"Jagr´s new character can lead Rangers to the promised land"
Today, the Rangers faithful gives Jagr a standing ovation every time he is on the ice.
Jaromir Jagr was only supposed to be one of many former superstars which came here and treated New York as the wealthy elderly treat Florida.
In reality, Jaromir Jagr is not only better than ever, he has shown the type of character which will lead him to the Promised Land.
Hockey fans in New York City shrugged their shoulders in despair when the Rangers during the end of last season, the one before the dumb conflict, acquired Jaromir Jagr.
A superstar came to town, sure. But they have had the dubious pleasure of making acquaintance with those before. Lindros, Gretzky, Pavel Bure, Patrick Kluivert, Bobby Holik….. and their lack of interest in anything besides their impudently large pay check was one of the living symbols for the dark ages of the Garden.
When number 68 moved to Manhattan people expected that he would also share the same faith.
But they were wrong.
Today the Garden crowd stands and cheers Jaromir Jagr every time he is on the ice.
“MVP! MVP! MVP!” was the chant this Saturday.
He had then, just registered point number 100, becoming the first player this year to reach that mark.
Now also a great leader.
Fact of the matter is that the Czech is now at the same level as he was during the classical Penguins years of the early 90´s.
But not only does he score a bunch, delivers passes worthy of a healthy Peter Forsberg and plays an astonishing hockey.
He has also been a powerful leader in this Rangers team that has been reborn.
During this golden year at the 7th avenue that has been the most surprising.
One has the image of Jagr as an eccentric, selfish diva, one that only plays for himself and his salary, not giving his team-mates much attention.
But it has now been told that he immediately after the first workout of this year´s training camp stood up in the locker room and explained that he was now looking at a bunch of individuals who he thought should be able to make the playoffs.
Transformed into Messier.
That a united front of experts on the other hand saw a group of men who would helplessly finish dead last in the entire NHL made no difference what so ever to him.
The 34 year old had apparently realized that there was an opportunity here, to build a true team of this (up to this point) marginally successful roster as long as the right attitude was in place. In the game versus Washington last week we could also see how “JJ” transformed into Mark Messier. The team had yet again squandered a steady lead and was headed towards its six straight loss (Actually seventh). At that particular moment, Jaromir Jagr stood in front of the bench and let the whole team have it. Then he went out there and captured the puck and skated up along his beloved right wing side and forced, like a Jonas Bergvist, in the game winning goal.
Its called character.
And by spreading these attributes around himself he will be able to lead his team all the way to…. Well. The dreaming has already begun in New York. A bit inflated perhaps.
No matter how fond I have become of the New York Rangers and how much I love following Henrik Lundqvist´s success story, I find it difficult to believe how they will legitimately challenge the likes of the Hurricanes and Red Wings for the Stanley Cup title.
But they have Jaromir Jagr.
Which is why its not impossible that new miracles will occur on Manhattan.
Marcus, that's an awesome article. Thanks, dude. The article reflects pretty much the same feelings that many of Ranger fans have. From the failure that a lot of people have expected the Jagr experiment and this team to be, to the success that the Rangers and Jagr personally is.