Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Meet the Rangers (Part I)

Hey Kids! It’s “Meet the Rangers,” brought to you by Christina and Kerri! Throughout the season, we’re going to introduce you to some of our big guys. The first Ranger we’d like to introduce, however, needs no introduction.

Jaromir Jagr:

Background: Jagr was the fifth overall draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992. Following Mario Lemieux’s (first) retirement, Jagr became the captain of the Penguins. During the 00-01 season, Jagr had trouble producing and rumors flew that he couldn't get along with the Pens coach. Despite Lemieux’s return and to Pittsburgh’s dismay, he held on to the captaincy. In July of 2001 the Penguins traded Jagr and Frantisek Kucera to the Washington Capitals for Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuk. Things did not go according to plan with the Caps, either. Despite the Capitals signing Jagr to a 77 million dollar contract over 7 years, Jagr did not produce the way he did with the Penguins (although the Capitals in general did not produce the way they were expected to). Rumor spread that Jagr was a locker room cancer, who sulked more often than scored. Jagr continues to dispute the allegations that he did not make his best effort during his stay with the Capitals. By 2003 Capitals management had had enough and started shopping Jagr around the market. In the midst of trade negotiations, tax and gambling troubles surfaced. Finally, the Capitals were able to trade Jagr for Anson Carter with the New York Rangers, who were in the midst of dumping their team of overpriced veterans in January of 2003.

New York Rangers: Ranger fans collectively groaned when it was announced that Jaromir Jagr would be coming to the Big Apple. They had a while to stew on it however; the 2004-2005 season was locked out due to a labor dispute. In 05-06, the Rangers remained captain-less while retiring Mark Messier’s number 11, but Jagr proved he was the man for the job. Jagr finished with 123 points, 54 goals, and 24 power-play goals. Although swept in the first round, the Rangers had made the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Jagr took the captaincy in the 2006-2007 season, and again led the Rangers in goals, including notching his 600th career goal and 1500th career point.

Current: The Rangers captain is currently posting 3 goals, a team-high 12 assists, 8 penalty minutes and a neutral +/-.

Accomplishments: I had originally listed them all, but this post is turning into a novel. Hey, there’s a lot to say about Jags. Anyway, here’s a bit of it; Two Time Stanley Cup Winner, Hart Trophy Winner, Art Ross Trophy Winner, Lester B. Pearson Award Winner, constant All Star Team Invitee, and several NHL records, including fun things like most consecutive 70 or more point seasons (including the 94-95 lockout season!), and most regular season points by a non-Canadian player. He also holds some Rangers records, such as most regular season goals and points by a Rangers player.

Our Thoughts:
Kerri: Jaromir Jagr is one of my favorite current Rangers. Despite his attitude, Jagr brings so much to the table. Although he doesn’t dominate the game like he used to, he still can make a team’s defense look like they are standing still. He has a great sense of humor but takes losing personally; when he wants to win he does everything in his power to do so. His biggest drawbacks are his occasional attitude problem, and his unwillingness to play North-South style hockey, which is currently hurting the Rangers (as we lost Nylander for Gomez and Drury). But Jagr leads his team by example, which is (usually) a positive one. Despite what the so-called “experts” on Versus think, this is Jagr’s team, not Shanahan’s, something Shanahan has never contested, and in fact, has defended. While Shanahan is probably the guy giving the speech in the locker room, Jagr leads by being the last to leave the ice during practice and by setting up those huge goals. Plus, no one cracks a joke like Jagr. Except for maybe Sean Avery. (More on him, later.) There are a lot of people to thank for the Rangers no longer being the biggest joke in the league, but I give the majority of the credit to JJ.

Christina: Like with any trade to the NYR, I am skeptical of new members who have established themselves on other teams, and it takes a while and many good plays for me to start liking them. JJ is no exception. One of the reasons I like the NYR is the relatively low number of divas on the team, but if there had to be one, it would be JJ. He is moody, he refuses to participate in shootouts, he pouts, and he lets it affect his game, which is taboo when you are the captian. But...just when I think I can stand no more from him, he makes the clutch play that turns the game around, jacks up all his teammates, and becomes the true leader. He is my Cap'n Clutch (as opposed to Drury - more on him later, too), and as with any man, I love one with a sense of humor. Makes him human (in addition to the mood swings). My overall feeling on him runs hot and cold, but if he keeps good on his intentions to excel in the playoffs, it will lean more toward the former.


Lucky13 said...

In case anyone's wondering:

Christina = Lucky13

Ellie said...

ooo excellent post!

sometimes I feel like the only Pittsburgh native that actually likes Jagr. which I don't really get. I lovveee watching him play (I have a thing for finesse players though...). After Mario retired the first time, he was the bread and butter of our team. Nothing could touch the line he was on with Straka. It was just goal after goal...

He is a diva no doubt. Sometimes I like to use the emo word "misunderstood" when it comes to describing Jagr. He really has brought so much to the game. It usually just gets hidden behind all the off ice crap. FSN is doing a special on him sometime this week.

Cap'n Clutch - haha!

Shan said...

I just traded Jagr in my fantasy league.

Sasky said...

Rangers Mmmm. I'm all about the Staal and the Dubs.