BOSTON - Jaromir Jagr stopped just before he left for the inner sanctum of the Boston Bruins dressing room, a black and gold toque on his head with Bruins logos stitched in along with the years the club has won the Stanley Cup.
At 41 years old, his best years are long behind him. But his ability to still battle, to accept a diminshed role and to continue to be motiviated to go for midnight skates in a weighted vest is one of the reasons the Bruins are one win away from a trip to the 2013 Stanley Cup final.
Late in the second overtime period Ė early Thursday morning in the East Ė Jagr won a puck battle along the boards against Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin, a guy revered as Jagr once was as a threat on just every shift. Seconds later, Bostonís Patrice Bergeron ended the game, giving the Bruins a 2-1 win and a 3-0 lead in the NHL Eastern Conference final.
It looked like Jagr got away with a hook, his stick near Malkinís mid-section parallel to the ice, right before he took the puck.