This weekend saw the unceremonious release of Jaromir Jagr from the Calgary Flames. Sure, The Jagr was 45, soon to be 46. Yep, he was injured for most of this season, creating consternation for himself and management. We can concede that the mullet, where he stored his strength, was not quite fully there. Obviously, there wasn’t a trade partner, nor even a poacher waiting in the midst. Still, with all of that, he should have been given a much better seed off rather than just being transferred to his Kladno team in the Czech Republic.
Dave Lozo has an excellent piece on not only why Jagr matters to hockey and it’s fans. In it he suggests how the league could have handled this better (think ASG) and how he was different from today’s talented automatons.
Jagr was too beautiful for this sanitized, cookie-cutter version of the NHL anyway.
Jagr was our last vestige of 1990s hockey; if the NHL wanted to bring back someone for this year’s All-Star Game who has diminished greatly since 1997, why not go with Jagr instead of Kid Rock? It would have taken forethought and deft coordination—two things the NHL should also consider bringing back—along with willingness on Jagr’s part, but it would have been nice to give everyone a chance to say goodbye to a living legend during All-Star weekend.
Jagr was more than just an all-time great; he was an experience. In a league starved for personality to go with talent, Jagr brought both for two decades. The mullet. The salute. The ass. I’d give anything for one of today’s boring NHL superstars to pick one and go with it for a year. Which player wouldn’t instantly become a bigger fan favorite?
Tyler Seguin… with a mullet.
John Tavares… saluting after every goal.
Johnny Gaudreau… with a big ass.
I can’t help but think that we’ll be missing one huge piece of personality on the ice.
It turns out that there’s another from the draft class of 1990 still on the ice.
Now that Jagr is off to Europe, there's only one member of the 1990 draft class on NHL ice.
You'd better believe it's Wes McCauley. 😂 pic.twitter.com/pyGeDlE0EH
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 30, 2018
Oh, yes, Wes McCauley was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the eighth round in the 1990 Entry Draft at pick 150, just 6 picks ahead of Peter Bondra. McCauley chose to stay at Michigan State University starting his playing career in 1993. It was a limited career as injuries took their toll. He chose to become a NHL referee like his father, John and hit the NHL ice in 2003.
So, I guess we still have some personality on the ice, just not in most of the players.
(Does anyone else want him to shout Mortal Kombat when announcing a good goal on review?)