“It looks like it will be my last season, so I can’t be too risky.” Those are the words of Jaromir Jagr on his official Facebook page. The 42-year-old right winger basically stated that this upcoming campaign has a good chance at being his final season. He made sure he didn’t make some kind of official announcement, but this isn’t exactly a surprise. Even though he is playing at such a high level, he isn’t the same player he is used to being given his age.
So will Jagr get the same farewell tour that Mariano Rivera is getting in baseball? No, Rivera is one of the most respected players in baseball history, and Jagr used to have a reputation of being hated. Jagr will most likely get booed in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The fact is that Jagr has not-so-quietly been one of the best players to play in the NHL. He ranks eighth all-time in career points and has a shot to catch Mario Lemieux this season to move into sixth all-time. He averages over a point per game in the playoffs.
Jagr has been one of the most clutch players in the history of hockey. He owns the record with Phil Esposito for most game-winning goals in history. He stands alone with 17 overtime goals, also a record. He had 15 straight 30-goal, 70-point seasons. He is the only player to play in a Stanley Cup Final as a teenager and in his 40s. He is the very best European player the game has ever seen. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion. He is an Olympic gold medalist.
He is a five-time scoring champ and a three-time MVP award winner (the Lester B. Pearson award, the MVP as voted by the players). He is a 12-time all-star. He has done everything there is to do in this game.
The one draw back against Jagr is that he was a guy who seemed to sour upon his situation quite quickly. After playing his first 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he never played more than three and a half seasons with one team. He went on to play for the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers, then to the KHL, then with the Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins and now the New Jersey Devils.
Not many star players played with eight different teams in any sport.
What will end up being Jagr’s legacy? He will be a player who transcends the game. He was a super athlete who played every single game possible. He put a little extra oomph into the games he played. He was an enigma. You despised him when he played for your opponent, but you loved him when he was wearing your team’s sweater.
He was a must-watch player in an era of greatness. He will be missed, whether you miss cheering for him or booing him — depends on the team you root for. Either way, he is the kind of player that makes you say “wow”, and that will end up being his career legacy.