Translations by Tomas Jandik
Jagr's Deke - Reflex magazine - 7-Dec-00
by Jaromir Jagr
I'm in a deep crisis. It's right before the game against Buffalo, we did not even fly home from Boston - just directly to "Haseks". I haven't made a point in four straight games, and I got somewhere close to the twentieth place in the scoring race. The last time when I played this way was five years ago. I don't know what to do. I'm looking for the mistake everywhere. It is in the skates, the stick, the coach, the teammates, the injuries. I'm looking for excuses wherever I can. But apparently, I should blame just myself.
I'm guessing whether I just lived off my reputation in last couple of weeks. I had already felt that I was not in the best shape at the beginning of the season, but I hoped I would be able to make it up. But then I was ill, and right now I am lacking any strength. I can't find my rhythm, and in addition my linemates don't play well, either. Honza Hrdina and Kip Miller are in a slump as well - if they executed their chances, maybe I'd get some extra point now and then, but none of us can make it now.
And in addition I am under a great pressure from the media.
It's understandable. Journalists build up their contacts with the players, and even though they sometimes don't write everything, they know what's going on with the team. And now they are somehow 'out'. Czechs and Russians form the majority of the team, and the writers suddenly don't have any important source. Obviously, they are frustrated because of it, but I can't say that they don't wish us success. On the other hand, if we were the last in our division, we'd probably be under much bigger heat.
Because they don't know what's going on, they catch every stupidity, and blow it up to extreme proportions. That's the case of our "secret" meeting. Here in the NHL, the journalists have much better position than at home, so they are not used to any "secrets". Exactly ten minutes after the last player leaves the ice, they can enter the locker room. They can move however they want and they can talk with whomever they want. And they have even women among them. The only place the media can't go are the showers.
I have quite a tough time on the ice. Martin Straka told me once that when he played for Florida, they devoted fifty minutes out of an hour-long players' meeting to how to defend me. Today, they maybe would not use even one minute. But it's visible that the defensemen play pretty persistently against me. Usually they play in pairs, the first attacks me, while the other is immediately prepared. Such a diligent defense naturally does not suit me. I don't mind big defensemen, they are not that skilled, and actually, I can even out-muscle them. I have a difficult time to play against good skaters. That's why they match me with Svoboda when we play Tampa, and usually, I have big problems with Niedermayer. I have never been able to out-skate him.
Unfortunately, in last games they can pretty much put me against anybody, and leave the better skaters for somebody else.
Tomas Jandik is the resident Czech on LetsGoPens.com and is a man who unifies all the goodies of the American dream - meaning, of course, being a Pitt graduate, a Razorback, and a Penguins fan.
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