New Jersey Devils’ right wing Jaromir Jagr scored his 18th goal of the season on Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. On Saturday, Jagr could become the seventh-player in NHL history to have at least 700 career goals, according to hockey-reference.com.
Jagr has been so dominant in his career that he has been deemed one of the greatest players in NHL history.
He has won two Stanley Cups, 1991 and 1992 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and numerous awards. He also ranks among the top 10 in numerous categories like assists, goals, goals created and points, according to hockey-reference.com.
Jagr could have retired before the start of this season and waited for his inevitable induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He told Rich Chere of The Star Ledger why he decided to play his 20th season, at 41-years-old, with the Devils.
I don’t care about reputation. I play because I love the game,” Jagr said on (Oct. 1, 2013). “I know people say, ‘Finish on top.’ I don’t agree with that. I’m different. I never played the game because I wanted to be one of the greats. I play because I love this game.
“Even though I’m not what I used to be, I still love the game. I have the same love I had before. People get old. They still love their lives, but they cannot do what they used to do. Are you going to kill yourself? That’s me. I’m going to fight to the end. There are probably a lot of people who don’t agree with me, but I don’t really care.
“Why should I stop doing something that I love? Because I’m going to hurt my name? So what? Are they going to criticize me that I can’t play anymore, that I’m awful? Who cares? As long as I’m giving my best and somebody appreciates my work, I’m happy with that. I’m kind of different that way. You learn to put your ego aside.”
Jagr is not only having a good season, but the team is also having a good season.
His goal gave them a 2-0 lead in the First Period; eventually winning the game 5-2. That win helped them improve their record to 25-22-13, which equates to 63 points.
Prior to Friday’s games, the Devils are in 11th-place and three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Every game is very important for the Devils if they hope to make the playoffs.
Jagr will enter Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders with 699 career goals. He has scored 60 goals in 100 career games against the Islanders, according to hockey-reference.com.
Based on Jagr’s success against the Islanders, it is very likely that he scores his 700th career goal on Saturday. His inevitable 700th career goal will put him in ‘elite’ company.
There have only been six players who have scored 700 career goals, led by center Wayne Gretzky. All of those players have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Jagr did not give any indication on retiring soon, according to Jeff Roberts of NorthJersey.com.
“I would play to 50 if God wills it,” Jagr said.
Jagr has been productive in every NHL season he has played in. He is currently nine goals behind Hall of Fame right wing Mike Gartner for sixth-place on the career goals list.
Regardless of how many goals Jagr ends up scoring when he decides to officially ‘hang up his skates,’ he will be remembered as one of the greatest players in NHL history.