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Bruins already feeling 'Jagr Karma'

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  April 3, 2013 05:00 AM

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No, that wasn't Jaromir Jagr Jr. the Bruins picked up Tuesday. He's the original.

Back in the day, Jesus saved, but Espo scored on the rebound.

This time it was Peter Chiarelli scoring on the rebound. He picked up the NHL's resident playing legend, current active points leader and 41-year-old Jagr just a few days after the Jarome Iginla deal melted like Spy Pond in April. And his team responded with a 3-2 victory over Ottawa at the TD Garden. Just wait until Jagr plays.

To get Jagr, the Bruins traded Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne to Dallas along with a conditional second-round draft pick in this year's NHL Draft. Now I'm sure there's a Theo Epstein wanna-be out there cringing over the loss of MacDermid's plus-minus in 2016. Unless any of these players end up being the next Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton or Jeff Bagwell, there's no reason to worry about this deal.

The Bruins are loaded with talent and unrealized potential, especially on offense and the power play. Jagr, even if he's exiled to the third line, will make things better just by being here. He will no doubt elevate the game of all those around him, especially in this environment. People with 679 goals tend to do that.

Don't take my word for that assumption. Just ask young Seguin, who came into this world on Jan. 31, 1992. That was 16 months after Jagr's first NHL game. Seguin offered some youthful wisdom on courtesy of State Run Media after the game: "I know he entered the league a couple of years before I was born so I will be watching him closely," he said on NESN's "Bruins Overtime Live."

When Jagr broke into the NHL:

  • George Bush was president. No, not that George Bush, but his father.
  • East and West Germany had been re-untied for all of five weeks.
  • American troops were pouring into Kuwait in preparation for the first Gulf War.
  • Rod Rust was coaching the Patriots.
  • Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and Craig Janney led the Bruins in points.
  • You were either not born or a lot younger than you are now.

Then there's this piece of history via Twitter, which started 15 1/2 years after Jagr's NHL career:

Yes, that's a 10-year-old Milan Lucic with his brothers and Jagr in a photo taken in 1998. Lucic's uncle, Dan Kesa, set up the quick photo op and Lucic still has the photo in his childhood bedroom in British Columbia.

Jagr has 14 goals this season, which ties him for the Bruins lead in that category with Brad Marchand. Lucic has five. Maybe Looch needed to take some Polaroids (kids, ask your parents about those) with Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux.

His addition is perhaps the best single personnel move the Bruins could have made to get Lucic out of his scoring malaise. Imagine playing next to your childhood idol and having him say: "Come on, kid. Step it up!" That would beat Claude's best motivational speech any day.

Jagr and the Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1991-92. The last time he faced the Bruins in the postseason was on May 23, 1992. On that Saturday, the Penguins finished their 4-0 sweep of the Bruins in the Eastern, er, Wales Conference finals.

The previous night, Johnny Carson hosted "The Tonight Show" for the final time. Carson was replaced by Jay Leno, but only after NBC went through a tumultuous succession process, setting up a legendary battle between Leno and David Letterman that has not diminished over time. Wednesday, on the eve of Jagr's first game with the Bruins, NBC and Leno announced he will replaced by Jimmy Fallon.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Throughout Leno's reign, Jagr's skills, talent or devastating good looks have not markedly diminished. About the only thing Jagr has changed over the years is his hair. Gone is the mullet that punctuated his style - and so many others - in the 1990s.

Bruins fans who want to give Jagr a special welcome on Thursday might want to check out this clip from the Stars-Flames game in Calgary on Feb. 13.

Just wearing your mullet might not be enough to catch his eye.

The getting a future-Hall-of-Famer-at-the-tail-end-of-his-career strategy has worked in the past.

The arrival of then 40-year-old Mark Recchi in 2008 proved to be a huge bonus for the Bruins in the 2011 Cup run.

Ray Bourque was granted asylum in Denver in March of 2000 after 20-plus seasons in Boston. He averaged more than 27 minutes per game on the ice the remainder of that season and 26 the next. Bourque and the Avalanche went on to win their lone Stanley Cup in 2001, which Bourque prompty shared with 15,000 or so of his closest friends at City Hall Plaza that summer.

Jags (Can we call him that even though he hasn't played a game yet?) seems the perfect piece for this team - a very-seasoned veteran who knows how to help generate offense and win May and June. The Stars had spent several months trying to resign Jagr, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. But they gave up on that once their season became Texas toast. He wasn't dumped on anyone.

He will be wearing his trademark No. 68 in Boston Thursday night when the Bruins play host to New Jersey. The Bruins turned in a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Senators Tuesday night as the home crowd was abuzz with optimism over Jagr's pending arrival. Nathan Horton scored the game-winner on a wicked rebound 10:21 into the third period. Despite the low score, the game was a wild shootout, which the Bruins won after withstanding a 6-4 advantage in the final minute.

They skated off to a rousing ovation at the TD Garden.

Call it a case of "Jagr Karma."

And it feels pretty good.

As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or e-mail me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com.

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