Translations by Tomas Jandik
Jagr Interview - MF Dnes - 9-Apr-01
Did Mario Lemieux support you in your Art Ross Trophy battle?
"Mario did all he could. He kept passing to me so I could shoot, even though he usually shoots from any angle himself. Even from behind the crease"
That's nice of him.
Yes, I quite liked it. If he'd done it since the start of the season, I would have broken all the records.
Did Lemieux's return help you even off the ice?
Everything was easier. I did not have to talk to the media as much, I had more time for myself and for the team. In addition, I could rely on Mario. Even when I did not feel OK, I hoped I'd be able to ride with Mario who played better. Such a confidence in a teammate is important.
But there were games where neither of you played well. For example, a few weeks ago against New Jersey.
You need to skate well to play well, and when you are tired, everything goes down. And when it's both me and Mario who are down, Honza Hrdina may play out of his mind, and still he won't manage anything.
You were separated for some time.
Just for one period against Carolina. And when we were losing three to nothing, coach Hlinka found out that this is not the way to go.
Before the play-offs, Hlinka ordered the team to play the left wing lock system, even though it did not work well with the first two lines at the beginning of the season. Did he have to pressure the team to accept it?
Now everybody is supposed to play it. On our line, it's Honza Hrdina who's got to play back. I'd be storming only in the case if the right winger had to play that defense. In that case, I'd go on strike.
Try to compare the tenure of Ivan Hlinka with that of his predecessors.
Constantine demanded we keep to his system and use our bodies. Brooks demanded more skating and passing, something almost ideally suited for our team. I'd say that Mr. Hlinka is somewhere between the two. Hlinka's three-line system is not played in Pittsburgh anymore
So did Hlinka change something substantial?
As far as I go, I play a little less. Even though now it is probably for the better, because I am not it the best shape physically. But other than that, I call Hlinka Janosik [a Slovak version of Robin Hood]. He took (ice time) from the rich and gave it to the poor. The third line gets about as much ice time now as the first one. But the third line plays much more demanding style, it checks and plays into the bodies more. We play a little more professor-like, waiting style. It depends on the game. When there are a lot of penalties, then the system works perfectly. We play in power play and short-handed situations, and have plenty of ice time.
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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