Jaromir Jagr helped the Czech Republic win its first Olympic gold medal in hockey almost 20 years ago at the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games, and if no NHL team comes calling this season, he may just try for another medal next year in PyeongChang.
Speaking in an interview with Czech TV Sports, the 13-time NHL all-star and two-time Stanley Cup champ said he would attempt to prolong his career in Europe if no NHL team extends him an offer, and if he was asked to help the Czech men’s team in PyeongChang, he’d be more than willing to suit up for his sixth Olympic hockey tournament this upcoming February.
Playing in all 82 games in 2016-17 with the Florida Panthers, Jagr became only the second player in NHL history to score 1,900 career points – second to only Wayne Gretzky (2,857) – according to Hockey-Reference.com.
The past two seasons Jagr had played under one-year deals with the Panthers. In the off-season, reports said the future hall of famer and the Panthers were on opposite sides of the aisle regarding his contract for the 2017-18 season. Jagr’s release was announced in July.
Prior to his release, Jagr had been having a bit of fun on Twitter regarding the lack of interest from NHL franchises.
Jagr does have at least one Olympic record within reach if he plays in PyeongChang. If the 45 year old can put the puck in the net in February he will become the oldest athlete to score a goal at the Olympics, beating the record set in Sochi by then 43-year-old Finland winger, Teemu Selanne.
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The U.S. leaves the World Hockey Championships without a medal, just as it did the Sochi Olympics.
A Czech Republic team led by NHL legend Jaromir Jagr beat the U.S. 4-3 in the quarterfinals in Minsk, Belarus, on Thursday. The U.S. scored twice in the final 1 minute, 10 seconds, but couldn’t get the equalizer after the Czechs had a three-goal second period.
The U.S. got a first-period goal from Brock Nelson, and Tyler Johnson scored both late tallies. Tomas Hertl, Roman Cervenka, Ondrej Nemec and Tomas Rolinek scored for the Czechs on U.S. goalie Tim Thomas, who made 29 saves.
The U.S. roster was completely different from the team that finished fourth at the Sochi Olympics, where it memorably beat Russia in group play thanks to T.J. Oshie‘s shootout heroics. The U.S. fell to Finland in the bronze-medal game in Sochi after beating the Finns for bronze at the 2013 World Championships.
The U.S. roster in Minsk was not nearly as star-studded as it was in Sochi with the NHL playoffs still going on. Its top skaters included Predators defenseman Seth Jones and Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader. Its only player with Olympic experience was Thomas from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Team that won silver.
Abdelkader received a game misconduct for a hit to the head Thursday (video here). The U.S. racked up 41 penalty minutes against the Czechs. The Czech Republic advanced to the semifinals, where it could be joined by Russia, Canada and Sweden.
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Looking for the U.S. or Canadian men’s hockey quarterfinal games? Look no further, as both kick off at noon ET on Wednesday:
MEN’S ICE HOCKEY – Quarterfinals
Canada vs. Latvia: 12 p.m. ET (MSNBC) – CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
United States vs. Czech Republic: 12 p.m. ET (USA Network) – CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The United States faces the toughest of the two opponents, as the Czech Republic represents a mixed bag. On one hand, you have a dangerous (if old) offensive group that features Jaromir Jagr; on the other hand, the team is shaky when it comes to limiting opposing offenses. The U.S. ranks as the favorite in this contest, but they would be foolish to take the Czechs lightly.
It might be tougher for Canada to muster up the same level of respect for Latvia, even though they upset the Swiss in the qualification playoffs on Tuesday. The Canadian team likely wants to gather a little momentum as they haven’t been particularly explosive despite winning comfortably in the tournament.
The winners of these two games will face each other, so it could be another big U.S. contest against Canada, but first the two contenders must take out their quarterfinal opponents.