Let's say someone wanted to argue that Jaromir Jagr isn't that great at hockey (I'm not entirely sure these people exist). I suppose I could sit here and recite his career numbers (they're great), or even just playoff numbers (also excellent), or perhaps where he stands among active players (oh look there he is), or maybe talk about how he's the greatest Czech born player to ever lace up skates (it's almost laughable). I could say Jagr holds an absurd number of records, that he broke one of Gordie Howe's own scoring records last season (he totally did), or that he is one of only two Czech members of the Triple Gold Club, and the only Czech in the club not perpetually wearing a turtleneck.
What inspired me to write this wasn't just the fact that Jagr is great. It was when I came upon a GIF that I made in April - and it reminded me of what a spectacularly ludicrous character Jagr is.
This instance was on April 1, 2014 in which Buffalo and New Jersey engaged in a shootout that went nine rounds. Jagr was one of two Devils to score in the shootout, and it was his only shootout goal in six attempts in last season. The Devils were 0-13 in shootouts last season. At this point in the latter rounds against Buffalo, Jagr showed his true crazy hockey superstitious side and had the entire bench get up and face the other way. Beyond New Jersey's inexplicable shootout woes, Jagr had a great year as he lead the Devils in scoring, and was in the top 30 in the NHL in points. He scored his 700th goal on March 1, 2014.
It's also worth noting that Jagr's never been known for his shootout prowess (Hasek, am I right?). Although Jagr does excel in "skill competitions" that are not traditional shootouts.
But he's also great at entertainment in other ways, usually inadvertent, and extremely bizarre. Or self-depracating in his old age.
Sometimes it becomes reflective, and a little depressing. But the message gets out: the man loves hockey. Isn't that all we want from our favorite players? In this GIF set from a Leafs fan on Tumblr, Jagr talks about how he's not "playing for the numbers". It's quite nice, check it out here.
As for the countless fun moments, of which there are many, I have many links and GIFs to share - mainly links because otherwise this post would crash.
The treasure that is Jaromir Jagr can be appreciated in many ways, from his signature salute, his fan club, his dominance of the zlatá hokejka and Czech hockey adoration in general, and his overwhelming, commanding monopoly on magnificent mullets in history. And don't forget the peanut butter. Good God, don't forget the peanut butter!
In fact, the Jagr commercials are simply amazing. It is essential to watch the Jagr peanut butter commercial as well as what appears to be a bubble tape commercial and this terrifying chicken commercial. nd not to forget - he's a fireman.
Jagr's age is precisely what has defined his change in behavior. Peter Simek wrote a great piece on Jagr in 2013, in which Jagr told him: "Everything changes with your age. You are different thinking. I think you are less selfish. When you are younger you try to prove to the world that you’re the best." Jagr echoes these sentiments frequently in interviews since his return to the NHL a few years ago. He certainly is a different player, but he's still Jagr. And we'll always have those mullets.
I'm required to share my favorite Jagr moment as a Bruin, and here it is:
Was it a penalty committed against Malkin? Yeah, sure. It was still a lovely goal.
Now I leave you with Pierre hugging Jagr at the 2010 ceremony honoring Jagr's Triple Gold achievement. Don't forget, they're probably best friends.