Blog Entry

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:11 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 10:27 pm
 
JagrBy: Adam Gretz

It's been over 10 years since the Czech Republic was one of the top hockey powers on the planet, winning Gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics and boasting an impressive list of NHL players. Over the years their numbers across the NHL have dropped significantly. Last season there were just 42 players from the Czech Republic to appear in the NHL, down from their peak of 78 during the 2001-02 season.

Perhaps the best Czech player ever, Jaromir Jagr, (I say perhaps because you can make an argument for Dominik Hasek in that discussion) will be returning to the NHL this season as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers after spending the past three seasons playing in Russia. And also after what was a highly entertaining and, at the same time, maddening free agency courtship earlier this summer.

Between 1997 and 2008, which was Jagr's last year in the NHL, he was the top scoring player from the Czech Republic in the NHL in eight of those seasons, and the two years he wasn't (2002-03 and 2003-04, also two of the worst seasons of his career) he finished third and fourth respectively.

Can he return to the top of the list in 2011 after a three-year stop in the KHL?

The top-scoring Czech player last season was a three-way tie between Martin Havlat, David Krejci and Patrik Elias with 62 points, and 2009-10 it was Tomas Plekanec with 70. In Jagr's last NHL appearance three years ago he scored 71 with the Rangers, which led the team .

I guess the question becomes whether or not Jagr can still be a 60-70 point player at the age of 39. During his stay in the KHL he was nearly a point-per-game player over the three-year stretch, and finished in the top-10 in scoring twice, including this past season. It's obviously a different style of play on a different playing surface and in what seems to be lower-scoring league, so it's not exactly easy to see how the production would translate.

We've seen elite players like Teemu Selanne and Nicklas Lidstrom continue to put up huge numbers in the NHL at the age of 39 and beyond (Selanne, for example, recorded 80 points last season as a 40-year-old), and Jagr was certainly an elite player during his time in the NHL. And even though he wasn't in the league the past three years, he was still playing hockey in what is probably the second-best league in the world. He also showed he can still play against a high level of competition during the 2010 Olympics, as well as the most recent World Championships.

This season he's going to have a chance to be one of the top offensive weapons (along with Claude Giroux and youngsters like James vanRiemsdyk) on a retooled Flyers team that should still score its share of goals, even if they don't look anywhere near as dangerous -- on paper, anyway -- as they did before trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

It's a bit of a mystery for sure, and it's hard to figure out what to expect. He's certainly not as explosive or fast as he was during his prime, but it's hard to believe his hands and offensive skill have deteriorated to the point that he won't still able to put in between 50 and 60 points, and perhaps more, assuming he stays injury free.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Comments
kkjyywlpo
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 2:33 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Aug 15, 2011
Posted on: August 17, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

I'd bet any money by the trade deadline half of the Flyers fans will be screaming to get rid of him. 

I imagine his numbers will probably look something like this around March 2012

Goals:  9
Assists: 26
+/-   -8
Avg Ice time 12.5/game
GP   34

Question to you Mr. Pesimist.

Is Jagr fat, 5;4, handicap and blind?

How do you see a player that is still in great shape and that is one of the greatest offensive players of all time only getting 9 goals and only playing 34 games?

Jagr's career low in goals 25.

Jagr's career low in Pts is 57 (rookie season when he was 18 and playing on the 4th line)

Jagr's career low in games played is 48 in 1994-95 (lockout season).

Jagr's career low in +/- is -4 which was also in his rookie season.

If it was 2000 and Gretzky was making his comeback, would you give him such low ball expectations?

How do you honestly see Jagr doing this bad?

Is Selanne better than Jagr? Was he ever better than Jagr? The answer is not for both, yet Selanne at age 40 (he's 1 year older than Jagr, smaller, weaker, less skilled than Jagr) put up 80 Pts in 73 games.

So Jagr is going to play the worst of his career?



Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

I'd bet any money by the trade deadline half of the Flyers fans will be screaming to get rid of him. 

I imagine his numbers will probably look something like this around March 2012

Goals:  9
Assists: 26
+/-   -8
Avg Ice time 12.5/game
GP   34



Since: Aug 15, 2011
Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:17 am
 

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

FYI

Day-by-day it's so much pressure," said Jagr. "I don't know how to describe it. If I would be on the third or fourth line, I would probably be in the NHL because you don't have to produce every night.

"After a while, you just need a rest. You know, clear your head."

It was something he first got to experience while splitting his time between the Czech and Russian leagues during the NHL lockout in 2004-05.

He had 54 goals and 123 points the following season for the Rangers.

"I think when I came back I was playing the best hockey in awhile," said Jagr. "I almost won the MVP, I finished second, even the scoring (title). Mentally, it's tough in the NHL -- you have to produce on a high level and everybody expects you to because you make a lot of money.

"I never minded it, I always wanted to be that guy. But it's not easy to play in the NHL for 82 games plus playoffs in such pressure."

Jagr was almost above point-per-game player for Omsk this season, finishing with 19 goals and 51 points in 49 games. He's also been the top Czech player at the world championship even though he's more than three years older than any of his teammates.

All and all, he doesn't look or sound like a guy that is ready to pack it in.

"I love the game, this is no problem," said Jagr. "I work harder than I ever did in my life, this is no problem."

He won five scoring titles and a Hart Trophy during an NHL career that saw him amass 1,599 career points. Jagr was also a three-time winner of the Lester B. Pearson Trophy as league MVP according to the players.

The most memorable experiences of his career were the two Stanley Cups he won in Pittsburgh.

Jagr wore one of his championship rings while speaking to a group of reporters on Thursday night.

"I've still got it for luck," he said of the ring.

It sounds like one of the few things that could keep him from trying to make a return to the top of the NHL scoring ranks are injuries.

"I'll be ready to dominate if I stay healthy," said Jagr. "I've got no problem with it because I'm practising a lot harder than I ever did in my life."




Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: August 15, 2011 8:41 pm
 

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

But with a legitimate good goalie in Ilya Bryzgalov and still a good defense, they're the team to beat in the East (again). 
How can they be the team in the East to beat again, when the Capitals have won the East the last 2 years? 

Btw, Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL? I consulted my magic 8 ball and the answer is "All signs point to NO!"



Since: Aug 15, 2011
Posted on: August 15, 2011 7:28 pm
 

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

Apollo_Creed12 you say Selanne is faster than Jagr and that is why he fits better. Where was Selanne the 3 years before 2010-11? He was sitting rehabing injuries and had problems with his knee.

Jagr is actually faster now than he was at any time post-lockout. In fact in 2005-06 when Jagr scored 54 goals and had 123 Pts he was 245 lbs, was slow and didn't get a single breakaway goal.

Jagr is now 225 lbs and skating on the big ice in the KHL for 3 years has made Jagr focus on his skating and conditioning once again and is a much more fit, faster player now than he was in 2007-08 without a doubt.

It's possible for a player to regain some speed even at age 39, especially in Jagr's case, speed hasn't been a part of his game since he left Pittsburgh yet we saw get 123 Pts and 96 Pts respectively at ages 34 and 35.

He's fresh, he's 100% healthy, he has far less wear and tear for not having to play through the grind of an NHL season for 3 years now and he's highly motivated.


This is a quote from Jagr recently.

 Q: Can you compare the level of play in the KHL to the NHL?
“I’ve always said that the league is a totally different game on the big ice. That’s why there’s so many great players who play on the small ice that when they come on the big ice, they can’t play. It’s a totally different game. It’s tough to compare. If you had asked me three years ago, I would have told you I love to play on the small ice. I played there for 17 years. I felt a lot stronger than anybody, and I can play on the boards. It was a lot easier for me to play hockey on the small ice. But when I get to the big ice, I had to get used to it. I couldn’t play the same style. I had to change, had skate a lot more. You cannot stand. You have to skate a lot more. <span style="color: red;">I think I’m better than I was, but you have to skate all the time. If you stand there, you don’t have a chance to play on the big ice.



Since: Jul 17, 2011
Posted on: August 15, 2011 6:34 pm
 

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

if he plays with G the sky is the limit



Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: August 15, 2011 6:16 pm
 

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

The Flyers are taking a chane on Jager, as they went after the stopper in the net.The Flyers gave up a lot to  combat what Boston has in goal. Flyers are hoping Jager has something left in the tank to make up for the lose of Richards and Carter. And with good goaltending and the liks of Jager can make a run at Boston in playoffs next season. At least thats what they are thinking anyway?



Since: Aug 25, 2008
Posted on: August 15, 2011 6:00 pm
 

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

Jagr was an excellent player and is still a very good player, however, he won't be the top Czech point getter in 2011-2012. Out of the three players who scored 62 pts last year (Czech players that is), Elias will probably decrease his point total but the other two could easily increase near or into the 70 point plateau. Krejci has been improving every year and judging by his playoff performance last year, he's poised to reach 70-75 pts this year. Krejci reminds me of Claude Giroux a few years ago when he had a great playoffs and the next year he shot up the NHL points rankings with a great season. Havlat has reached higher point totals and he is still at his peak so he might reach 70 pts too. One could use the argument that Selanne still produces at an advanced age but you can't compare the two players. Selanne produces because he still has great speed and he fits well in a faster NHL. As for Jagr, he's gotten slower in the past few years and I'm sure he'll have a tougher time making the transition to the North American style of play. I'm predicting a season of about 60 pts for Jagr. 



Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: August 15, 2011 4:18 pm
 

Can Jagr be top scoring Czech player in NHL?

No one will ever second guess Jagr's talents. He is however too far gone to be a top scorer in the league. That being said, he is a valuable asset to the Flyers and a solid addition to a struggling PP.

He will score points. Let's not get ahead of ourselves when we start throwing big numbers like 80 out there.

Gedmud


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com