It’s always sad to see a legend retire. (It’s also a little depressing when you’re the same age as the ‘legend’.) When Jaromir Jagr started playing professional hockey I was graduating high school. Since then, Jagr has played twenty seasons in the NHL and a few in the Russian’s KHL. During his tenure in the NHL he has played for seven teams in the league, finishing up last season as a member of the Boston Bruins.
Jagr was brought on in the middle of last season as part of a trade with the Dallas Stars. (There is still a part of me that thinks the successful Jagr trade with Dallas helped open the negotiations with the Stars that led to the Seguin-Eriksson trade.) He came into the team tied with Marchand for the amount of goals scored at that point of the season. In the eleven regular season games he played with the Bruins he put up two goals and seven assists for the Black and Gold. Jagr displayed his skill with the puck. Some of those games seemed more like Jagr having a clinic on the ice for other NHL players.
While it was fun to watch Jagr play in the post season, it did seem clear that the years were catching up to him. He did play in all twenty two postseason games for the Bruins. As good as his puck skills were, he wasn’t able to light the lamp in the playoffs. (He did accrue ten assists though.) I wasn’t a hockey fan when he started his career. Now that I am, it was a privilege to see the 41 yr old Czech superstar play in the Garden with him wearing the Black and Gold. At the end of the year, it was pretty clear to both sides that Jagr wouldn’t be staying on next season. He did get signed to a one year deal with the New Jersey Devils. This two million dollar deal means that one more team will get to watch the legend play, and that team Jagr will need one more person to fill out a Devils jersey.
Yesterday, Jagr posted on his official Facebook site. He posted it in Czech, but thankfully Facebook now comes with an auto-translator.”It looks like this will be my last season, so I can’t go too much to risk. And I’m staying true to what worked for me my whole life.”(the translation may not be 100%) So, it looks as if it will be the end of a very big era in hockey. While # 68 won’t be hanging from the rafters at the Garden, it’s assured that his number will be retired in Pitsburgh.