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Devils' Jagr dealing with diminishing ice time

by Mike G. Morreale /

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr said Wednesday that he knew his role on the team would be limited after general manager Lou Lamoriello opted to go behind the bench with co-coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens in December.

It has led to speculation that Jagr is a prime candidate to be traded prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, which comes at 3 p.m. ET on March 2.

Jagr, who on most nights played 20-plus minutes under former coach Peter DeBoer, has played fewer than 13 minutes the past two games in victories against the Carolina Hurricanes (12:13) on Saturday and Arizona Coyotes (12:49) on Monday.

Lamoriello fired DeBoer on Dec. 26 and announced the following day that he, Oates and Stevens would be taking over as coaches for the foreseeable future. Since the coaching change Jagr has topped 17 minutes in five of 21 games.

"The coach is changing, that's what it is," Jagr said Wednesday after the Devils' morning skate ahead of their game against the Calgary Flames. "It's not the first time it happened to me and I don't mind it, but there's a history. It's not the first time I've been through this; maybe not like this, but I still have confidence in my game."

Jagr was asked if he has approached the coaching staff with his concerns over the lack of ice time.

"Do you think it will change anything?" he responded. "I don't think so. It might change the other way if I stay here. That's what I worry about. If I stay here and we're not going to have a chance to make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs I don't think I am going to play at all. I still love to play, I love this team. But if it is going to be after trading deadline it's going to get worse because they'll probably play guys who'll contribute next year."

Jagr, who at the time of the coaching change led the Devils in scoring, does not know if he will still be with the Devils after trade deadline.

"I don't know, I'm not sure; I cannot answer that," he said.

Jagr, who is in his second season with the Devils, has 11 goals and 29 points in 56 games this season. He ranks sixth on the NHL's all-time list with 716 career goals, seventh with 1,068 assists and fifth with 1,784 points.

"Ask any player who plays a lot of minutes and then they don't, it's tough," Jagr said. "Plus you don't have the touches. You don't even know what to do with the puck when you get it.

"It's not going to be fun all the time; hockey is different than tennis where the player has control. In hockey there are a million other things that control so you have to let it go because you don't control it. You probably have 20 percent control in hockey."

As Jagr was leaving the locker room, he turned back to reporters and said, "I do think the players who are playing right now deserve to play; they are playing well."


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