A lot of things can be said about Jaromir Jagr, and now “future coach” seems to be among them.
Since signing with Avangard Omsk, he has taken Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov under his wing, as he did with Rangers rookie Brandon Dubinsky last year. Cherepanov, who scored a hat trick in Omsk’s first preseason game (preseason hockey in August!), said that Jagr has been incredibly helpful so far.
- Do you communicate with him often?
- Yes, sometimes I ask him about the NHL. Jaromir knows that I have been invited there, and once said: “You want to play in the NHL - train more.” After these words I began to work even harder. By the way, after each practice Jaromir works extra with me: shows me all kinds of techniques, teaches me how to shoot, tells me how and on what I still need to work. In a way he is one of my coaches.
This must be very surreal for Cherepanov, who grew up idolizing Jagr. The young forward still admits he’s a bit starstruck to have Jagr on his team, giving him advice.
- Last season, you said more than once that Jagr is your idol and that you dreamed of playing on one team with him. Today your dream has come true…
- You can’t even imagine what emotions are now overflowing in me. A dream is a dream, but at the same time, even I could not imagine that we would play together for the Omsk club!
- Most likely, you now wait for the chance to play with him on one line?
- I think that such a thing is possible! Anyway, now I dream of scoring off a pass from Jagr.
- Has it been possible to get the autograph of the Czech?
- Not yet, but after all, the whole season is still ahead.
And one quote that should be worrisome for Rangers fans: “And then when I learned that my idol would play in Omsk, I generally forgot about the NHL for awhile.”