Off the Crossbar: Jagr Seeks Multi-Decade Contract

With 23 NHL seasons under his belt, Jaromir Jagr, the ageless wonder, has no plan for retirement or to even slow down. “I’m just getting started,” said the oldest player in the NHL. “I’m looking for a new 30-to-40-year deal. Maybe longer.”

Jaromir Jagr
Jaromir Jagr (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

Though a deal of that magnitude is clearly not permitted by the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, it’s possible Gary Bettman will allow an exception for the 45-year-old winger.

“Jaromir is almost superhuman,” said the perplexed league commissioner. “He doesn’t really fall under the typical player category.” The Napoleon-like leader then paused, shuffled his feet and sheepishly acknowledged the truth, whispering, “Plus, I’ve always had a man crush on his mullet.”

Career Stats

Jagr’s 23-season, eight-team career has made him one of the most universally respected and admired players in the modern era. This past year at the All-Star break, he was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players. His 1,914 points are second in NHL history behind Wayne Gretzky (2,857) while his 135 game-winning goals top the NHL all-time leader list.

(Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

Jagr, like the Energizer Bunny, keeps going and going, producing and producing. Last year with the Florida Panthers, he put up 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in 82 games while skating alongside players that are young enough to be his children or even grandchildren. On road trips, he usually tucks them in at night.

Jagr won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s scoring leader in 1994-95, finished second and fifth the next two seasons, then won four in a row from 1998-2001. His last scoring title came in 2000-01 when he put up 121 points for the Penguins, and his 127 points in 1998-99 are the most by any player in the past 20 seasons.

Keeping in Shape

Jagr’s dedication to the game and his incredible work ethic are well documented. He starts each day with a bowl of penny nails, chased by a dozen raw eggs. His routine then takes him to the gym for six to eight hours. Even on game days.

At the gym, after a 20-mile warmup run, he does 30,000 squats to target his gluteul muscle group. Its hydrolic press-like grip supplies 10,000 square inches of pressure. It was the inspiration for the death of the Schwarzenegger character in the Terminator.

“Jaro’s butt has the equivalent of a six-pack,” said personal trainer, Sven Svenson. “His sphincter could crack a walnut.”

In fact, his gluteal region is so powerful, after playing a round of golf, some teammates have sworn to seeing him crush a golf ball into powder just to win a few bar bets.

“Once, he turned my sleeve of Titleist Pro V1s into a cloud of dust right before my eyes,” said a flabbergasted Jonathan Huberdeau. “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it!”

Jonathan Huberdeau
Jonathan Huberdeau was baffled at the site of Jagr’s trick. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

No doubt one of his finer assets, Jagr’s butt has helped him throughout his career. He uses it along with his long reach to gain position and create space. “If you’re out there playing man on man, you gotta play man on Jagr, man on butt,” said defenseman and former Panther teammate Dmitri Kulikov.

Jagr talks with media (J. Johnson/THW)

“Playing hockey is like a vacation for me. It’s not really hard work,” said Jagr. “The game is different (today). It’s changed a lot. But the rules stay the same–if you work harder than anybody else, you’re going to be better than anybody else.”

Jagr’s as much a jokester as he is a workout fiend. It’s been said he once called over a reporter after a game. The reporter obliged and Jagr promptly took off his shirt, pointed to his abs and said, “Look, I swallowed a turtle.”

Getting His Start

Jagr was drafted as an 18-year-old by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the fifth pick in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. Back then, Furbies were all the rage, Saturn brand cars were hip, and Bart and the rest of the Simpsons were just getting started.

To give further perspective, 1990 was the year Margaret Thatcher resigned, ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ topped the charts, and when Mrs. Fletcher fell to the floor like a newborn giraffe in a LifeCall ad and yelled, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Players that are Jagr’s age are usually playing Bingo on cruise ships in the Caribbean, excited for the 4:30 all-you-can-eat dinner buffet. The mullet man, however, insists he can still cruise through the neutral zone and be an offensive threat.

Age Is Just a Number

When Jagr completes this season, he will become the fourth-oldest player in NHL history, behind forward Gordie Howe (52 years, 11 days), defenseman Chris Chelios (48 years, 71 days) and goaltender Maurice Roberts (45 years, 345 days).

(Courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

Gordie Howe is the oldest player to have played an NHL game. Mr. Hockey, widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, played his final game in his final season with the Hartford Whalers in 1979-80. And that wasn’t because he could no longer play, it was because his dentist told him that the next time his wooden dentures got broken, he wouldn’t be able to fix them.

Next Contract

There’s no doubt in Jagr’s mind he has decades of NHL seasons left in him. Despite his age, the two-time Stanley Cup champion can be a reliable top-six forward and power-play specialist. The Czech refuses to age, expecting to play through the year 2052, appearing in another 2,300 games and racking up an estimated 4,000 career points.

Many have seen Jagr’s Tweets jokingly complaining about how general managers called him nonstop when he was a free agent at 24 years old, but none of them are calling him now. It’s quite possible the reason is simple: He has yet to upgrade his Motorola DynaTAC handheld cellular phone. The phone is not compatible with today’s operating systems. Of course, Jagr also still loves his Atari console and Zumba parachute pants.

Look for Jagr to get an offer this week.

*Relax. It’s satire.

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