He had 34 games, 14 goals, 12 assists, and 20 penalty minutes as a Dallas Star. That’s it. Out of 1733 games, 766 goals, 1155 assists, and 1167 penalty minutes the Stars career of the legendary Jaromir Jagr is a gust of wind after a hurricane.
It feels like it was more significant than that. Jaromir Jagr is one of those names that brings gravitas with it. His name alone just sounds like hockey. It rolls off the tongue with alliterative perfection. The cult of personality he brought made hockey fun. The stories about his workout habits added to his legacy. The mullet. The Travelling Jagrs. Adding him to a Stars team coming out of bankruptcy hell under Tom Gaglardi felt meaningful.
In the end the Stars turned Jagr into a first round pick that became Jason Dickinson which is likely to be where most of the significance of the Jagr in Dallas tenure comes from. Dickinson shows flashes and has the statistical profile to suggest he’s going to be a quality NHLer.
Can we take a moment to appreciate the Pittsburgh Penguins teams he was a part of early in his career? In his rookie season Jagr was teammates with Hall of Famers Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Paul Coffey, Larry Murphy, Mark Recchi, Bryan Trottier, and Joe Mullen. It’s almost insulting to just call these guys Hall of Famers.
He ended up playing with Eric Lindros, Luc Robitaille, Brian Leetch, Adam Oates, Mark Messier, Brendan Shanahan, Henrik Lundqvist, Sergei Zubov, Peter Bondra, Sergei Gonchar, Markus Naslund, Alex Kovalev, Jamie Benn, and numerous other great players throughout his career. He’s seen everything at this point.
Watching the Super Bowl made me think more about Jagr. He and Tom Brady are approximate equals in their sports. Brady, even though he lost, was still Brady in the Super Bowl at 40 years old. Barring something unforeseen he’s going to go out leaving his fans with a final image that looks close to peak Brady. Seeing Jagr limp out of the NHL, probably for good, with his 20th franchise (estimated) sucks.
I promise this isn’t about to turn into a #PleaseLikeMySport story.
I think it goes to show you how physically difficult playing in the NHL is compared to being an NFL quarterback. Brady does get hit sometimes. His main job is to maintain his arm strength enough to let the football IQ he has developed over 30 whatever years to shine through. I can’t stress enough that I’m not minimizing what he has been able to do. It’s immensely impressive.
We know the reputation Jagr has for fitness. Sure, he isn’t on the TB12 athletic scientology plan. He has to maintain his legs. He has to be able to skate well enough to keep up with younger and younger players who keep skating at higher and higher levels. Can you even imagine Jagr in a straight race with Connor McDavid? It would be embarrassing. He has to be able to take a more consistent physical toll and his body has to respond faster to the more rigorous demands of an NHL schedule.
So I watched the Super Bowl both impressed with Brady and thinking about how impressed I am with Jagr despite both players being at different points in their careers. I’m 32 and my knee hurts walking up the stairs. Brady keeps doing his thing, and despite time catching up with him Jagr continued to be a useful NHL player into his mid-40’s.
He’s going to go down as one of the 5-10 greatest players in league history. There will always be a legit Stars 68 Jagr jersey. We were fortunate enough to get to see greatness up close and personal, old greatness but greatness nonetheless, for a handful of games. His tenure with the Stars may ultimately be meaningless, but anyone who got to experience those few games will remember them.
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