Jaromir Jagr is the hockey equivalent to a professional wrestler who doesn’t know when to retire.
That’s where I see him now as he’s trying his best to get signed to an NHL squad this year, going out of his way to make some comical videos that get to the masses and make them feel sorry for the 45-year-old veteran for not having a contract in the NHL or going elsewhere to get a contract to play hockey. With the reports of his decision day being October 5th, it doesn’t really bode well for Jagr to return to the NHL full-time, at least for right now. Considering camps are in full swing and that date is a couple days after the NHL puck-drop on the season– I doubt he would get signed to an NHL club if that was the case
I get that people want to hold onto that nostalgia. I mean, hell– he’s the last of the NHL94 guys still playing and that will kill a lot of people’s childhood. But, like most things– they have to come to an end some time. If not now, it’ll be down the road as we all can’t hold onto things forever. You have to let them go and remember the joy they brought to you when you had them.
While I can understand why he wouldn’t want to go on a PTO contract– it’s not really a matter of signing him because team’s don’t know what he’s about– which is what he told a reporter; but it’s a matter of trying him out to see if he fits into the team scheme. In Florida, he was able to be a leader on a young team, have a more possession style of play, and not have to worry about paying taxes…which I’m sure has no bearing on contracts he’s been presented so far.
The whole deal with the Florida Everblades was a fun marketing thing, but it wasn’t a serious consideration for Jagr. May have been for the ECHL and the Everblades, but not for the man himself. If Jagr wanted to play in the minor leagues, he would have signed on with someone already. He hasn’t played there before, doubt he’ll be playing there now.
Also, with this– he can play one last time with the Czech Republic at the Olympics…if they want him to. I mean, why not– he already broke his international retirement once to play in the Worlds— why not have him jack a spot on the Olympic roster for old-time sake. Hell, call up Dominik Hasek to see what he’s doing, get the whole 1998 squad back together.
It’s great he still has a passion for the game, but maybe it’s time to step aside from the big stage for a bit and stay in hockey in another capacity. He still owns his own team in the Czech Republic, so he won’t be completely detached from the game– plus he could pull a Roger Dorn and activate himself as he sees fit.
Yet, the point is this…we’re going to have to say goodbye to Jagr the same way we said goodbye to Teemu Selanne. Sure, he may be beloved by some, but it’s better to have him end the career, remember the good times he had, the highlights we saw, and the personality throughout the years he gave us than to see a broken man in the downside of his 40s struggle through the slog of the NHL schedule.