Throughout 2013-14, Jaromir Jagr hasn’t been afraid to say when he’s unhappy with the New Jersey Devils’ play and things ultimately didn’t turn out the way he wanted.
This wasn’t a season he’ll soon forget though. In fact, the two-time Stanley Cup winner will cherish this campaign more than most.
“I’ve had a lot of good times. It was probably the most enjoyable, or one of the most enjoyable, years I’ve had,” Jagr told the Star-Ledger. “I know we didn’t make the playoffs, but I probably had the most scoring chances I’ve ever had in my hockey career. Even when I was scoring so many goals, I didn’t have this many chances. It’s tougher to score goals.
“In the last 10 games I didn’t score many, but I could’ve had two a game easily. For me, I had so much fun. We had a chance to win every game.”
Part of his glowing reviews of this season might also come from the fact that he got to play with goaltender Martin Brodeur. They spent their careers as adversaries and now that they’re on the same side, it’s clear that the future Hall of Famers have a lot of mutual respect. Brodeur feels that Jagr is the top player he ever played against, while Jagr doesn’t think anyone will ever replicate what Brodeur’s accomplished.
“It’s been special,” Devils coach Pete DeBoer said of the opportunity to lead Jagr and Brodeur. “I look at it as an opportunity of a lifetime … a great honor and a great pleasure.”
Although both of them have expressed an interest in extending their careers, this afternoon’s game against Boston might be Brodeur and Jagr’s last. If it is though, that’s not on the 42-year-old forward’s mind.
As he put it, “Go and ask someone who is 70 or older: ‘Do you think about the fact tomorrow might be your last day in life?'”
It’s inevitable that his career will have an ending, but for now he’s enjoying the ride.