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Jaromir Jagr Joins Penguins Practice … in Full Gear!



Pittsburgh Penguins Jaromir Jagr

CRANBERRY — The security line to enter the Pittsburgh Penguins practice was to the front door and growing. On Jaromir Jagr weekend, the great 68 himself made an unscheduled visit to the Penguins practice facility and word spread.

And spread.

But that was only a prelude to what will probably be the most fun story of the Penguins’ season. The 52-year-old Jagr joined Penguins practice in full gear, participating in drills at full speed.


Jagr electrified the capacity crowd with a couple of goals in the drills and a couple of near misses.

“I realized he was trying to score on every one,” said goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. “He set the tone … his shot his heavy. You know, some are fast, his (shot) is heavy.”

It seems Penguins captain Sidney Crosby also appeared to be enjoying the spectacle.

Pittsburgh Penguins, Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby


Jagr left practice after about 20 minutes and conducted interviews on the bench with Czechia media.

“We know how good he is, but I’m surprised he’s still skating pretty well,” said Evgeni Malkin. “I’m excited to skate with him today. You know it’s a great memory for me.”

Earlier Saturday morning team tweeted photos of the leather-jacket-clad Jagr meeting with Crosby and Kris Letang, both of whom also figure to have a celebratory weekend of their own in the future.

Letang and Nedeljkovic wore a mullet wig at the beginning of practice.

Jagr’s iconic No. 68 will be retired by the Penguins on Sunday before they face the LA Kings at PPG Paints Arena. Jagr is not yet in the Hockey Hall of Fame because, at 52, his career is not yet over. The Penguins first-round pick (fifth overall) in 1990 continues to play for the Czech league team that he owns, Kladno.

Jagr played 806 games for the Penguins over 11 seasons and is the second all-time leading scorer in NHL history, behind only Wayne Gretzky. Jagr scored 439 goals with the Penguins and amassed 1079 points.

As the Penguins faced dire financial circumstances in 1999, Jagr played through a serious leg injury to score a late game-tying goal and then the overtime winner in Game 6 of their first-round series against the New Jersey Devils. Jagr then set up the Game 7 winner, leading the eighth-seeded Penguins to an upset of the top-seed Devils in Game 7 — and millions in badly needed revenue.

Must read: The Men Who Built the Penguins: Jaromir Jagr

Eventually, the organization’s crumbling finances forced the team to trade Jagr to the Washington Capitals in the summer of 2001 for Kris Beech, Ross Lupaschuk, Michal Sivek, and significant cash considerations.

Jagr finished his NHL career with 1921 points, including 766 goals.

Who knows, perhaps Jagr will become the first player to unretire in the game in which his jersey was retired. Perhaps he could help the power play? We kid, but we can hope.