Sunday, May 5, 2013
Julien not worried about Jagr's struggles
By James Murphy
BOSTON -- Jaromir Jagr has been a nonfactor through two games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series between the Bruins and Maple Leafs.
Jagr had nine points in 11 regular-season games after being traded to the Bruins at the April 3 trade deadline, but he's been quiet so far in the playoffs. While some are starting to wonder if Father Time has caught up to the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer, Bruins head coach Claude Julien doesn't believe that is the case.
"I think there's a lot of things that come into play here," Julien said after practice Sunday before he and his team headed to Toronto for Games 3 and 4. "Number one, he came, as you know, at the trade deadline; he missed the last couple of games; and he's never had the same linemates. To his defense, it's important to have some cohesion with your linemates and stuff like that, and our first two lines have been pretty, I guess, been together for a long time. They're playing well, they're generating stuff, so right now it's about trying to build some chemistry with some players and we keep trying to find players to complement him a little bit.
"At the same time, like I said, he battled a pretty tough flu there a week ago. I know that he's not feeling 100 percent yet, but we're certainly counting on him. The other part, too, is he's been great for us on the power play, but we only had eight seconds last night, so he's not able to show too, too much with eight seconds of power-play time. That's one of his strengths, as well."
Julien alluded to Jagr's first 11 games here as proof the veteran can still utilize his skills and compete. Julien also thinks that Jagr, who has 189 points in 182 playoff games, will find his game soon.
"A little bit of everything," Julien said. "He was skating well and certainly when he came here, you look at his first goal, he made a great pass and drove the net, went off his skates and into the net, but he was skating well. At the same time, we're seeing teams have a tough time getting pucks off him, and that's what he does, that's what he does well. That's why I say, it's a little bit more than just the fact that it's playoff time. It's a little bit of, I don't think he's 100 percent yet, and I know he's told us he doesn't feel 100 percent yet, but certainly we hope to see that because he's a good player."