Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Jagr Visits The Foothills

These two players will soon be teammates. If you didn't hear yesterday, sports media was abuzz with the news that the Flames and Jaromir Jagr had reached a tentative agreement for the 45 year-old superstar to play for the NHL club this season. While both sides were relatively silent about the deal yesterday, today it has been made official as the Czech star will indeed join the southern Alberta NHL franchise. I'd say that's a pretty big get for the Flames when it comes to finding a guy who can make players around him better.

The NHL's second all-time leading scorer behind Wayne Gretzky had reportedly been considering three teams when it sounds like Jagr made a phone call that put Calgary at the top of his list when he called Flames head coach Glen Gulutzen on Sunday.

"We just chatted. Obviously he's talked to a few teams," Gulutzan told reporters. "Everybody knows I had Jaromir in Dallas, so he felt he could call me and just chat."

As of Tuesday, the hockey world rejoiced as Jagr was indeed coming back for what appears to his final NHL season as he's told a Czech newspaper that he's "99.9%" sure this would be his last campaign. Seeing a guy like Jagr, who is a guaranteed Hall-of-Fame inductee, finish his career in Canada is a nice touch for a guy who routinely roasted Canadian teams with his play on the ice.

Reportedly, the contract that he agreed to with the Flames will see him paid $1 million in salary plus another potential $1 million in bonuses. That's a pretty decent contract for a guy who posted 46 points last season and 66 points the season before. The only thing left for the Flames and Jagr to is confirm when he'll be in uniform and on the ice. The Flames open the season tomorrow against the Oilers in Edmonton, so I wouldn't expect him to be ready for that game, but there's hope he could be ready for Saturday night's home opener in Calgary against the Jets.

As a fan who would routinely show up at Jets V1.0 games when they hosted the Penguins only to find out that Lemieux and Jagr had decided to sit that game out, I might actually get a chance to see Jagr one last time. Honestly, if this is his final season, everyone should get out and see him one more time. Heck, cheer the old guy on because I doubt we'll ever see a player like Jagr again.

Yes, there will be guys who will put up points, win all sorts of NHL awards for scoring, play in all-star games, and enjoy life as an NHL player in fun ways, but I doubt that we'll see many players commit 25 years to the NHL like Jagr has to end up as one of the best scorers to ever play the game. And let's not forget that he took some time out to play a few seasons in the KHL when he was still at the top of his game!

I'm happy Jagr is back. I would have loved to have seen him in a Jets jersey for his final season, but getting him back as part of the NHL for this last kick at the can is something we all should celebrate. And if he can help the Flames make the playoffs and possibly advance deep into the playoffs, the Flames will certainly have invested wisely in a 45 year-old, veteran scorer who simply loves to play the game.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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