An open letter to Jaromir Jagr
author: ethan butterfield | staff writer
Hockey Legend leaves NHL
When talking about the greats in terms of hockey, there is definitely a handful of players and coaches from which to choose from. Some personal favourites of mine include Vincent Lecavalier, Ray Bourque, Ron Hextall, and the always charming Sean Avery. However, despite being solid players in their own right, none of them really hold a candle to the machine that is Jaromir Jagr. If you want to talk about a dedicated, hard-working athlete in sports, you can look no further than Jagr himself. The man does 1000 squats a day. A DAY. SINCE 1987.
As most in the sporting world may know, it seems as though Jaromir’s time in the NHL is coming to an end. After playing with the Calgary Flames for a bit, the organization and Jagr agreed that he wasn’t up to speed, after missing summer training and a proper training camp. What followed was the Flames putting him on injury reserve earlier in the year and, thus, he eventually was put on waivers (interestingly not on contract terminating waivers). Clearing said waivers quickly, Jaromir heads home to HC Kladno, the team that Jagr has partial ownership.
Many have seen this departure as a sort of end of an era for the hockey legend, with Jagr being one of the last gunslingers finally riding off into the sunset. That being said, though, there’s always a possibility that Jagr could be recalled by Calgary, however slim that chance may be.
Of course, Jagr’s response to a possible NHL return went as such:
“My first goal is to get healthy, to start training properly, and be able to enjoy hockey, which I can’t do without training, if I’m healthy and train, I know that I’ll be hungry to manage something.”
So the option exists, but as the man himself said, he needs to get healthy first.
Honestly, as someone who respects older players for putting in as many years as they do, Jagr is an individual that still has good years left in him. The guy is 45 years old and he still manages to play at a professional level that is ever changing.
In fact, during his run with the Panthers a couple years back in 2015-16, Jagr put up 66 points. Not spectacular numbers by any means, but at the age of 43? That’s pretty impressive, all things considered. The man is beyond talented and age is just another obstacle for him to outdo.
Unfortunately, one bad season is all the proof someone needs for them to call you out-dated, which is more or less what happened during Jagr’s run with the Flames. By only putting up 7 points in 22 games, it’s no wonder did not work out in Calgary.
Perhaps his recent performance as a part of the HC Kladno will turn some heads, as Jagr managed to lend a helping hand with three assists during his first return game. Despite the recent success however, it’s as Jaromir stated above, he wants to get healthy first before he even considers making a comeback.
So what are Jagr’s options if a return was waiting in the wings? Well the Boston Bruins are in the running. With a fresher squad than what they usually are accustomed too, Jagr could be the wily veteran directing traffic where needed. Of course, Brad Marchand has also been on the team for a while, so the Bruins probably don’t need Jagr. However, it is something to consider, though. Another potential landing spot is Jaromir’s former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m more against this one for personal reasons, because I hate the Penguins with a burning passion. There would be something poetic about Jagr coming back and making a final run for the Cup. The last team that I can think of as a suitable candidate would be the Toronto Maple Leafs, because they’re the Maple Leafs (swish).
Realistically, can we as fans expect Jagr to once again play in the NHL? Probably, but that isn’t the question we should be asking. Is it worthwhile for Jagr to try to come back?
Jaromir Jagr shouldn’t play in the league again just to try and bring up his overall stats. He should honestly retire with the career he’s had now. One bad injury, one missed shot, or one missed hit and that’s the Jaromir we’ll all remember. After accumulating 766 goals in the NHL and more than 1,000 assists, I think it’s safe to say that Jagr has had a fine run as a hockey player. Would I like to see him go for gold and win the Cup? Of course! (As long as it’s not with Pittsburgh.) However, do I want to see this legend risk his health in order to do that? No, not so much.
All things considered, whatever Jagr chooses to do is ultimately his decision. Fans may agree or disagree with it, but thems the facts; it’s ultimately down to him. I just hope that the man looks after himself first and foremost before trying to have any sort of major star comeback. Long story short, here’s to Jagr and all success that may find him from here on out. May you continue to fly that beautiful mullet of yours.