Friday, October 07, 2005


Is Yammy back?

Caught the end of the Rangers-Habs game last night while reading Birthday Monsters to my 18-month-old eight or fifteen times in a row (the upside to this otherwise mind-numbing repetition is that, after the 100th time or so, you don't actually have to be looking at the book to read it).

I'll actually be taking a favourable and augmented interest in the Rangers this year (and setting aside my feelings about the brains behind their operation). For one, I picked them to make the playoffs, and like most people, I prefer not to look like an idiot. For two, I ended up with Jagr in my hockey draft (2nd round - 36th pick overall - I find that amazing). And for three, my 2nd goalie in my draft is Kevin Weekes (no prizes for guessing who my #1 is, selected with my 1st round pick).

Anyway, what I saw of Jagr looked pretty good. Rucinsky fanned on a terrific cross-crease pass from Jagr, after they tied it up, that should have won the game for them.

I've always thought Jagr got a bit of a bad rap for his lack of toughness - the past three years aside, it's simply untrue. I still think the greatest individual performance I've ever seen was Jagr in that 4OT playoff game against the Caps in '96. Mario got tossed in the 2nd period (for kicking, as I recall), and for the remainder of the game (over 5 full periods), I'm sure Jagr was out there for half of it. He was dragging at least one Caps player behind him at all times - sometimes it was three. As of halfway through the 1st OT, he was the only dangerous player out there. The Caps could not separate him from the puck, despite the referee enforcing no limitations on how they could attempt to do so. I just remember watching all night thinking, "People call this guy soft? YGBSM!"

Between Jagr's able stickhandling and his unsurpassed ability to protect the puck with his body, it could be that no player stands to benefit from the penalty crackdown as much as Jagr. I don't see why he won't be able to have the puck as much as he pleases (early evidence - the 2 PP goals he scored against the Flyers pylon-ish D on Wednesday).

I won't seriously be cheering for the Rangers this season, but I will be cheering for Yammy. I think it's important that he remind fans once more why he's a Hall of Famer; it would be unfortunate for him to go out under the perception that he's an unmotivated floater.


Nice post.

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