January 29, 2018

Back To Kladno: Thank You Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr has cleared through the NHL waivers system and is said to be returning to his native Czech Republic to play for HC Kladno, a team he owns.

It seems the certain Hockey Hall of Famer has played his last NHL game. If so this is an especially sad day for your author as Jagr's exit means there are no active NHLers who are older than me. I am officially old.

Jagr, 45, was always a physical specimen and, in my opinion, one of the top 10 offensive hockey players of all time. He was a true superstar, yet also one of the game's most beloved characters. For all his on-ice brilliance, the word that best describes him is "fun." He is truly one of the greatest hockey legends.

The well travelled Jagr ended up playing with nine NHL teams but will always be remembered as a Pittsburgh Penguin. The magician with the spectacular mullet won two Stanley Cups, five Art Ross trophies as the NHL's leading scorer, one Hart trophy as the league MVP and three Pearson awards (now known as Ted Lindsay Award) as best player as chosen by the players.

Jagr finishes his career with an amazing 766 goals, third all-time; 1,155 assists, fifth all time; 1,921 points, a distant second only to Wayne Gretzky. He is third in NHL games played with 1,733, just 34 short of Gordie Howe. His numbers would be even higher if it was not for three NHL lockouts and three full seasons playing in Russia.

Sadly Jagr did not get the fairy tale end to his career he was hoping for. The writing was on the wall last summer when few NHL teams showed interest in signing the veteran. The Calgary Flames finally offered him a contract after the season started. Having missed all of training camp Jagr simply could not find his game or his legs to keep up with the fast, young man's NHL. That led to injuries and a whimpering end to his career as he scored just once in twenty two games this season.

Jagr will be remembered for his true offensive wizardry as well as his for his fun-loving attitude. Then there is the legendary workout routine where he endlessly pushed himself to be the best he could be. From the age of seven he would do 1000 squats a day.

Jaromir Jagr will be remembered as both creative and fun. In the end even he could not play forever, but he achieved hockey immortality.

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