Petr Nedved still has it.
Nedved, the former Flyer and long-time NHLer, scored in a shootout against Sweden and he added another goal against Russia in the last European tournament Oddset Hockey games. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? He turned 40 last December but he’s still valuable to his Czech Extraliga Team – HC Bili Tygri Liberec (HC White Tigers Liberec).
Right now he leads, the league in points (56) and assists (34), although he played only 44 games. He is also fourth in goals (22). In his previous season, Nedved racked up 55 points and he ranked third in points with 14 goals and 41 assists.
Nedved was also gracious enough to give an interview about Jagr:
“Jaromir drove through the players like they were cones,” Nedved remembered.
What was Jaromir like? He excelled in youth categories?
“I didn’t know him in that time. But every time we played against Kladno (Nedved played for Liberec back then), he was tremendous even in youth categories. He grabbed the puck and he wanted to sneak through our zone. And he did it maybe 10-15 times per game. There were big differences among players. Jaromir drove through players and made them foolish.”
What was his role in Pittsburgh during the Mario Lemieux era?
“He had some really good positioning and he does things his own way. He does not take advice from others, that’s how he works all the time.”
Had he some conversations with coaching stuff?
“No, it wasn’t necessary. He was playing with Mario 20-25 minutes per game and it was all. Nothing more, nothing less. He had to have some important word in the locker room because he made Martin Straka stay. Yes, he came to coaching staff and asked them to keep Straka with the Pens. Straka stayed and it paid off. Straka played very well but they had a very good team and it was tough to fight for the roster spot.”
Did you have some trash-talking?
“No, it was okay to play with Jaromir. He was calm all the time. He laughed a lot and he liked jokes. I really enjoyed my time in Pittsburgh.”
What is his biggest advantage?
“He’s a super talent. That’s the point. He’s diligent and he really enjoys hockey. He’s motivated as well and he wants to be the best. That’s his big advantage.”
This is common for both of you, isn’t it?
“I really enjoy hockey as well. I want to prove to myself that I still have it. But there will be a day when I will have to end my career. There will be no reason for continuing our careers.”
Do you want to run Liberec as Jaromir runs Kladno or as Straka runs Plzen?
“I thought about my future. We’ll see. I’m not decided but I’ve spoken with Liberec.”
So is Liberec you’re only choice?
“Yes, I haven’t had a call from the New York Rangers. Maybe they could fire Sather and his 5 million salary, couldn’t they? Because I’m fine with two. I really have to send them a fax. (laughing)”
For more information, see Jagr’s official blog.