O Jaromir, Jaromir, wherefore art thou a Flyer, Jaromir? I cannot claim to be Shakespeare, but I can voice curiosity just like Juliet.
Jaromir Jágr signed a one-year contract July 1. For $3.3 million, the 39-year-old will look to prove he is not as washed up as some of the other fossils the franchise has caused crowds to inspect.
I must admit that during the Flyers’ lean years in the early 1990s, I admired the Pittsburgh Penguins’ ability to stand out as the NHL’s best. Many people will give exclusive credit to Mario Lemieux, but Jágr enthralled arenas, too. Had matters gone differently, the Czech could have helped the team to two or three more championships to complement its title runs in 1991 and ’92.
With one most valuable player awards and five scoring titles, Jágr was as formidable as any steel that comes from Pittsburgh. I never warmed to him as a Washington Capital and certainly felt his time as a New York Ranger was boring even with his monster 2005-’06 season, where he almost snatched his sixth Art Ross Trophy for being the leading scorer, losing out to Joe Thornton’s 125-point campaign.
I am bad at prognostications. If I were better, I would have no need to write, as correctly predicting lottery drawings would see me doing nothing but indulging my desires and helping others to meet their needs. I do know having been out of the league since ’08, Jágr is not likely to be a force.
He will probably join a sad list of players whom the Flyers acquired well into the twilight of their respective careers. Seeing how bubbly they made us feel, let us look at a few names, shall we? Tony Amonte, Paul Coffey, Dale Hawerchuk, Craig MacTavish, Petr Nedved, Adam Oates and Kevin Stevens. They are a different version of “Eight men out,” as they were guys out of stellar talent by the time they came here.
As a fan but not as a taxpayer, I would be happy if Jágr plays even half of the season. If nothing else, he will be on a team that will eternally respect elders and trade young talent. A few names that fit the latter include Jeff Carter, Kim Johnsson, Janne Niinimaa, Mike Richards, R.J. Umberger, Scottie Upshall and Dainius Zubrus. I would not want to be Claude Giroux or James Van Riemsdyk.
Oh, well, the gentleman hath protested too much. Welcome to Philadelphia, Jágr. It is a city that should love you back and your back pain, you geezer.