Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr are now both 41 years old. They are both headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame when their playing days are finished, and have both faced each other hundreds of times over the last 20-plus NHL seasons.
But as the New Jersey Devils officially opened training camp for their veterans Wednesday at the Prudential Center, Brodeur and Jagr now find themselves in a different scenario.
"We've always had mutual respect," said Brodeur, beginning his 20th season with the Devils. "He's one of the best players to ever play the game. He's as good as it gets. It's like bringing a Wayne Gretzky or a Mario Lemieux to our team. He's a quality player, still at his age."
A humble Jagr signed a one-year contract with New Jersey after the Devils' top scorer, Ilya Kovalchuk, retired from the NHL and signed with the KHL in his native Russia.
"I'm not in that category," said Jagr, who split last season between Dallas and Boston, tallying 16 goals and 19 assists in 45 games. "I just try my best."