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Translations by Tomas Jandik
Jagr doesn't care about Art Ross Trophy (MF Dnes) - 30-Mar-02
http://hokej.idnes.cz/nhl.asp?r=nhl&c=A020330_004345_nhl_mah

JAGR DOESNíT CARE ABOUT ART ROSS TROPHY


Washington is chasing the Stanley Cup [play-offs], yet you injured your countryman and a teammate Frantisek Kucera during the last game. He played very well until that point, but then he wasnít able to finish that match because of you. Wasnít that sabotage?


Well, I did erase him. He fell like [a sack of cement]. He criticized me, so I destroyed him. {laughter}

How did that happen. Didnít you see him?

I saw him, but itís my territory in front of the net. I have no idea what Franta was doing in that place. Iíd guess this would be his last trip over there. {laughter}

He then apparently tried to get on his knees, but fell back on the iceÖ

Iím sorry, but I really had to laugh when I saw that. He will be OK, though. He practiced on Thursday. Itís just his shoulder that hurts, and he doesnít feel his hand.

Well, it is actually somewhat humorous. You have like ten hits during the whole season, and then you go and injure your teammateÖ

Hey! I got nineteen [hits]. I have to add a few more, though, because another of my teammates Ulf Dahlen is closing on me. And Franta claimed that he has never been smashed like that during his whole career. I appreciate that.

You and Washington have been chasing the last play-off spot lately. How do your nerves like this tense period?

Itís exciting. Seriously.

The truth is that when you played in Pittsburgh, you didnít have to worry about getting into the play-offs.

Well, we actually have our play-offs right now. We canít afford to lose. The atmosphere is extraordinary. After the game in Buffalo, we watched Florida playing Montreal, our most serious opponent. We were in our locker room getting undressed, and we saw how Florida was able to turn the game around. We were yelling like crazy!

Ten days ago, they traded your center Oates to Philadelphia, and you stayed by yourself. Were you angry about that?

I got used to things like that during my 11 years in the NHL. The front office didnít trust us anymore, because we played terribly. We didnít exactly earn a right to be very demanding, and Oatsie would have left after the season, anyway. Philadelphia got its two centers Roenick and Primeau injured, and they offered an exciting trade.

Now you play alongside Lithuanian Zubrus and Metropolit. Not exactly a prominent companyÖ

But we have been playing very well so far! The point is how people work together as a line. When I started playing with Honza Hrdina, they didnít consider him a star, either.

The front office did not bring any experienced players at the trade deadline. Is it possible that this fact gave you an extra motivation?

Everybody wrote us off. But weíve been on a roll lately. We won four out of five games on the road. If we ultimately make it, Iíd be really happy. I feel awesome right now. Up, down. A terrible sadness or a great joy.

They brought you here as a big star. Do you take this fight to get in the play-offs personally? Like a task for Jagr?

Definitely.

So you donít even check your position in the scoring race.

Not at all. I donít even know where I stand.

You are in the third place; you could still win the Art Ross Trophy for the fifth time in a row.

I donít even want to know about it.

Seriously? But you cared about it quite a lot before. And only Gretzky was able to win it five times in a row in the whole history of the NHL.

Who cares? Itís not that big of a difference if I win it four or ten times. I looked at the rankings the other day, and I was behind by twenty points. Every intelligent person has to understand that you wonít be able to make up for that kind of a difference in 15 games.

But the last week you trailed Iginla by only nine points. Do you really feel the trophy is a lost cause?

I do. And I am glad it is. At least I can focus on the team. If there were a hope, maybe Iíd occasionally wait just to score a goal. Or Iíd play more risky. But the play-off race excites me more than the previous Art Ross Trophies.

Your girlfriend arrived recently. Do you think it is important to have her here with you during these thrilling times? Or is she more of a distraction?

Weíll see {laughter}. She just came at the beginning of this week.

You won one game since then. So she is a good-luck charm, isnít she?

So far, she has the permission to stay. {laughter}

So if you start losing, youíll ship her back to Europe?

No, no. Not that.

Stanley Cup must be the first thing on your mind. But have you thought about what might happen if you wouldn't be able to make it into the play-offs? Would you go to play at the World Championship?

I donít know. It depends on my health, how well I play, and whether the team lets me go.

Can the Capitals prevent you from playing at the championship?

If I played injured, the team's owner certainly wouldnít be happy. Especially given that I had my knee injured recently. The team doesnít have my knee insured.

Washington Capitals insured parts of your body?

You can say it that way. Iíve never had any problems with my knee. When [the team] wanted to cover it by the insurance, thatís when I sprained it. The team wants to be protected in case I am not able to play. Eighty million [dollars] is a lot of money, and they donít respect the World Championship here as much as the Olympics.

And if it were your call, would you like to come at all?

I donít even know where it will be played.

In Sweden.

If I play well, and I am healthy, then certainly! But I donít want to just take a spot on the roster. People have to understand that.

So what does actually tempt you to fly over to the other hemisphere, to play on the team you practically donít know, to compete on those wide ice-rinks?

The victory. Iíve never won a World Championship before.

Do you realize that you could complete your set of triumphs: Stanley Cup, the Olympics gold, and the World Championship title?

Certainly. Thatís exactly whatís so tempting about it. Even though the Czech Republic won the Championship three times in a row now. Iím not sure whether we can be that lucky again.

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.

Back to Tomas' Translation List


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