After Jaromir Jagr signed with the New Jersey Devils this summer he indicated that the 2013-14 season could be his last as a professional hockey player. At the ripe young age of 41 already and with his 42nd birthday coming during the campaign, no one would have held it against the NHL’s active scoring leader if he decided to hang up his skates.
He appears to have decided against those initial feelings of retirement though. He spoke to David Isaac of the Philadelphia Courier-Post about his intentions once this season has concluded:
I’ll tell you one thing, as long as I don’t die, it’s not my last year of playing hockey. I don’t know where I’m gonna play. I don’t know if I’m gonna play U.S. or somewhere else. I’m gonna play. I’ll play until I cannot walk. I love the game too much to leave it.
Some moving words when you consider Jagr’s current situation. On a nightly basis he’s been one of the best players out on the ice for the Devils. While that’s a testament in part to the sure-fire Hall of Famer’s greatness, it also speaks volumes about how poor New Jersey has been this season.
With the sudden Ilya Kovalchuk divorce, the Devils scraped together a mishmash of forwards to try and ease the scoring burden. Along with Jagr, New Jersey inked Michael Ryder and Ryane Clowe to fill the Kovalchuk void. While Jagr and Ryder have been come in and played well, Clowe has yet to take to the ice wearing a Devils uniform.
Despite a 4-7-5 record, Jagr seems content though. Per the Post report:
I’m happy right now…I’m very happy. I love Lou [Lamoriello]. He’s honest. If you play bad, he’ll tell you. If you play good, he’ll tell you. He’s an honest guy. I have no complaints after signing with the Devils.
As long as Jagr can still skate and score it’s likely that he’ll be able to find a home in the NHL somewhere. From the outside it appears that he’s just plugging away as a hired gun, but when you consider what the man has already made in his career and what he could be pulling down in the KHL, it becomes clear that this is just a young man trapped in an aging body that still has the itch to lift the Stanley Cup.