NEW YORK -- Nearly two hours after the Boston Bruins gained a 2-0 lead in this Eastern Conference semifinal series against the New York Rangers Sunday night at TD Garden, Bruins veteran forward Jaromir Jagr was on the ice skating all by himself.
The rink was dimly lit, but the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer was on the ice with no nets. He was wearing a weighted vest and weights on his skates. He was skating hard and stick handling. During one of his breaks, a reporter asked him if this is something he does often.
“My entire career,” he said.
“You have to let Jaromir take care of Jaromir because he knows his body and he knows himself,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Right now it’s about guys feeling good about themselves and whatever it takes, it takes. I’m going to give days off when I feel it’s needed and this morning is an optional and [Jagr] isn’t out there, so he’s saving it for tonight.
“I have no issues with that. He’s done that his whole career and certainly not going to stop him at this stage. Let him do what he has to do. He’s a guy who demands a lot of himself and he’s been a good asset to us. Our second line started producing when he got there and sometimes it’s about a guy having so much respect from other teams, there’s more room for other guys and they’re making plays. So even if he’s not on the score sheet, or you don’t see him score those goals, he has an impact. He’s been a real good addition.”
Marchand and the rest of the Bruins have been impressed with the veteran’s work ethic.
“He’s one of the best players to ever play the game and he still continues to show why,” Marchand said. “He’s done so well and works so hard on his game, on and off the ice, we see it in the gym, we see it in practice. He’s a treat to watch and us young guys can learn a lot from him.”
Marchand was then asked if he could practice only a few hours after a playoff game.
“I don’t want to do that,” Marchand said with a laugh. “Maybe when I’m a little older I may need to do that but I’ll stay away from that right now.”