Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Jappy Jagr

Is it any wonder that Jaromir Jagr is now a superstar scorer after the NHL cracked down on hooking and holding? Not Really. Jagr has always had the potential to be a great goal scorer and produce goals on a consistent basis. In 46 games with the Capitals during the '03-'04 season, before being traded to New York, Jagr accumulated a mere 16 goals. This season, in 13 games, he has already managed 12.

Jagr is an elite European player, which means when it comes to playing in the North American style (i.e. smaller rinks, hooking, holding), Jagr would get frustrated. Watching him play in D.C., Jagr would be hooked and held extensively in the first half of the game. Then he just gave up. Spending the rest of the game along the boards and dumping the puck.

In Pittsburgh, Jagr could depend on Mario Lemieux to give him the space needed to play well. It was the support he needed in Washington, someone to take the sticks so Jagr had room to create. However, for the Capitals, Jagr was the one that had to take the sticks, and that role didn't fit well with him there.

Now that the North American style of play has been laid aside, Jagr is finding new life, and space, to score goals. Helping the Rangers to take 3rd in the Eastern Conference standings. A surprise since many thought the Rangers were to be the worst team in the league.

Many players that have played well in the league before almost look like a fish out of water. Players that had the ability to create with a stick in their belly, now look like they almost don't know what to do with the puck when it lands on their sticks. John Leclair is one of those players that would grind it out in front of the net and get garbage goals. Now his muscle has to be used for something else.

Players like Leclair, or Mark Recchi will soon start to adapt. They are great players that know the game of hockey, it will just take time. Jagr on the other hand made the transition rather quickly, and the Rangers are benefiting.

-- Other Notes --
  • The Capitals have now taken legal matters against Alexander Semin, saying he was in breach of contract. Both Semin and his agent are being sued for failure to report to the Caps. General Manager George McPhee used this only as a "last resort" against the talented forward. Go get 'em George!
  • Mats Sundin will practice with his teammates after the Maple Leaf star's left orbital bone was broken after a puck hit him in the face. No word on when he will be able to play again or if he will be wearing a visor. He will probably do both.
  • The Carolina Hurricanes maybe the Southeast Division's new power house. The Hurricanes have an Eastern Conference best 8-2-1. It's definitely Hurricane season.
  • Rich Hammond explains how things aren't that rosy for the NHL. He makes a few valid points.

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