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Jagr's Secret to Success

Clean living and hard work secrets to Jagr's success

Wednesday, 02.15.2012 / 1:15 PM / News
By Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com
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Jagr\'s Secret to Success
Jaromir Jagr relies on clean living, as well as a lot of hard work, to maintain his status as a top-rate forward even as he approaches age 40.
What's allowed Philadelphia Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr to remain an effective player in the NHL as he reaches his 40th birthday?

Clean living, he says -- no smoking or drinking alcohol -- but he does admit to one vice.

"I like Diet Coke," he says with a laugh. "I even drink it during a game. I like Diet Coke. No vitamins, nothing ... Diet Coke."

Oh, if it were only that easy.

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Hard work on and off the ice has been a hallmark of Jagr's career since he first arrived in North America.

"We had to kick him off the ice almost every day," Joe Mullen, a teammate when Jagr first arrived as a rookie in Pittsburgh and currently an assistant coach with the Flyers, told NHL.com. "He just loved to stay out there and just work."

That holds true today, as Jagr occasionally will skate and work out at the Flyers' practice site late at night; in fact, getting 24-hour access to the practice facility was a requirement in his contract.

He joked earlier this season that he enjoyed the late-night ice time because "the ice is free."

In reality, it's something Jagr said he's done at previous stops in his NHL career, and something he feels he has to do now that he's turning 40.

"You have to practice a lot harder. I know that," he said. "You've got to love the game so much that even if you're tired, you still have to go there. Sometimes I don't want to go run at night, but I know if I don't do it, tomorrow I'm going to feel worse than I did the night before. That's what's pushing me.

"When you don't fear anything and you think everything is going to be OK, then what's the reason to do it? When there's fear that you're going to feel a lot worse, that's pushing you. And I know if I don't do it today, tomorrow's not going to get better. There may be a five-percent chance you're going to feel better (by taking a day off), but there’s a 95-percent chance you're going to feel a lot worse ... and you still have to do it the next day anyway. I understand that, and it's tough to do that, especially when you struggle. You have to have the will to do it, even if your body doesn't want to. You still have to push yourself and work even harder. If I'm not able to push myself, I think I'm going to quit. When you feel tired and you don't push yourself, it's time to retire because you're not going to get better. There's no miracles. You're not going to wake up the next day and feel 10 years younger."

Jagr said he has no interest in sticking around in the NHL based on his reputation, saying he'd rather go play in the Czech Republic if he doesn't feel like he can stick with today's NHL players. But he wants to stay at that NHL level, and spends his extra time working to keep his skills as sharp as he can. His off-time activities include skating in a weighted vest or using a weighted stick to work on his puckhandling.

"If you're a (star) player and you want to keep playing like that player and you've been doing things to be that player, you want to keep doing them," he said. "Once you lose it or don't want to do it, you're not going to be the same player. Once you taste something, if you're a good player and work harder than other guys and you can see you're getting better and better ... you kind of fear that once you stop doing that, you're not going to be the same player. That's why you keep doing that, because it's working. I've always had that."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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