BOSTON -- Bruins veteran forward Jaromir Jagr has been battling a serious case of the flu the last few days, and even though he’s feeling better and practiced with the team Tuesday morning at TD Garden, he was hoping for at least one more day of rest before the Stanley Cup playoffs begin.
“I felt like s---, man,” Jagr said. “I was hoping we were going to play Thursday. That’s the strongest flu I ever had.”
Jagr first felt sick prior to the Bruins’ game at Philadelphia on April 23, but he played through it that game, and again the next game against Tampa Bay on April 25. Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to give him the final two games off of the regular season in order to rest and recuperate.
Jagr will be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night at the Garden. This will be the 41-year-old’s 17th appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs. When asked if he’ll play any different given his past experience, the two-time Cup winner said no.
“It’s a tough question,” he said. “I’ve never thought about it. I don’t see any differences in the way I play. The only difference I see is it’s more exciting from the fans’ side, from the media side and every mistake, or every good play will make more of a difference. You can be a bigger hero or you can be a bigger zero.”
Since he arrived in Boston at the April 3 trade deadline, Jagr played a total of 11 games for the Bruins. During that stretch the team finished 5-6-2, but the future Hall of Famer believes this team can be better.
“It’s all up to us, the way I see it,” Jagr said. “If we play the best hockey we can play, we can beat a lot of teams, maybe not everybody, but that’s why I’m saying it’s up to us. We didn’t do it, we didn’t play our best hockey the last 10 games. Something was always missing. We didn’t score goals or we made bad decisions. We never played a full 60-minute game at our best. That could be a good thing to know if you play your best hockey, you might have a very good chance to win.”
In 180 career playoff games, Jagr has 78 goals and 111 assists for 189 points and the Bruins could use that type of production against the Leafs.