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Jagr leaves first Devils practice with ‘soreness’

Sep 12, 2013, 1:44 PM EDT

Jaromir Jagr AP

Jaromir Jagr‘s time in New Jersey is off to an inauspicious start.

The 41-year-old forward left his first on-ice appearance with the Devils prematurely, with what the club is calling “soreness,” according to NHL.com:

Jagr seemed to be wincing a short time after taking the ice with his group here at AmeriHealth Pavilion.

He was skating on a line with Travis Zajac and Patrik Elias before he left the ice and did not return.

While it’s not unusual for a 41-year-old to experience some soreness after months of inactivity, Jagr is no usual 41-year-old.

Last year, he played 34 games with Kladno in the Czech league and another 34 with Dallas before getting dealt to Boston. From there, Jagr appeared in 11 regular season contests with the Bruins, then 22 playoff games.

So, 101 games all told.

It was also a year in which his rigorous training practices — late-night workouts, after-hours access to rinks — came to light.

Here’s more on that, from CBC’s Elliotte Friedman:

“The first time I found out (about the late-night routine), I arrived at the rink first thing in the morning…and saw this huge mess of Jagr’s gear soaking wet on the ground. He’s, uh, kind of a messy guy,” [Flyers head equipment manager Derek] Settlemyre said, and you can tell he’s smiling at the memory.

“It wouldn’t be like our guys to leave that. So I asked him if he forgot to get his stuff washed. He said, ‘Oh no buddy, that was last night. I came in around 11.’

“We had a key made for him. He would do double workouts, even after games.”

Here’s another anecdote, from Dallas Magazine:

A few days before the first game, he landed in Dallas and shirked the team’s offers to find him an upscale apartment near downtown Dallas.

Instead, Jagr rented a room at an extended-stay hotel for $169-a-night. He asked management for a key to the rink, and on the team’s nights off, sometimes well after 10 pm, Jagr would go by himself to the ice to skate.

In Dallas, team officials latched onto the Jagr-as-mentor storyline.

He runs drills after games and the young guys join in, hopping from leg to leg outside the locker room, skating extra reps of sprints in between the blue and red lines, or swinging around a small circle weight on the end of their hockey sticks.

This past postseason, pics of Jagr going for a late night skate have popped up (see here), as did some showing him in a weighted vest (see here), a 30-pound flak jacket he wears for strength and conditioning.

  1. 950003cups - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    The guy couldn’t last through warm-ups? It’s gonna be a loooong season!

  2. amityvillefun - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Don’t read into it too much. He had a layoff and has to shake the rust off and get back into game shape. Old cars sometimes take a little longer to start up. :)

  3. terrier92 - Sep 12, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    I just loved this guy with the Bruins. Really enjoyed watching him live. At 41 yeah slow but what skill and head for the game. Gotta luv a rink rat. Hope for the best for him.

  4. nj666 - Sep 12, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Maybe he just had to drop the crosby kids off at the pool. I’ve seen that happen before. To quote a sir jeff goldbloom in the 1993 hit movie Jurassic park- “When you gota go, you gota go.”

  5. amityvillefun - Sep 12, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    lol…”Crosby kids.” I always knew he was related directly to “Mr. Hankey.”

  6. hosewater2 - Sep 12, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    So then the Bruins hometown homer chimes in on Twitter:
    “Not really shocked to see Jagr pull himself out of 1st camp session after he pulled out of SCF Game 6 while teammate played w/collapsed lung”

    Come on guys, it’s training camp. I for one am cutting a 41yo vet some slack.

    • amityvillefun - Sep 12, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      A few Bruins fans are cutting him slack…see above.

      He wasn’t exactly chased out of town. But he didn’t score the timely goals when we needed them either. Fans in Boston overall seemed to like him and wanted to see him succeed.

  7. pfhockey - Sep 12, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    He should take some games off like Selanne.

  8. bikesgonewild - Sep 12, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    …if one can’t appreciate 41 year old jagr, no matter what team he plays for, one might not be a serious hockey fan…lost a step ???…sure but as others have pointed out, his skillset, his game knowledge in any given situation & his enthusiasm are inspiring…

  9. rjkilla - Sep 12, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    BEAST

  10. theskinsman - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    Lost a step years ago. Transplant his mind into a young,healthy players,and he’d be great. His ship sailed a long time ago.His fans watch him and make excuses. People who speak the truth know he’s a liability after 30 seconds. He can’t skate with the league anymore. That doesn’t make me less of a hockey fan, it makes me honest.

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