It's been almost two years since hockey fans in North America have had a good look at Jaromir Jagr on the ice, and we were quickly reminded on Wednesday night that, even at the age of 38, he can still dominate a hockey game and be the best player out there as he helped lead the Czech Republic to a 3-1 win over Slovakia.
With the game tied, 1-1, late in the second period, Jagr helped force a turnover in the neutral zone when he knocked the puck away from Marian Hossa. Roman Cervenka picked up the loose puck and connected with Jagr flying down the center of the ice for a breakaway, where he then ripped a wrist shot past Jaroslav Halak for what would be the eventual game-winning tally. Less than two minutes later, Jagr helped secure the win for the Czech Republic when he put on a clinic below the goal line to set up Tomas Plekanec's power play goal with two seconds remaining in the period.
For hockey fans that grew up in the early-to-mid-90s, seeing players like Jagr, Sergei Fedorov and Peter Forsberg on the ice for this tournament is pretty incredible, especially since Jagr has let his hair grow back out, giving us some hilarious flashbacks to when he was sporting a mullet. The only thing that could make this better, for me, would be a Pavel Bure sighting.
"I made a decision two years ago I'm going to go play in Russia and I said I'm not going to look back," said Jagr. "I signed for two years and in three months my contract expires and then I'm going to make a decision what's going to happen next. I'm not going to tell you I miss or I don't miss (the NHL) because I said I'm not going to do it. "I always look at the life that way."If he did want to return to the NHL for the first time since the 2007-08 season there would be no shortage of teams lining up for an opportunity to sign him for a year.