We all knew this day way coming. Finally the moment we’ve been preparing for has arrived, yet still no one seems really ready to accept the news that legendary winger and former Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Jaromir Jagr is done in the NHL.
The 45-year-old future Hall of Famer cleared waivers earlier this week and his agreement with the Calgary Flames looks to be done. It’s likely that he’ll play out the season with his hometown Kladno HC in the Czech league, but could there be one more NHL destination in his sights before heading overseas?
Penguins fans have rallied together the past fews days and created a groundswell of support for a Jagr signing in Pittsburgh… but not in the traditional sense. As much of a feel-good story as it may be, there’s simply no way fits into this team’s current lineup. Under head coach Mike Sullivan, the Penguins are built for speed and puck pursuit. Jagr’s not exactly a greyhound, not these days at least.
No, what Pens fans are calling for is for GM Jim Rutherford to sign Jagr to a one-day contract so that he can retire as he should, a Pittsburgh Penguin. The problem? Fat chance says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jason Mackey.
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.