek who did nothing, period; Jan Hrdina, Aleksey Morozov.

It wasn't Patrick's fault that Jaromir Jagr re-injured his leg while getting 59 minutes of ice time in Game 4. Jagr didn't score a point in the final three games.

"He wasn't feeling good. He didn't have anything left. Yet he still played," Matthew Barnaby said.

"I have more respect for him as a captain now than I ever have. I've never seen anyone who wants to win as much as he does."
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jagr believes team's future looks bright, May 11, 2000, Dejan Kovacevic

Jagr could use the break, having endured enough injuries since January to fill a medical manual.

But the hurt he feels from the Penguins' collapse to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup playoffs likely will hound him longer than any physical wounds.

Remember this is the guy who boldly stated last month that it was his job as captain to lead the Penguins to a championship.
Jagr pointed to Game 3 against the Flyers, when the Penguins had a chance to take a 3-0 stranglehold in the series. Jagr elevated his play that night, netting two goals
and an assist but he was pretty much alone in what fizzled into a 4-3 overtime loss.

"I think we're not very far away from being a very good team," Jagr said. "In my opinion, we need one forward, a skilled left winger. It doesn't have to be a powerful guy, but it doesn't hurt if he's powerful and big. And maybe one more offensive defenseman."

He also questioned why the Penguins management opted not to dress center Milan Kraft, their top pick in the 1998 Entry Draft, for any postseason games.
"Hopefully, one day, we can win a championship with these guys."


Lemieux returns from retirement.

He and Jagr rampage through the regular season but they are unable to beat the Devils in the midst of a second straight run to the finals.

Jagr is alternatively criticized and praised for his play.

He is also playing through injuries, again.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jagr hedges on status for tonight, April 30, 2001, Dave Molinari

(apparently Jagr and Hlinka were possibly getting into it before Game 2 in an animated discussion)
Jagr, who apparently has a charley horse, sore groin and a bad shoulder, initially said, "I don't think so," when asked if he expects to play tonight, then revised his assessment to, "I don't know if I'm going to play."

The Penguins have a 2-0 lead in the series but, as was the case between Games 1 and 2, Jagr said the status of the series will not have an impact on his decision about whether to dress.

"When I feel like I can help the team, be healthy enough to play, I'm going to play", he said. "I don't look at what the score is, or what the series is like. When I'm 40 or 50 percent able to play, I'm going to play."

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Lemieux sets stage for Jagr deal in off-season, Apr 27, 2001, Bob Smizik

Mario Lemieux is well known as a man who rarely makes a move on or off the ice without good reason, which means his highly uncharacteristic criticisms of teammate Jaromir Jagr were done with intent. The question is: For what intent?

Was Lemieux trying to motive Jagr to a higher level of play in the Penguins' second-round Stanley Cup series against the Buffalo Sabres?

Or was his intent somewhat more diabolical? Was he setting the stage for trading the man who has won the past four NHL scoring titles?

How about both?
But in a national conference call Wednesday, he said: "I think we need [Jagr] to pick up his game a little bit. I think we need him to play a little bit better for us to have a chance to go all the way."
Lemieux said: "I think he has to skate a little more, create some speed in the neutral zone. I think, as I've said, for us to be successful we're going to need him to play at the top of his game. If he doesn't, our chances are diminished by a lot. We need our leaders to go out and lead the way and play at a high level".

Jagr seemed angered and surprised by the remarks Lemieux made Wednesday.


Lemieux had nothing but praise for Jagr after the game. "He was great. Right from the start he was skating well. He was going after the puck and being a leader. It was great to see."

Trading Jagr, once seemingly preposterous, becomes more logical every day. Not only does his salary take up almost one-third of the team's payroll, but the team also is learning in these playoffs it can win without a high-octane offense.

Game 7 of the Buffalo series goes to OT -- Jagr has three assists as the Pens win 3-2.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jagr takes painkillers, accepts the risks, May 14, 2001, Ron Cook

Jaromir Jagr heard the whispers. When his right shoulder ached, when he barely could carry his stick and couldn't shoot the puck, when he had to miss two games in the Penguins' playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres, he heard every last ridiculous whisper.

"He's not really hurt"

"He's pouting because Mario said he needed to play better."

"How can you miss two games with a charley horse?"

(In their usual, silly, misguided attempt to camouflage injuries, the Penguins announced Jagr's problem as a charley horse).

"This is the team captain?"

"Why are they paying him $10 million a year?"

And, maybe the most hurtful:

"The guy is soft."

So Jagr, after the announcement that he was a scratch for Game 3 against the Sabres was greeted by some cheers from idiots at Mellon Arena, did what just about any hockey player would do, what just about any athlete would do.

He loaded up on pain-killing medication and played, the risks to his short- and long-term health be damned.

"It's stupid when you think about it," Jagr said. "But, that's just it, you don't think. You just do it. There's so much at stake and so much pressure to play. It just seems like what's at stake now is more important than what might happen in the future."

This isn't the first time Jagr has taken injections in his shoulder to play in the playoffs.

"I did it last year, too. I had a lot of problems once the season ended. I couldn't do much with my arm. I couldn't life weights all summer. I said then I wouldn't take the shots again. But look at me now. I'm doing the same thing all over again. I'm sure I'll do it every time as long as I play."


The Trade

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Trade first step in busy summer, Jul 12, 2001, Bob Smizik
The deal, in which Washington also took overpaid defenseman Frantisek Kucera, is the biggest trade in that franchise's history and establishes the Capitals as a Stanley Cup contender.

Jagr gives the blue-collar Capitals, a team the Penguins have dominated in the playoffs, the offensive force they have so sorely lacked. And they were able to add such a force without touching their core of players, a rare feat and one that has the Capitals and their fans talking about the Cup.
By lopping Jagr and Kucera from the roster, the Penguins dropped $11.2 million from their payroll.

The Washington Years

Initially good: Jagr was working hard & players and fans were excited to have him. They resign him to a long term deal.

Originally Posted by The Free Lance-Star, Oct 6, 2001, Jagr a Capital Investment, Joseph White
Jagr, the NHL's top scorer four years running, makes his Capitals debut tonight at home against the New Jersey Devils.
The back to back Southeast Divison champions, who acquired Jagr in a bargain of a summer trade with Pittsburgh, are soaring on a
wave of confidence like never before.

"Every year our goal is to win the Stanley Cup," Nikolishin said. "Now it's more realistic."

The thing about Jagr that has surprised the Capitals the most the No. 1 answer from virtually every player and coach-- is his work ethic.

He's often still on the ice 30 minutes after practice. He's diligent about the care of his equipment. And he stunned Peter Bondra by heading straight to the gym after a home exhibition game last week.

"It surprises me how much he does extra," Bondra said. "He's already gone to the gym and he's thinking about the next game."

Even hardworking goaltender Olaf Kolzig might have met his match.

"He's usually one of the first guys on the ice, one of the last ones to leave," Kolzig said. "That's why he's one of the greatest players in the world. He works at it."


And while the Capitals are adjusting to Jagr, Jagr is adjusting to the Caps.

"I was playing with the smae guys for the last five years," Jagr said. "I'm playing a different style. I like to have the puck all the time. Those guys play different. We have to practice more and more and more."

"Hopefully, we're going to get better and better. It's going to take time."
Originally Posted by LA Times, Jagr, Capitals Agree to Deal for $88 Million, October 19, 2001, AP

Jaromir Jagr signed the richest contract in NHL history, then advanced the Washington Capitals' five-year plan to win the Stanley Cup by two years.

Jagr, the league's scoring leader for five of the last six seasons, signed an eight-year, $88-million contract Thursday. The first seven years are guaranteed at $77 million with an option year to follow that could keep Jagr in a Capital uniform into 2009.

"When I came here, I didn't know what to expect," said Jagr, who had played only with Pittsburgh in an 11-year career before the PEnguins traded him in July. "Then I heard the promise to win the Stanley Cup in five years."

He paused briefly, then added: "Maybe three years now."

Season 1 2001-2002

Originally Posted by CNNSI, Feb 2, 2002, Jagr criticizes the Capitals during All-Star Game interview, AP

Jaromir Jagr didn't seem to have any fun at the All-Star Game. And he definitely isn't having any fun with the Washington Capitals.

"Am I happy that we are out of playoffs now? No," he said Saturday. "It is a disaster for me and a disaster for the team. I want it to change."

The seven-time All-Star, in his first season with Washington, has 15 goals and 25 assists. The Capitals are 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

Jagr's World team fell behind early in Saturday's NHL All-Star Game. He told ABC's Darren Pang it was nothing new.

"I'm getting used to it from Washington. Every time we step on the ice in Washington, [we] have minus right away. But we're going to come back," he said.
Originally Posted by USA Today, Capitals dismiss Wilson, May 10, 2002, AP

The Washington Capitals fired coach Ron Wilson, who led the team to the 1998 Stanley Cup finals but hasn't won a playoff series since.

Wilson's dismissal Friday came a month after the Capitals, who were thought to be a sure bet for the playoffs after trading for Jaromir Jagr, finished ninth in the Eastern Conference — one spot away from a postseason berth — with a 36-33-11-2 record.

General manager George McPhee said the players started to "tune things out" after five years under Wilson.

"I didn't believe it that these things had to happen, but I believe it now," McPhee said, "that at some point the players need a new message."

The Capitals were hurt by injuries to several key players, including Jagr, and owner Ted Leonsis said at the end of the season he would not make a coaching change during the offseason.

Season 2 2002-2003

The Caps start off the first two months very poorly. Jagr and the Caps then resurge to make the playoffs.

Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Jagr's surge fuels Capitals' resurgence, Jan 30, 2003, Dave Molinari

The Washington Capitals had a magical season in 2001-02. They took a stable of world-class talent and a $56 million payroll and made a playoff berth disappear.

Pretty amazing stuff. A feat worthy of David Copperfield or Penn and Teller.

Or even the New York Rangers, the underachievers emeritus of the National Hockey League.

But unthinkable as it was for a team built around the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Sergei Gonchar, Peter Bondra and Olaf Kolzig to sit out the postseason, the Capitals began 2002-03 intent on proving that it had been no fluke. That they really were a bad team.
Cassidy's incessant tinkering with line combinations and defense pairings was counterproductive, preventing the development of any chemistry among the units, and the only thing that made the Capitals' five-on-five work palatable was that their special-teams play was worse.

After shaving $6 million or so from their payroll in the summer, the Capitals looked to be in a process of slicing perhaps a dozen points off their total for the season.

But, just as their season seemed to be on the verge of unraveling, the Capitals followed the disheartening loss in Atlanta with a 4-1 victory at Mellon Arena two nights later. That sparked a turnaround that has carried them four games over .500 and to the top of the Southeast Division as they head into their game against the Penguins tonight at the MCI Center.
Jagr has nine goals and 10 assists in his past 10 games. Gonchar has four goals and 11 assists in that same span.
Jagr was one of those slow starters this season, but he has overcome a sluggish beginning to reclaim his usual spot among the league's top scorers. He hurdled numerous players recently when he piled up 11 points in two games and has been performing at a rarefied level few others can reach.
Jagr was nowhere near his peak earlier in the season, and there actually was talk -- unfounded or otherwise -- that the Capitals were looking to trade him
Those tough times are disappearing into the mists of ancient history now, and there's not much chance Jagr will have a "For Sale" sign dangling from his neck when he steps onto the ice this evening.


2002-2003 Playoffs

The Caps and Jagr start off the series strong, winning the first two but then fall in four straight.

Jagr's wrist is apparently bothering him in this series. After being shut down he scores two goals and two assists in Game 2.

Originally Posted by The Free Lance-Star, Jagr gives Capitals a commanding lead, April 13, 2003, Fred Goodall AP

Jaromir Jagr played like he had something to prove to everyone.

A nonfactor in the opening game of the first-round playoff series between Washington and Tampa Bay, the NHL's highest paid player asserted himself from the start yesterday afternoon in the Capitals' 6-3 victory over the Lightning.


Jagr, meanwhile, didn't show any signs of being bothered by a sore right wrist after being limited by the Lightning to just one shot during Game 1 on Thursday night.
Originally Posted by The Free Lance-Star, Apr 21, 2003, Caps ousted in OT thriller, Joseph White
Washington failed to meet owner Ted Leonsis' goal of winning a playoff series, despite the huge investment he's made in Jaromir Jagr and other high-paid players.

It also hurt that the money-losing Capitals failed to sell out any of their three home games in the series.
"I have to really reconsider the kind of commitment and investment I'm making with this team," Leonsis said.
Season 3 and Trade to New York

Before the trade:

Originally Posted by, With Jagr, Caps in a no-win situation, Jim Kelley, Nov 28, 2003

Whether or not a trade between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals for Jaromir Jagr is on again or not, Jagr wants two things to be known:

One, he is not the source of the rumor. Jagr told he was unaware of the reports and he did not tell confidants that there is a deal in the works. "I don't talk to anyone about those things," Jagr said. "Besides, it's a management decision."

And, two, to paraphrase a line from the classic hockey movie "Slap Shot," he feels shame.

"The bad part about all of this is that I feel I've let people down," Jagr said, "especially the owner."

Jagr made his remarks before Wednesday's game at Buffalo, a game he left with a groin injury that coach Bruce Cassidy later said he didn't know when it happened.

Before that, however, Jagr said owner Ted Leonsis made a commitment to him in the form of his salary -- which has four years and $44 million remaining -- and that he was sorry it hasn't worked out.

"Of course I want to win," he said. "I don't want to be in this situation where we are the last (place) team in the National Hockey League. He (Leonsis) brought me here to help make things better and I kind of let him down. I'm sorry for that. He had faith in me."

The mea culpa's seemed genuine, but one has to believe that the Capitals have no recourse but to trade Jagr even if it does mean eating a substantial amount of his salary. He is no longer able or willing to carry the team entirely by himself and the Capitals, a stagnant hockey franchise in a city that has never truly embraced the sport, certainly can't afford to add talent around him.

Originally Posted by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Capitals unload Jagr on Rangers, Jan 24, 2004, Joseph White

Jaromir Jagr was traded to the New York Rangers yesterday, capping more than six months of off and on negotiations that brought to and end a disappointing 2 1/2 year stay with the Washington Capitals.

Jagr was traded for forward Anson Carter, but most of the negotiations centered on how much of Jagr's $11 million-per-year contract the Capitals would continue to pay as the cost-conscious NHL heads toward a possible lockout next seasons.

"This trade is a good one in that it moves the largest player contract in the NHL to a team that can absorb it, and it provides us with options as we seek to improve our team," Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said.
Leonsis said he had to move Jagr because of the "new economic reality" the league is facing with the expected lockout and the possible salary cap that could follow.

"With our current payroll, our ability to improve was hindered as well as our flexibility to plan for the future as we move toward a possible new NHL business model, " Leonsis said.

Jagr has not provided the payoff expected when the Capitals acquired him from Pittsburgh in 2001...
Attendance has sagged for a franchise that was already losing about $20 million per year.
Originally Posted by NYTIMES, Capitals' Lang May Have Talked His Way Out of Trade to the Rangers, Feb 8, 2004, Joe Lapointe
Washington recently traded Jaromir Jagr to the Rangers. Jagr is tied for 11th in scoring with 53 points. Regarding Jagr's disappointing play in Washington, Lang said:

''They put him in a situation that sort of could not work out. You can't put a player like that on a team like Washington and want him to play a defensive system. He's been winning scoring races and titles and all that because he played loose hockey and had a good support cast. They didn't really give him the cast.''

Originally Posted by The Washington Times, Jaromir Jagr reflects on unmet expectations in D.C., October 19, 2011, Stephen Whyno

Jaromir Jagr laughs nervously as he recalls his life from 2001 to 2004 with the Washington Capitals.

“The part I was playing there I would rather forget,” he said. “I wasn’t very good.”

You don’t have to look too far to find people who agree, from ownership through the fan base. The expectations for Jagr coming to Washington in 2001 were high. He had just wrapped up four straight seasons leading the NHL in scoring, piling up the Art Ross Trophies with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But his point production dropped from 121 his last season in Pittsburgh to 79 and then 77 in two full season with the Capitals.
“Maybe I didn’t play the way I should play,” he said. “Probably [the] managers or the owners, they were hoping when they got me we were going to win the Cup — at least get a little farther in the playoffs, and it just didn’t happen.”

Quotations and Perspective:

Jon Scher, SI, 1992:


Unlike Gretzky, Lemieux will have the opportunity to school his own successor. He has seen the future of hockey, and its first name, Jaromir, is an anagram for Mario Jr. Jagr, a 20-year-old from Czechoslovakia who joined the Penguins in 1990, scored 32 goals this season, but he didn't truly open up his bag of tricks until Lemieux was injured in the second game of the Patrick Division finals against the Rangers. Since then, he has scored fabulous goal after fabulous goal. Just watching him carry the puck can be a thrill. In Game 1 of the finals he faked and juked his way past three Blackhawks before calmly delivering a backhand shot that tied the score 4-4 late in the third period. "Inexcusable," fumed Keenan. "The greatest goal I've ever seen," gushed Lemieux.
E.M. Swift, SI, 1992:
Screaming down the right wing, his long dark hair flopping behind his helmet, the lefthanded-shooting Jagr would time and again beat both defensemen like a pair of rented mules.

"He's a different type of player than the league has seen in a long time," says Scotty Bowman, who coached the Penguins last season and is now the team's director of player development and recruitment. "He has a lot of Frank Mahovlich in him. His skating style and strength make him almost impossible to stop one-on-one. A lot of big guys play with their sticks tight to their bodies and don't use that reach to their advantage like Jaromir does."


In style, though, Jagr is something much different from Lemieux. "When Mario gets the puck, he's always thinking, Where can I put it?" says Bowman. "He'll pass the puck off and get himself in a better situation to score than he was in. When Jaromir gets the puck, he's always thinking, Where can I go with it? He reminds me of Maurice Richard in that way. They both played the off-wing, and both had so many moves I don't think either knew which moves they were going to do until they did them. Totally unpredictable."

Gerry Callahan, SI, 1995:
"They've got different styles, but Jagr does remind you of Mario in a lot of ways," says Penguin wing Kevin Stevens, who is sidelined with a fractured left ankle. "He's got the same kind of presence on the ice."

"When you're sitting on the bench, it's just like it was with Mario," says Cullen. "You watch. You can't help. You know Yaggs can get the puck and just take over the game. You don't want to miss it."

Jagr might be, among other things, the best one-armed player in the game today. The trend in the NHL toward more clutching and grabbing may slow down some slick-skating Europeans, but not Jagr, who is 6'2" and 208 pounds. He actually seems to enjoy the challenge of handling the puck while carrying a couple of passengers. "He should practice with a 100-pound dummy strapped to his back," says Penguin center Shawn McEachern, "because that's the way he has to play in the games."

Johnston has increased Jagr's ice time this season by putting him on the first power-play unit and allowing him to kill penalties. According to the coach, people are missing something when they attribute all of Jagr's success to his size and natural abilities. There is a pretty good mind under all that hair, says Johnston.

"He knows the game better than anyone on the team," says the coach. "He's very smart out there. He knows the little things, things you can't teach. He knows how to play the angles and how to protect the puck. You know where he got that, don't you?"

From his brilliant coaches on the Penguins?

"From Mario."
Michael Farber, SI, 1996:
Of course the NHL could invent other categories for Jagr, besides best-tressed. Best one-on-one player: Jagr. There are faster forwards who might embarrass a defenseman with their speed, but no one plays one-on-one in traffic the way he does. Best combination of skill and strength: Jagr again. The 6'2", 215-pound Czech is the first man to combine the traditional European attributes of slickness, nimble feet and goal scorer's hands with lower-body strength, allowing him to fend off checks and protect the puck. "He's a gorilla, strong as a horse," Penguins coach Ed Johnston says, offering his own vision of Jagr as a crossbreed. "I don't know anybody who's stronger on his skates."

Michael Farber, SI, 1999:

Last month Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Denis Savard proclaimed Jagr "the best player in the game by a million miles," as if the subject were as closed as a team meeting.


"Jaromir should get a cut of every contract of everyone who plays with him before signing a new deal because half the money they're getting is due to him," Constantine says, despite his occasional differences with his star. "He makes it tricky for this organization. We have to ask ourselves how good the guy is. Is he good because he plays with Jagr? Not taking anything anyway from Marty Straka, who's a helluva player, but none of the guys Jaromir plays with have a time-tested history of being major talents." There is no one riding shotgun for Jagr the way Joe Sakic does for Forsberg, John LeClair does for Lindros or Selanne does for Kariya. Pittsburgh has several forwards with a clue, but it also has more extras than there were in Titanic.


"There are probably four ways to play Jagr, all of them wrong," Montreal assistant coach Dave King says. "He's the toughest player in hockey to devise a game plan against."
Michael Farber, SI, 2000:

With 32 goals and 39 assists in 39 games through Sunday, Jagr was close to a 150-point pace and was leading the league in both categories, something not achieved outright since Wayne Gretzky did it 13 years ago. Night after night Jagr finds not only open ice but also the inherent joy of his sport. He dances and dazzles, getting seven points against the hapless New York Islanders in one game, derailing the powerful Detroit Red Wings with a goal and an assist in the next, and, in the match after that, twisting New Jersey Devils checker Claude Lemieux into a pretzel by putting the puck through Lemieux's legs at the Penguins' blue line and creating a three-on-two. Jagr, with sturdy haunches that make him all but impossible to bump off the puck, puts on That '80s Show for almost 82 games a season. He's setting hockey back more than 10 years.

"The game in the 1980s was played with the puck," Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Glenn Healy says. "In the '90s it became a game of often willingly losing possession, of dumping the puck in and moving the battle to other areas, such as behind the net and in the corners. Jagr is an '80s player because he holds on to the puck and tries to make plays. He won't give it up until there is absolutely no other play, which isn't often, because he has the ability to make something out of nothing, even a one-on-three. As a goalie you're always aware of Jagr's presence on the ice."

Jagr's scoring rampage in an era of constipated hockey has ended debate about who is the NHL's best player. "With no disrespect to the other guys," says New Jersey defenseman Ken Daneyko, a 15-year veteran, "you've got [Eric] Lindros, [Paul] Kariya, [Teemu] Selanne and [Peter] Forsberg here, and Jagr head and shoulders above them, up there." That assessment was implicitly endorsed by Gretzky last April when he blessed Jagr with a private word during the Great One's retirement ceremony. "Maybe that's why I play good right now," Jagr said last week, his face crinkling in merriment as he sat at his locker. "I don't want to make Wayne a liar."

Kostya Kennedy, SI, 2000:

When SI asked NHL coaches in September, "Who is the best all-around player in the world?" 19 of the 26 respondents named Penguins right wing Jaromir Jagr. The other seven coaches fell into one of those hard-to-figure minorities, like the one dentist in five who does not recommend sugarless gum for his patients who chew gum.

Michael Farber, SI, 2006:
You can rhapsodize about the casual excellence of the Detroit Red Wings or the explosiveness of the Ottawa Senators, but the ideal jumping-off point for the 2006 NHL playoffs, and there is just no getting around it, figuratively and often literally, is Jaromir Jagr's booty. His derriere is large enough to cause a lunar eclipse, J. Lo-esque in its amplitude and wondrously utilitarian. When he is parked at the right half boards on the power play, Jagr can turn his formidable backside--"You can hang a license plate off it," New York Rangers coach Tom Renney marvels--and protect the puck for five, 15 or however many seconds he chooses until he spots a vacant passing lane or identifies a moment when he can easily wheel to the net. His rhythm. His whim. The game and, to some extent, the playoffs proceed at the discretion of a 6'3", 245-pound right wing with impossibly thick haunches, a player who is the NHL's top scorer since 1990 and whom New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur calls the best he has ever faced.

* - some of this material shamelessly stolen from overpass' earlier bio

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