Friday, February 23, 2007

Unstich the "C" from Jagr's Jersey [J. Mark English]

Captain my bleeeeeep. Jaromir Jagr disgraced himself last night. Larry Brooks of the New York Post sums up what the 'great' Czech did:

It is unfathomable. In what, by definition, was the most important game of the Rangers' season, because each succeeding match becomes the most important for the unsuccessful 11th-place Blueshirts, Jaromir Jagr did not participate in a shootout that went four rounds against Martin Brodeur.

The Rangers captain did not shoot for the sixth consecutive time after two initial misses because he previously told Tom Renney he does not feel confident enough to participate in the one-on-one showdown in which the great ones generally thrive.

It is unimaginable that Jagr, battered and bruised though both his left shoulder and psyche must be, would not demand to go. It is beyond belief that he would not demand the opportunity to have the game on his stick, if for no other reason than to prove himself unafraid of failure to his teammates.

It is inconceivable that he would not try to keep the Rangers alive when trailing 2-1 in the shootout in a game they once led 2-0 but would lose 3-2.

Hard to disagree with Larry Brooks assessment. The team is not paying you to sit out at the most crucial moment of the game. I can understand not liking a system, but its the system that is in place. The team needed your abilities last night, and you failed to even attempt. Is that attitude of a true captain?

Derek Jeter is the captain of the Yankees because he sacrifices time, body, and soul to the Yankees organization. He may not be the flashiest player, but he is always giving his all. Remember the defensive play against the Oakland A's many years ago where he came out of nowhere to flip the ball over to Posada? That was from pure adrenaline and determination.

Mark Messier wore the "C" with pride as a Ranger. There once was a time when the Rangers could beat the Devils. Down three games to two in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, he swore that the Rangers would win in New Jersey. Not only did they win, but Messier had a hat trick. He willed the team to victory.

When the game is on the line you don't see this similar fire in Jagr. And last night, during the shootout he opted to sit out. Jagr has become a stigma of one who is afraid to take charge, and lead this team. Its time to remove the "C" and give it to someone more deserving.

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