Feb 24, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT
With the Devils right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff chance, Peter DeBoer is worried about what effect the Sochi experience will have on Jaromir Jagr.
“You worry, for sure,” DeBoer said, per NorthJersey.com. “He got back on Thursday, so we gave him Friday, Saturday, Sunday off. He’s back out here today. I’m probably more worried about it than him. When you speak to him about it, he sees it as a non-issue and his play seems to have backed that up.”
Jagr, 42, has been New Jersey’s best player this year, leading the team in goals (17), assists (32) and points (49). It’s actually scary to think where the Devils would be without Jagr’s contributions, which is why DeBoer’s highly concerned about keeping him fresh.
The Olympics did little to alleviate those concerns.
Jagr logged big minutes for the Czechs, playing five games in seven days while averaging over 17 minutes a night. He, along with fellow Devils veteran Marek Zidlicky, were two of the team’s biggest workhorses — DeBoer also mentioned the toll Sochi took on Zidlicky — and both now face a stretch drive in which New Jersey will play 23 games over the next 48 days.
DeBoer is acutely aware of what lies ahead.
“We have six back to backs left,” he explained. “So, you worry about it, yeah.”
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