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Penguins Jagr: From prospect to superstar

Thursday, July 12, 2001

By Dejan Kovacevic, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Tracing the arc of Jaromir Jagr's career with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

June 16, 1990

Is selected fifth overall by Penguins at NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver. In order, Owen Nolan, Petr Nedved, Keith Primeau and Mike Ricci are taken ahead of him. General Manager Craig Patrick badly butchers pronounciation of Jagr's name, but that doesn't diminish Jagr's glee. "I jumped for joy," he recalled later.

June 19, 1990
Arrives in Pittsburgh for first time. Team takes him on tour of Civic Arena and for a walk along the edge of Mount Washington. Later that night, at a private party at Patrick's house, he meets Mario Lemieux, with whom he gleefully has his picture taken.

Oct. 7, 1990
Registers first NHL goal and point in second game by awkwardly sweeping the rebound of a Jim Johnson point shot behind Devils goaltender Chris Terreri at Civic Arena. Penguins win, 7-4.

Feb. 2, 1991
Becomes youngest player in franchise history to notch hat trick, pumping in three goals to spark 6-2 victory at Boston Garden. He is so enthused after the third goal that he forgets to ask for the puck. Alert teammate Phil Bourque retrieves it for him.

April 5, 1991
Wins Game 2 of first-round playoff series against Devils, 5-4, nine minutes into overtime on breathtaking rush. Carries puck across right edge of blue line, bursts through both defensemen in middle and whips shot past Terreri.

May 25, 1991
Earns first of two Stanley Cup rings with Penguins' 8-0 laugher over North Stars in Bloomington, Minn. Finishes playoffs with 13 points, tops among all rookies. "It's the greatest feeling I've ever had in my life," he would say a few years later. He and teammates are greeted later in the week at Point State Park by more than 50,000 fans, including a few waving Czech flags.

May 11, 1992
Wins Game 5 of second-round series with Rangers at Madison Square Garden, 3-2, by beating goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck on penalty shot. Vanbiesbrouck, thinking Jagr would try his customary move to the backhand, is fooled when Jagr simply wrists the puck on his forehand past the stick side.

May 26, 1992
Scores what Lemieux calls "the greatest goal I've ever seen" in Game 1 of Stanley Cup final against Blackhawks at Civic Arena. He stickhandles through no fewer than three Chicago skaters before whirling through the slot and firing a backhander under goaltender Ed Belfour. Penguins win, 5-4.

June 1, 1992
Wins Cup for second time in second season with Penguins' 6-5 victory at Chicago Stadium. Makes far larger contribution than in rookie season, producing 11 goals, 13 assists in 21 postseason games. Three days later, he and teammates are honored before 50,000 in rain-soaked parade at Three Rivers Stadium.

May 3, 1995
Clinches first Art Ross Trophy as NHL's leading scorer with 70 points in lockout-shortened, 48-game season. His points total is same as Flyers' Eric Lindros, but he wins tiebreaker by having more goals, 32-29. He becomes first European-trained scoring champion in league history.

April 14, 1996
Thanks, in part, to skating on NHL's premier line alongside Lemieux and Ron Francis, he finishes regular season with career-best 62 goals, 87 assists.

His assist total and 149 points are league records for a right winger, but second to Lemieux in scoring race.

April 19, 1998
Wraps up second scoring championship with 102 points, beating Avalanche's Peter Forsberg by 11 points.

Feb. 22, 1998
Wins Olympic gold medal with Czech Republic team by beating Russia, 1-0, in final. Finishes tournament with team-leading five points.

Oct. 8, 1998
With Lemieux retired and Francis lost to free agency, is voted by Penguins' players and coaching staff to become team captain for first time.

March 13, 1999
Scores what many believe to be his most spectacular regular-season goal in 4-0 home shutout of Flyers. He is pulled down from behind but continues sliding toward the net, then reaches up with stick and bats fluttering puck out of the air and high over goaltender Ron Hextall. "One of the top five goals ever scored in hockey," Coach Kevin Constantine calls it later that summer.

April 17, 1999
Wins scoring title for third time by producing 127 points, 20 more than second-place Teemu Selanne of Mighty Ducks.

May 2, 1999
Despite missing previous four games because of groin injury, scores late in regulation and again in overtime to sink Devils, 3-2, in Game 6 of first-round playoff series on home ice. He calls the game "one of my best" in the NHL. Two nights later in New Jersey, Penguins take Game 7, 4-2.

June 24, 1999
Wins Hart Trophy as NHL's most valuable player for first time, drawing 51 of 56 first-place votes from Professional Hockey Writers Association. "Even when I was a little kid, I always dreamed of something big, of being the best player," he says at the ceremony afterward. "This is the best feeling I've had since we won the Stanley Cup in 1991."

Dec. 3, 1999
Records career-best seven points -- three goals, four assists -- in 9-3 home rout of Islanders.

April 9, 2000
Narrowly earns scoring championship with 96 points, edging Panthers' Pavel Bure by two points. Joins Lemieux as only players in NHL history to lead league in points despite missing 20 games or more.

June 15, 2000
Jagr loses bid for second Hart Trophy by one voting point, 396-395, to Blues' Chris Pronger. Voting is the closest in the award's history.

Oct. 14, 2000
Nets career-high four goals in 8-6 romp against Rangers at Mellon Arena.

Dec. 27, 2000
Sets up first goal of Lemieux's comeback with hard rush up right wing, then spinning pass to set up Lemieux's one-timer past Maple Leafs goaltender Curtis Joseph at Mellon Arena.

Dec. 30, 2000
Becomes 12th fasted player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points by rapping home a Lemieux rebound in 5-3 home victory against Senators. Capacity crowd recognizes his achievement with thunderous standing ovation which lasts several minutes.

Feb. 16, 2001
Sets up two goals in 4-4 tie at New Jersey to extend scoring streak to career-best 16 games. He finishes the span with seven goals, 24 assists.

April 7, 2001
Produces goal and two assists in 4-3 loss at Philadelphia to clinch fifth scoring title, finishing with 121 points, three more than Avalanche's Joe Sakic. Is fourth NHL player to win four scoring titles in a row, joining Gordie Howe, Phil Esposito and Wayne Gretzky.

May 5, 2001
Snaps power-play one-timer past goaltender Dominik Hasek in Game 5 of second-round playoff series with Sabres. It's one of only two goals he scores in 16 postseason games and his last in a Penguins uniform.

July11, 2001
Is traded to Washington Capitals.

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