Tag:Jaromir Jagr
Posted on: April 18, 2009 10:41 am

From Russia, With Love

After signing a lucrative contract with Avangard Omsk, it appears that Jaromir Jagr's days in the NHL are indeed over. It's a melancholy emptiness. Almost surreal. Little fanfare, as Jaromir quietly leaves out the back door. Somehow I expected a more appropriate end for one of the NHL's most explosive and decorated talents. I never envisioned the final chapter in his hockey history would be titled From Russia, With Love. The New York Rangers essentially made the decision for him. Disgrading all sane reasoning and logic, they went in favor of underachieving Markus Naslund. A vastly inferior talent who's production pales in comparison (Jagr owns a sparkling 1.25 career point average. But I'm afraid you'll need an electron microscope to detect Naslund's 0.79). True, Jagr is slightly older. But he makes up for it, with desire and will. Naslund and great work ethic have never been used together in the same sentence. After a dreadful start, Jagr sizzled in the second half, finishing with 71 points. Naslund had yet another uneventful and uninspiring season, recording a paltry 55 points. But it was in the playoffs where Jagr reaffirmed his legend status. While Chris Drury and Scott Gomez performed skillful disappearing acts, Jagr carried the Blue Shirts with 15 points in 10 games. He was dangerious scoring threat on every shift. Though bowing in five games, Jagr gave the Pittsburgh Penguins all they could handle. Despite playing primarily in an era dominated by Michelin Man goalie equipment and rampant obstruction, Jaromir Jagr dominated like few could. You could be assured of at least one highlight reel play a game. On many nights, it looked like a man against boys. The Stars from the Cup-winning team were long gone, replaced by bargain basement players that the cash-strapped franchise could actually afford. Yet, not a word of discontent. Instead he simply got the optimum output from a makeshift cast. Amassing a treasure trove of hardware while establishing himself as the era's definitive superstar. Arguably the greatest European born and trained player ever to lace a pair of skates, he was not without his fair share of critics. His stint with the Washington Capitals was lackluster and forgettable. Time forever lost. A unsightly blemish in an otherwise illustrious career. Sure he was moody. And slightly aloof. But win or lose, he always treated the media with respect. I don't recall any Ryan Leaf episodes. Do you? After all he's accomplished in North America, it's ironic that the only franchise willing to offer two years is European. Well, whenever Jaromir Jagr does decide to hang up his skates, he will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the game's true superstars. In the same honorable breath as Dionne, Hawerchuk, Mikita, Savard & Stastny. Do svidaniya Jaromir! You will be missed.
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