Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/18/11 at 01:35 AM ET
from Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times,
Jaromir Jagr just keeps reinventing himself, over and over.
Fun-loving scoring prodigy, anti-Soviet Czech nationalist, champion, moping quitter, maturing superstar, enthusiastic Russophile. Now, four games into his return to the N.H.L. with the Philadelphia Flyers after three years in the Kontinental Hockey League, Jagr is reinvented again, as wise elder statesman and exemplar of hard work.
He is not the only one to change since he last played in North America, in 2008. The league he came back to also has a new look.
“How to explain it?” he mused in his still heavily Czech-accented English. “It’s different for one reason. The puck is everywhere. Not as much on your stick. The players don’t play the position game as much as we used to play. A lot of young guys go up and down, shoot the puck, go for the rebounds.
“You’re getting tired quicker because the body has to react where the puck is going to go,” he said of the faster, more frenetic N.H.L. of 2011. “You cannot read it, because you don’t have the puck on your stick.”
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