Patrick Kane has made a fan of Jaromir Jagr, who likes the way he ‘slows the game down’
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter December 23, 2013 9:42PM
New Jersey Devils v Chicago Blackhawks
Updated: January 25, 2014 6:31AM
With two points on Friday against the Vancouver Canucks, Patrick Kane moved to within three points of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby for the NHL scoring lead. Crosby responded with three points the next day. And yes, Kane noticed.
“You know where each other are,” Kane said after Monday’s morning skate. “If you said otherwise, you’d probably be lying. I watched a few of his games lately, and it just seems like when he wants to take over the game, he just does it.”
Kane ran his points streak to 12 with a goal in the second period Monday night against the New Jersey Devils. As he makes a run at his first scoring title, Kane has picked up points in 24 of his last 25 games.
As he chases down a current Penguins icon, Kane drew high praise from a former one, five-time scoring champion Jaromir Jagr, now of the Devils.
Jagr, 41, has 13 goals, moving him past Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman and into a tie for seventh place all-time with Mark Messier. So the admiration he has for Kane — who called Jagr one of the most “fun” players to watch growing up — carries some weight.
“Him and [Pavel Datsyuk] are my favorite players in the league to watch,” Jagr said. “He’s kind of the prototype player from 1995, and he’s playing this league. He slows the game down, and that’s the way we used to love it. The young kids, they don’t do it anymore — they just go straight up with the best speed they can have, and then they hit the boards, and they go the other way. But [Kane is] different. That’s why he can dominate the league, because he’s playing a different style. You can know it right away when you watch him.”
Jagr believes Kane would have fit right in during the more open era of hockey in which Jagr started his career.
“He’s quick, that’s another advantage,” Jagr said. “He slows everything down, but he’s got the first two steps. So nobody can really take the puck from him, even though he’s not a big guy. His intelligence is far ahead of a lot of guys. He knows how to use the strength he’s got to his advantage. Not many guys can do that. He’s one of the ones that can do it.”
In the meantime, Kane will keep chasing Crosby, another Penguins icon who shows no signs of slowing down. Can he keep up?
“I don’t know,” Kane said. “First and foremost, you want to worry about yourself and not worry about what other guys are doing, and try to produce as much as you can personally. But [Crosby is] a guy that always seems to be ahead of the pack. Even last year he had some crazy numbers [56 points] and he only played  games. He seems to produce at a very high pace.”