UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- Jaromir Jagr hit the ice with the New York Rangers on Friday night for the first time since his
dislocated left shoulder was repaired nearly five months ago.
Ed Betz/AP Photo
Jaromir Jagr hadn't skated competitively since his May 8 surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder. (Ed Betz/AP Photo)
He took fairly regular shifts through every period of the
Rangers' 2-1 preseason loss to the Islanders. Jagr didn't record a
point or a shot on goal in 21 shifts, but logged 21 minutes of ice
time -- more than expected because the Rangers had eight power
Jagr said he felt good, struggling only with trying to regain
his timing after such a long layoff.
"My goal was to survive and get the feeling for the game," he
Mirolslav Satan gave the Islanders their first lead -- with an
assist from Yashin -- scoring 12 seconds into a two-man advantage in
the middle period. Brandon Dubinsky, fighting for one of the final
spots on the Rangers roster, tied it late in the second period.
Rick DiPietro made 14 saves for the victory, while Rangers
backup Valiquette looked steady in stopping 27 shots.
Jagr, injured twice during New York's first-round playoff loss
to New Jersey in the spring, hopped off the bench within the
opening 2 minutes as the teams skated 4-on-4.
The sparse crowd, which included large pockets of fans
supporting each club, cheered, groaned and grew more vocal when
Jagr touched the puck for the first time deep in his own zone.
Jagr, the NHL MVP runner-up last season, skated in the offensive
end on the same shift -- carrying the puck from the left-wing boards
toward the center of the ice -- before the puck was knocked off his
stick by Islanders defenseman Radek Martinek 1:40 into the game.
Later in the period, Jagr skated with regular linemates Brendan Shanahan and Michael Nylander and drew a hooking penalty on Satan
when the Islanders forward held him up high in the offensive zone.
The right winger sat out the first five preseason games, but
planned to play consecutive days as the Rangers conclude the
exhibition schedule at Boston on Saturday.
"He said he felt really good," Rangers coach Tom Renney said.
"We'll check with him in the morning and see how he's feeling. I
don't anticipate there'll be any problem. It's an opportunity for
him to put a couple back to back and elevate the level of fitness a
little bit more."
In the scoreless first period, Jagr took six shifts that totaled
6:15 of ice time -- 1:43 on the power play. He absorbed minimal
contact and was on the ice during a Rangers man-advantage when the
horn sounded to end the frame.
"You don't even think about it," he said of shielding his
shoulder. "You're just trying to protect it and you don't go like
Kamikaze somewhere without a head.
"I didn't feel any pain. If there was any collision, it just
His best scoring chance came in the second, when he also logged
six shifts. During a 5-on-3 advantage, Jagr wound up from the high
slot and fired into traffic. The puck never got to DiPietro, but
bounced back to Jagr. He moved it over to Shanahan, who ripped a
drive that DiPietro smothered and held.
Jagr, who set Rangers records last season with 54 goals and 123
points, was cleared earlier this week to take part in full-contact
practices. At the start of training camp, Renney said it was
doubtful Jagr would play in any preseason games, but a positive
medical report Monday changed the plan.
The 34-year-old All-Star injured his shoulder in the
playoff-opening loss to the Devils. He missed one game and then
returned for Game 3, but was largely ineffective after finishing
second in the NHL in goals and points.
Less than 1 minute into the final game of New Jersey's sweep,
Jagr was felled by a check from defenseman Brad Lukowich and was
knocked out for good.
He had surgery nine days later on May 8.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Location: Uniondale, New York