Wholesale Calgary Flames Jerseys

Wholesale Calgary Flames Jerseys

After missing out on the postseason for the second time in three seasons, the Calgary Flames made some significant changes. Which three players should fans keep an eye on?

The Calgary Flames were underachievers last season. After acquiring Mike Smith from the Arizona Coyotes, fans and experts both figured he would be enough to solve their goaltending woes. Despite their great expectations, the Flames managed to miss the postseason for the second time in three seasons.

This created an offseason of change in Calgary. Head coach Glen Gulutzman was fired. The Flames are hoping long-time Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters is the answer, as they wooed him away from the Canes.

The 2018-19 season is a critical one for the Flames. Captain Mark Giordano is an amazing player, but he’s not getting any younger. He turns 35 years old in October. At some point, old age will catch up to him. It catches up to every player.

Which Flames players will be most crucial to their success (or failure) in the 2018-19 season? Here are three players who Calgary should be keeping an eye on.

3. Mike Smith

Last season, Mike Smith simply wasn’t good enough for the Flames. In 55 games, he posted a .916 save percentage. On paper, that might not seem great. But according to Corsica’s GSAA (goals saved above average), he was an above average goalie. In fact, Smith’s 13.79 GSAA ranked ninth among goalies with at least 2,000 minutes played during all situations.

The Flames will likely rely on him again for the 2018-19 season. Especially since it doesn’t appear Calgary has an NHL ready backup goaltender. Expect Smith to appear in around 60 games for the Flames, potentially even more. A great goalie can mask his team’s flaws. Smith is also playing for one last contract, which should give him an extra boost.

He was brought in to be a placeholder for one of the Flames’ young goaltenders. But Smith has been so much more to them.

Wholesale Calgary Flames Jerseys

2. Elias Lindholm

The Calgary Flames have had a right wing problem for a while now. Rather, it’s their lack of quality ones that has hurt them. Troy Brouwer struggled mightily with the Flames, but he was still one of their better options on the right side.

In the Dougie Hamilton trade, Calgary got two key players. The first of them? Elias Lindholm, who could be a part of the solution to the Flames’ lack of options on the right side. He should replace Micheal Ferland as the top line right wing. Lindholm is immediately the Flames best right wing option, though this might say more about the other options than him.

The former Hurricanes wing has two consecutive 40 point seasons under his belt, which is an encouraging sign. However, the 23-year-old forward hasn’t lived up to his great expectations as a former fifth overall pick. Carolina drafted him in 2013, hoping he would be their next franchise center.

Lindholm is a quality center option, but he didn’t quite live up to those expectations as a high draft pick. He’s probably better off as a right wing. The Flames recently signed him to a long-term deal. Perhaps Lindholm’s familiarity with Peters played into Calgary acquiring him.

If he can be that top line option the Flames have been searching for, maybe the Hamilton trade will look better for them than it does right now.

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1. Noah Hanifin

Guess who has to step in and replace Hamilton, who was a great defenseman for the Calgary Flames? That would be Noah Hanifin, the crown jewel of the team’s biggest offseason move. Much like Lindholm, it wouldn’t be surprising if Peter’s familiarity with him played a role in the Flames wanting him.

Hanifin has the potential to be a top pairing defenseman. His offense seems to be developing nicely. More importantly, Hanifin has shown consistent improvement defensively in his own zone. However, the Flames don’t particularly care too much about potential right now. General Manager Brad Treliving wants results. So it’s up to Hanifin to turn his potential into results.

On paper, the Flames should have him on their second pairing. This, of course, assumes they decide to reunite Giordano and T.J. Brodie. Though the duo have done well together in the past, they never did as well as Giordano and Hamilton did.

Maybe having Hanifin on the second pairing with Travis Hamonic will help balance things out. Hanifin is a restricted free agent who hasn’t signed his deal yet. However, expect it to happen soon. If the Flames are wise, they’ll sign him long-term because like it or not, he’s a significant part of their future.

Wholesale St. Louis Blues Jerseys

Although the Blues didn't land John Tavares, the moves made by GM Doug Armstrong set up Vladimir Tarasenko & Co. quite well to make a big push this season.

On trade deadline day during the 2017-18 season, St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong made the bold decision to trade center Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets because, in his mind, the Blues weren’t a true championship contender at that point.

So this summer, they got aggressive. On July 1, Armstrong and the Blues:

Signed forward David Perron for four years at $4 million in average annual value.

Signed center Tyler Bozak for three years at $5 million AAV.

Signed goalie Chad Johnson at one year and $1.75 AAV.

Acquired forward Ryan O’Reilly from the Buffalo Sabres for forward Vladimir Sobotka, forward Patrik Berglund, forward Tage Thompson, a 2019 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick. In the process, they saved money on the deal despite O’Reilly’s $7.5 million cap hit.

Some of the moves were criticized, while others were lauded. One thing fans could agree on: Armstrong and the Blues shot their shot this summer.

We discussed that with Armstrong last week, beginning with a chat about one of the free-agent targets who got away.

ESPN: Were you surprised the Blues weren’t invited to the John Tavares party?

Armstrong: I wouldn’t say surprised. We asked if we could be involved. He had obviously had a lot of time to figure out where he wanted to play, and he ended up being back at home. The other cities he talked to had great tax advantages. We wanted to talk to Ilya Kovalchuk too, and we couldn’t get in front of him, either.

You just want to put your best foot forward. If they’re interested in your franchise, great. If not, you move on to the next guy. You look at a guy like Perron: One player doesn’t want to play here, another guy can’t wait to get back here. This town might not be for everybody, but for the guys that come here, they love it.

ESPN: You’re an Ontario boy. Did it shock you at all that the Maple Leafs finally got one of their homegrown stars to sign with Toronto?

Armstrong: Not really. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the Toronto Maple Leafs. They’re the storied franchise. I read Bozak’s Players’ Tribune article, and it is what it is. [Tavares] understands what he’s getting into. He’s giving up his freedom and anonymity for seven years, but that’s what him and his fiancée and his family want.

I don’t say that in a negative way. It’s a fabulous hockey town. I’m an Ontario boy. I grew up watching the Leafs. I understand what they mean to the city or the province or the country. I tip my hat to him. He wants to get in the ring. He’s in the ring now. And I wish him nothing but the best. It’s nice to see someone willing to throw the chum in the water and dive in and see if there are any sharks.

ESPN: Actually, he rejected the Sharks.

Armstrong: [Laughs] No pun intended there!

Unlike many high-profile Ontario natives before him, John Tavares signed a free-agent contract with the Maple Leafs.

ESPN: The Central Division and the Western Conference seem like an ever escalating arms race. When you approached the summer, how much did that play into your plans?

Armstrong: We’re trying to juggle two balls right now. We like our core players, who are either in the sweet spot of their career or entering it. But we also wanted to maintain as much of our future as possible. Free agency is usually the best way to do that, and we wanted to attack the market and talk to as many players as possible.

We were able to secure two producing players that can help that core group in Bozak and Perron. We had to give up a really top prospect in Tage Thompson and a future first-round pick, but since Ryan O’Reilly is 27 years old and entering that sweet spot of his career, we felt we were able to keep as many of our prospects as possible while still having a team that we hope can compete in the Central Division and the Western Conference.

ESPN: Tage aside, you didn’t have to give up any of your blue-chip prospects for O’Reilly.

Armstrong: That was very essential. There were a number of pieces that we had drafted that we weren’t going to give up multiple pieces for any player. When we were able to take a name off that list and add a first-rounder, it became much more palatable for us. The deal reminded me a little bit of what you see in the NBA. I don’t follow it that closely, but it looks like when trades are made, there’s potential assets moved along and then you have to make the salary cap work. And that’s how this deal came together.

ESPN: How much did the $7.5 million bonus payment play into this? It was a bit of a ticking clock for Jason Botterill and the Sabres.

Armstrong: I don’t want to speak for Jason, but the compensation wasn’t a concern of ours. Our ownership group was supportive of it. If you look at it … if he’s with you for the year, there’s no real leverage. If you spent that money, you want to get something of service or something greater because you already paid that money.

For us, it’s no big deal. We paid the money, but it’s the cost of money over 12 months. For Jason, I would assume the [trade] price was going to be higher if he had paid that money, because it was paying him for that year of service in advance.

ESPN: A number of Sabres fans seemed happy to not have O’Reilly in the Buffalo room anymore. He’s on his third team in the NHL. He had the whole Tim Horton’s drive-thru incident. The catalyst for this trade was him telling the media he has basically lost his smile playing for Buffalo last season. How comfortable are you in adding Ryan O’Reilly to your room?

Armstrong: I’m very comfortable. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Ryan in international events, managing the World Cup team and being a part of that and seeing him interact with the coach at the world championships. His comments at the end of the year were raw emotion. I imagine you’re taken just as much aback, but someone coming in and saying “we tried our hardest and maybe we’ll get them next year” vs. someone who was so pained to make those comments. I took it as a frustrated player that understands the important of winning and let his guard down. It’s like when someone says something after the game.

I’m very comfortable with the player and I’ve very comfortable with the man. There was zero concern of ours about his character.

Ryan O'Reilly is an impressive two-way center, but seemed to have lost his smile playing for the Sabres.

ESPN: When you lock up Bozak, is that a move made knowing that the O’Reilly deal was likely or was that independent?

Armstrong: It was independent. There are no guarantees in anything. You do what’s in front of you, and then you regroup. We signed Bozak and Perron. We improved our team. Whether we got the O’Reilly thing or not, we were going to do that. And if the O’Reilly thing didn’t work, we would have still had a first, a second, Tage Thompson and the other players. There’s a bit of an illusion that everything needs to be done in 36 hours at the beginning of July. That it’s going to be your team until the next year at that time. And that’s not just reality.

ESPN: On Bozak, some people were taken aback by the money.

Armstrong: The money is what we used to work on the cap. Would every team like to have every player at 15 percent less? Sure. Would every player like to make 15 percent more? Sure. [Laughs] You’re just trying to get everything to fit in the same pie pan. Everyone gets a slice.

ESPN: There were few things I was more fascinated by on July 1 than discovering that David Perron had only ever signed a contract with the Blues. He’s played with other teams. But he’s only signed deals with the Blues.

Armstrong: Yeah, it was interesting. It’s nice to have him back. When we traded him [in 2013], we were a franchise finding our way. It’s not like we were putting together seven or eight great years. Last time, we wanted to keep David but he was claimed in expansion. I looked at David coming back as someone we didn’t want to lose a year ago, but we had to make some tough decisions. Vegas made an outstanding pick, and he had 66 points in 70 games. We’re excited to have him back. And when you look at all the deals that went down, getting a guy back that was [around] a point-per-game for $4 million against the cap, that’s a testament of David’s desire to come back to St. Louis.

We were honest with him that we have a number of players coming up over the next few years. It had to fit for us. Again, you’re getting a player that’s going to play at 31, 32 and 33. I have confidence he can play at that level. He doesn’t need to get back to 66 points. We expect him to get between 45 and 55 points. That’s still a hell of a bargain in today’s NHL.

ESPN: Chad Johnson is an interesting choice to replace Carter Hutton, who played long stretches for you when Jake Allen faltered. Is this move for a guy that could do that, or is this move one that tells Jake he’s the guy and there’s no “1-A” anymore?

Armstrong: We think [Johnson] can do that. If you go back to the 2016-17 season, he played in 36 games in Calgary. He played in 45 the year before that [with Buffalo]. He’s been able to play a number of games. If necessary, if an injury happens to Jake, he can take the ball.

The season for [Allen] last year wasn’t a good year for him. It wasn’t a good year for that franchise as a whole. Last year, we were sixth best in goals against. I think we were near the bottom in shots against. If we play that well in front of him again, there’s no reason he can’t get to a .915 or .920 save percentage, which is what we need. When you look at what [Brian] Elliott and Hutton were able to do here, I think St. Louis is a good place to play if you’re a goalie.

Jake Allen will be happy to turn the page from a tough 2017-18 season.

ESPN: Did you reach out to Paul Stastny at all?

Armstrong: Paul’s another player that we talked to. I walked through the reasoning why we moved him along. Obviously, you look at making the playoffs as a steppingstone to winning a championship. I didn’t believe where we were last year that we were a championship-caliber team at the trade deadline. We had players that we knew were tethered by a slight string on Jay Bouwmeester and Carl Gunnarsson. We knew their bodies weren’t going to hold up through June.

We made a decision that it wasn’t our year, so we’ll get a ton of assets. Paul is a player who if he decided to come back, we could have worked a deal. There would have been no hard feelings from our side, or from his. I think this trade rejuvenated him. It gave him a positive way to end his year.

Wholesale Buffalo Sabres Jerseys

Wholesale Buffalo Sabres Jerseys

The Buffalo Sabres announced Thursday that the team has signed goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The 19-year-old was drafted by the Sabres in 2017, with the 54th overall selection.

Luukkonen, 6’4”, 196 pounds, is a native of Espoo, Finland.

He spent most of last season playing with LeKi, where he appeared in 24 games and put up a 2.92 GAA and .909 save percentage. Luukkonen also played for HPK Hameenlinna (1 game) and HPK’s U-20 team.

He also played in the 2018 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, suiting up for his native country. In five games, Luukkonen had a 3.13 GAA and .879 save percentage.

In addition to last year’s World Juniors, Luukkonen has competed several other times internationally for Finland.

Futureconsiderations.ca says Luukkonen’s “wide butterfly stance helps him cover the majority of the low net naturally,” noting he is “fluid in his movements and quick laterally in the crease.”

TSN’s Craig Button called the goaltending prospect a “big, ‘take up a lot of net’ goalie who has good legs and battles to stop the puck. Finds way to make saves.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Wholesale Washington Capitals Jerseys

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson defended his controversial hit on Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault in the third period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, saying it was “a good clean hit” in “playoff hockey.”

Marchessault, as well as Vegas teammates, took offense to the play.

With the score tied 4-4, Wilson laid out Marchessault at open ice, which stirred the Vegas bench. The referees huddled but decided not to issue a major penalty, instead giving Wilson two minutes for interference. Vegas winger David Perron was also given a two-minute minor for offsetting penalties.

Vegas won 6-4 to take a 1-0 series lead.

“I saw the hit. I remember everything,” said Marchessault, who went through the concussion protocol but returned to finish the game. “It was a late hit. I don’t really need to talk more about it. I think the league will take care of it. We know what type of player he is out there. You gotta keep your head up and try to make the play. I didn’t make the play. I was a little late, but whatever.”

Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said the coaching staff was “upset about it. It was a big hit.” Gallant called Wilson an “old-school player” but said, “For me, it was a late hit.”

Golden Knights fourth-liner Ryan Reaves added: “It was a late blindside hit like Wilson always does.”

Afterward, Wilson saw no problem with the play.

“There are going to be hits,” Wilson said. “It’s a contact sport. That’s all that I saw.”

Marchessault described the play from his point of view: “I have the puck, I’m trying to make the play, I see [Reilly Smith and William Karlsson] going through, a couple seconds go by, and I just get blindsided. I’m not a guy that makes those decisions, but I’m sure the league is going to take care of it.”

Wilson’s take: “He’d probably say he shouldn’t admire his pass. I’m just finishing my check. I haven’t slowed it down. I’ve been told that we’re talking tenths [of a second] here. I think it’s game speed, and I delivered it in good time. I think he let up a little bit because he wasn’t aware I was there. I finished him through his body. He might have been a little bit surprised by it, but it wasn’t an aggressive hit. He looked fine at the end when he was yelling at me from the bench.”

Wilson was suspended for three games in Washington’s second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins for a hit that broke the jaw of Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese. Wilson is already considered a repeat offender; he was forced to sit out two preseason games following a late hit on St. Louis Blues rookie Robert Thomas and was suspended for the first four games of the regular season after boarding Blues forward Sammy Blais.

“You always have your reputation,” Wilson said. “When you play my physical style, you’re going to have that reputation. I trust myself. I play the game hard. It’s my job to bring that energy, that physicality. Right after he got up, he said ‘good hit.’ It’s the Stanley Cup Final out there. There are going to be hits. It looked good to me.”

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After a deflating Game 5 home loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, the Nashville Predators are down 3-2 and facing elimination in the Stanley Cup playoffs. But instead of a somber Predators postgame locker room, it was one of strong confidence and promises.

Predators defenseman P.K. Subban is calling his shot, guaranteeing a Game 6 win on Monday in Winnipeg and a return to Nashville for Game 7.

“We’re going to wake up in the morning, and that page is going to be turned. We’re gonna go to Winnipeg. We’re gonna win a game,” Subban said after the 6-2 loss. “We’re going to come back here. It’s that simple.”

This isn’t the first time Subban has made a guarantee in the playoffs. Last season after the Predators went down 2-0 to the Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final, Subban told reporters, “There’s no question. We’re going to win the next game.”

The Predators won the next two games at home to tie the series before losing the final two games. The Predators will need to win the next two games against the Jets to reach the Western Conference final.

“There’s no group I’d rather be with to win one hockey game than this group,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “This group has been built, it’s been built for a game like the one is coming up.”

The Predators went 2-1-1 against the Jets in Winnipeg during the regular season and playoffs.

“We’re a character group. We have a ton of experience in here. We’ve had our backs against the wall before,” Subban said. “Like I said, we’re going to go to Winnipeg. We’re going to win a game, and we’re going to come back here. Every single guy in here believes that.”

Wholesale Toronto Maple Leafs Jerseys

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri has been for suspended three games for his hit on Boston Bruins forward Tommy Wingels.

Kadri was assessed a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct in the Maple Leafs’ first playoff game Thursday night against the Bruins. The incident occurred at 8:14 of the third period, while the Bruins were leading 4-1. Boston went on to win the game 5-1.

“Kadri sees Wingels has fallen, and, with sufficient time to adjust his course or minimize the force, instead drives recklessly into the defenseless Wingles, causing his head to dangerously impact the boards,” a narrator explains in a Department of Player Safety-produced video posted to the NHL’s website. “It is important to note that Kadri is in control of this hit at all times.”

The suspension is the fourth of Kadri’s career. Most recently, he was suspended four games in April 2016 for cross-checking. His other suspensions have included four games for an illegal hit in 2015 and three games for goalie interference in 2013.

“I certainly wasn’t trying to hit him while he was down like that,” Kadri told reporters after the game. “I was already committed to the hit. If he’s still standing up, there isn’t anything wrong on that, but he fell.”

Kadri tied his career-high with 32 goals this season. His 32 goals were also third most on the team during the regular season, behind James van Riemsdyk (36) and Auston Matthews (34).

This is the second suspension in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty was suspended for one game for a hit to the head of Vegas Golden Knights forward William Carrier. Doughty had never previously been suspended.

Game 2 of the Maple Leafs-Bruins series is Saturday night in Boston.

Wholesale New York Rangers Jerseys

The New York Rangers were without assistant coach Lindy Ruff for the team’s Wednesday night game after he suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s practice.

Ruff was injured when he fell and hit his head on the ice. In addition to the concussion, the veteran coach had a large cut on the back of his head.

“We’re not sure if he stepped on a puck or a puck hit him, but he hit his head on the ice,” Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said. “We had to take him off the ice. He went to the hospital. He’s got a pretty big gash with some stitches in the back of his head. He’s been diagnosed with a concussion, so he’s going to be out for a couple of days. He should be back [Thursday] and fine. I talked to him [Tuesday] night. I talked to him again [Wednesday].

“He’s back to his perky self. He was just a little dazed yesterday. It was just an unfortunate accident.”

Ruff, a defensive assistant with the Rangers, had previously spent 15 years as the head coach of the Buffalo Sabres and four years as the Dallas Stars’ head coach.

The Rangers lost at the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime.

New York will return home for Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning before closing out the regular season on a four-game road trip.

Wholesale Boston Bruins Jerseys

The bad news keeps coming for a Boston Bruins team that is having a surprisingly good season. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy will miss at least four weeks because of a sprained MCL in his left knee, the team announced.

McAvoy, 20, suffered the injury Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens and will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

McAvoy, who made his NHL debut in last season’s playoffs and more than held his own, has seven goals and 25 assists in 59 games this season.

Coming into the season, the Bruins were thought to be rebuilding around players like McAvoy, but success accelerated the plan. They have the second-most points in the Eastern Conference. At the trade deadline, then, Boston traded for wingers Rick Nash and Tommy Wingels and defenseman Nick Holden and signed Olympian Brian Gionta.

But then center Patrice Bergeron, the team’s leading goal scorer, broke his foot at the end of February. He will be re-evaluated next week. Goaltender Tuukka Rask was a late scratch Saturday with a lower-body injury, and Anton Khudobin started in goal Tuesday against the Red Wings.

Wholesale Arizona Coyotes Jerseys

Arizona Coyotes right wing Tobias Rieder, center, of Germany, is congratulated after his goal by center Derek Stepan, front, and left wing Brendan Perlini in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in Denver.

The Arizona Coyotes have traded forward Tobias Rieder to the Los Angeles Kings, according to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Craig Morgan.

In return, the Coyotes will receive goalie Darcy Kuemper, with backup goalie Scott Wedgewood going to Los Angeles. Kuemper and the Coyotes have already worked out an extension, per Morgan. Kuemper was set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Kuemper’s extension is for two years with an annual average value of $1.85 million, according to Morgan.

“Darcy is a big, talented goaltender who is having an excellent year,” general manager John Chayka said in a press release. “You need great goaltending in this league in order to be successful and with Antti and Darcy, we are confident that we have an excellent tandem for the future.”

Rieder, a restricted free agent after this season, has eight goals and 19 points this season for Arizona. He was a healthy scratch for the first time this year in early February against the San Jose Sharks.

Head coach Rick Tocchet said earlier this month that he wanted more from Rieder’s intangibles.

“It’s not so much his scoring,” Tocchet said. “He’s got to get inside the dots. He just hasn’t really done much.”

Kuemper, 27, has started 15 games for the Kings. In 19 total appearances, he has a goals against average of 2.10 and a save percentage of .932.

Wholesale Anaheim Ducks Jerseys

Jaromir Jagr was released by the Calgary Flames yesterday. He could be exactly what the Anaheim Ducks need to take their young players to new heights.

Anaheim Ducks General Manager Bob Murray is executing one of the toughest management tasks in all of professional sports, rebuilding on the fly. Veteran stars Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler are coming into the “back nine” of their respective careers. A young core consisting of players such as Rickard Rakell, Cam Fowler, Brandon Montour, and John Gibson are rising to prominence in the veterans wake.

Getzlaf and Perry had Hall of Famers like Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens, and Teemu Selanne to learn from when they were starting their careers. In Kesler’s case, he had the Sedin twins and Trevor Linden as tutors. The current group of young Ducks could use similar mentoring.

Taking nothing away from the current veteran leadership, Jaromir Jagr is on a different level. He isn’t the same player he was in his prime, or even five years ago. Frankly, he is slow on the ice and appears to be a step behind at times. What he brings to the table at this point in his career, is exactly what the Ducks need.

Any success guru will tell you that all champions, in any endeavor, are constantly learning and adjusting. NHL great Jaromir Jagr is the poster child for those traits in hockey. It would be easy to think after 24 years in the pros, the native of Kladno, Czech Republic would have a been there, done that mentality. Easy? Yes. Correct? Far From it.

Here is an excerpt from a story about Jaromir Jagr, written by Ben Shpigel, that appeared in the New York Times on April 7, 2016:

“… consider this episode from a practice this season. Jagr, embarrassed that Aaron Ekblad had stolen the puck by elevating Jagr’s stick, barged into the weight room afterward and declared, “Nobody will ever take the puck off my stick again.” So he and Powers grabbed one of Barkov’s sticks and attached it to a resistance machine, fashioning a contraption that allowed Jagr to fend off that lifting motion.”

Picture that for a second. Arguably, one of the top 10 players in NHL history, is working on his puck possession. After all his success in the game over more than 23 years and he still hones the little things to make him better.

Jagr’s work ethic and determination are undeniable. Here is another example, in Jagr’s own words, from an article Paul Stewart (one of the greatest referees in NHL history) wrote for the Huffington Post a year before the Times article:

“It’s 11:15 p.m. Most people are asleep and I’m just finishing my last exercise with my 30-pound vest. I sit on the bench to have some rest. I look at myself in the mirror. After a while, I ask myself a question: “Is it really still worth it?” Unfortunately, I don’t think I can answer this question. I really can’t. I keep thinking, “You are alone, no family, you work like a horse, there is no one waiting for you at home.” This doesn’t sound too great, I think. But then another question pops up: “Then why do you keep doing it?” I know the answer to this question without hesitation. “Because I love it.”

Jagr’s quality of play is still better than many NHL forwards. Even if he’s only able to go 12 minutes or so a night and chip in a few goals down the stretch, its worth it for the Anaheim Ducks to have him on the team. The team not only needs his on-ice talent, but also his dedication. Both would leave a lasting legacy.

In two or three years Getzlaf and Perry won’t be standard bearers of the team anymore. Rakell, Lindholm, Sam Steel, and Ondrej Kase will be the ones carrying the load. One way to be great is to learn from the great.