NHL legend Jaromir Jagr finally broke his silence today concerning his departure from the Calgary Flames and the NHL. Meeting with press in his hometown of Kladno, Czech Republic, Jagr admitted that a knee injury prevented him from continuing in the NHL, but that he can push through the pain in order to earn a playoff berth for Kladno HC in the Czech Extraleague.
Jagr is expected to lace up the skates for Kladno this Saturday as they take on rival Benatky.
The most interesting development in all of this however concerns the return of another Czech legend: Petr Nedved.
According the multiple reports, the 46-year-old Nedved intends to un-retire for Saturday’s game and will suit up for Benatky. Forget Kladno vs Benatky… this game will be Jagr vs Nedved. A showdown of two truly legendary Czech hockey players. In terms of the pantheon of all-time greatest Czech players, Jagr and goaltender Dominik Hasek usually vy for the top position, but there’s no denying that Nedved ranks within the nation’s all-time top five.
While we’d prefer to see Jagr plying his trade back in the NHL for at least the remainder of this season, it’s heartwarming to see him get a hero’s welcome in his native country.
There was talk that Jagr may sign a one-day deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins so that he could get a proper send off into retirement, but according to a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey, it’s not likely.
It doesn’t sound likely they’ll do a one-day contract, but they’ll absolutely retire his jersey, shipping it up to the rafters next to No. 66 — as well they should. Had that much reaffirmed last week.
My own opinion: The one-day contact would be a tremendous move. Might feel like an olive branch. Perhaps it would get the ball rolling. Just have to get Jagr to finally admit that he’s done with the NHL. May be hard.
That’s unfortunate. While the relationship between Jagr and the Penguins has been rocky at times, this seems like the perfect opportunity to mend things for good. There’s no doubt that Jagr will get his day in Pittsburgh eventually, but don’t hold your breath on that day coming anytime soon.