He started his career in Pittsburgh, and some would even say his best years came in Steel Town. After a short and unproductive stint in Washington, Jagr shipped out to NYC and posed as a volatile threat in the first year after the lockout. More recently, Jagr was rumored to be weighing out some options to return to Pittsburgh. Of course, those rumors proved to be false and Jagr went to Omsk, Russia, where he will play out at least the next two years. Today we'll look back on #68 Jaromir Jagr and his days in the black and gold.
Greatest mullet in all of hockey?
In 1990, the city of Pittsburgh and the NHL welcomed this "guy" from Czechoslovakia with a name that was annihilated by sportscasters around the world (except of course the Czech ones). Jaromir Jagr, the international superstar, joined Mario Lemieux and the rest of the Stanley Cup corps and quickly shot out of the gate in the league. His 80-game rookie season, in which he scored 27 goals and 30 assists for 57 points, would prove to be the lowest of his career. But for a guy who was adapting to a new league 57's not all that bad.
Jags' best year in Pitt came in 1994/95 when he scored 149 points (62G, 87A) and took home the Art Ross Trophy. This would also prove to be the best year of his career.
From 1997 to 2001, Jagr won four-straight scoring titles yet was unable to lead the Pens to the Cup. In 1999, in addition to the Art Ross, Jagr also brought home the Hart and Lester B. Pearsons trophies.
However Jagr's time in Pitt was also spent in the shadow of Lemieux, despite seasons spent without Mario in the line-up due to injuries and illness. The Pittsburgh media had a field day with the fact that Jaromir jumbled up spelled out Mario Jr. In leamieux's absence Jagr had obtained the title of captaincy, yet faced plenty of criticism from fans and writers when he was not asked to give up the 'C' to Mario when he returned. Sometimes it's no wonder that Jagr got fed up in Pitt, and he wasn't afraid to stress this fact in his 2001 trade that sent him to Washington for Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuk.
At the time Beech was regarded as a player that would one day breakthrough as a premier scorer. As evidenced by his return to Pitt this past season, the team, league and experts are still waiting for this breakout.
From a personal standpoint, I had a few Jagr cards in my collection, a poster or picture up on the wall but I will admit - it was all about Lemieux. Sometimes I really think Jagr got the short end of the stick when his career started off, but at the same time I think his career would've taken longer to fire up without Lemieux.
Top 10 Jagr plays. Number 7 = breathtaking.
Nowadays in the 'new' NHL you would see obstruction calls on about eight or nine of those goals.