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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 ET / 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 - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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