This kid I know tried to pick a fight with Jaromir Jagr. Well, OK, not really, but...

A bunch of us were at Dad's Diner on Boylston Street, when Jagr, Mario Lemieux, Kevin Stevens, and two other Penguins come walking in. Jagr was the only one I recognized, because of the big poofy haircut he has. One of my friends, Craig, sitting two stools down from Jagr, attempted to start a "Let's Go Rangers!" chant. Unfortunately, he was the only one doing it, I think mostly because we were in Boston, and the Rangers play in New York. The Penguins probably didn't even hear him, but being about 30 points up in the standings on the Rangers, they probably wouldn't have taken offense, either.

Meanwhile, every puck fuck in Boston is gathered around the Penguins. Now this other kid John has a problem. After about two beers, he can't stand not being the center of attention. And when five of the Pittsburgh Penguins are in a bar, chances are you're not going to be the center of attention. He's sufficiently wasted, and he keeps talking shit about Jagr, but not loud enough for Jagr to hear. Then he starts talking about breaking a beer bottle over his head. "I'm gonna do it!" he announces. Then realizing that no one is holding him back, he recants, "Naw, I better not." After about an hour-and-a-half of this, we get ready to leave the bar. On the way out the door, he shouts to him, "HEY, JAGR, I'VE SEEN THAT JOFA HELMET YOU WEAR AND IT SUCKS!" Then he runs for his life down Boylston Street.

We catch up to him and he's all excited. "Was he pissed, guys, was he pissed? I got him good! He's too big of a pussy to come after me!" Craig replies, "John, first of all, he's Czechoslovakian. He probably didn't understand a word you said. Second, even if he did, why would he be offended if you don't like his helmet? Third, even if he was offended by it, why would he waste his effort on someone a foot shorter and a hundred pounds lighter than he is?" To which John replies, "You're just pissed 'cause I was the only one that had the balls to talk shit to him!"

Right wing for the Pittsburgh Penguins (1990-2001), the Washington Capitals (2001-2004), and the New York Rangers. Born February 15, 1972 in Kladno, Czechoslovakia (now in the Czech Republic).

Won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins his first two years in the league; the Penguins made the playoffs each season he played with them after missing the playoffs in the 1989-90 season, which gave them the 4th overall draft pick used to select Jagr.

Jagr first won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season, tying Eric Lindros with 70 points and winning the scoring title by virtue of having scored more goals than Lindros. He went on to win 4 consecutive Art Ross Trophies from 1997-2001. He is only the 5th player in NHL history to win the trophy 5 times. From the time of Wayne Gretzky's retirement until Mario Lemieux's return, Jagr was the only active player in the NHL who had ever won the scoring title. No other player in any of the 4 major American sports had ever held that distinction beyond the first year such an award was given in their sport (although, to be fair, this had more to do with the dominance of Lemieux and Gretzky and good timing than anything.)

Jagr also won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player in 1999 and the Lester B. Pearson award in 1999 and 2000 as the MVP as voted by the league's players.

In the 1998 Nagano Olympics, Jagr had 5 points (1G, 4A) for the gold medal winning Czech team.

Jaromir Jagr no longer has a mullet.

Jaromir Jagr's History with the (my) Washington Capitals

Jaromir Jagr's story with my Washington Capitals wouldn't seem all that special, but try thinking of another time in professional sports when a five time scoring champ and the highest paid player in the league put up such bad numbers on such dissipointing teams?!??! Plus considering that the fine District of Columbia and the suburbs of D.C had to deal with this guy for nearly three years and suffered in sagging attendance and cash lost.

Jagr, who came to town in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the summer of 2001 to much much MUCH hoopla. Over 1,000 Caps fans welcomed Jagr when he landed at Dulles International Airport the day he arrived as a Capital and packed the MCI Center throughout the 2001-2002 season. Yet in about two and a half years in D.C, he scored only 83 goals, 118 assists and 201 points in 190 games with a plus/minus of +1.

Yet, Jags run with the Caps can easily be branded a dissipointment. Taking off games for relatively minor injuries (my personal favorite came this year, missing two games with a broken finger nail. This is a HOCKEY PLAYER right?!) not to mention the five-time scoring champ played his worst hockey since he was a teenager. Jagr came to the Capitals after they were on the heels on having won back to back Southeast Division titles and had won the Eastern Confrence title just four years before. During his stay, they have made the playoffs once, and Jagr cooled off during their lone playoff series loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

And not only did Jagr not show hussle on the ice, he quite the media nightmare, talking smack about the team (including on national TV at the 2002 All Star Game), and being a large part of the firing of ex-coach Ron Wilson and having constant clashes with recently made ex-coach Bruce Cassidy. He was eating up over a fifth of the team's salary with his league-high 11 million a year contract (that the Caps still had to pay a chunk of) and rarely did you get the smiling Jagr that was playing for the love of the game.

Jaromir Jagr was traded to the New York Rangers on January 23rd, 2004 for Anson Carter and cash. He played 31 games with the Rangers with only 29 points a -1 plus/minus and the Rangers missing the playoffs for a seventh straight season.

Here are Jagr's most memorable moments in D.C:

-Jags goes -4 with only a shot on goal in the 2002 All-Star Game as the World team beats North America 8-5. He tells ABC Darren Pang after getting off the ice to give up the first goal of the game: "I'm getting used to it from Washington. Every time we step on the ice in Washington, we have minus right away."

-Speaking of All-Star Games, in perhaps his best stretch with the Caps, Jagr is elected a starter to the 2003 All-Star Game. After stating he felt he didn't deserve to start (and didn't) he goes off and records three goals and four assists in the Capitals 12-2 win over the Florida Panthers at the MCI Center. The 12 goals tied a team record and it was Jagr's most productive night of his career. He would then go on to notch four assists in the East's 6-5 loss in the actual All-Star game.

-The Internal Revenue Service reported during the 2000 season that Jagr owed $3,270,209 in income tax for 2001 and last week filed a lien against Jagr in Pennsylvania. The IRS filed a claim for $350,000 in unpaid taxes for 1999.

-As the Caps were crawling for a playoff spot they'd end up losing by only two points, Jagr misses nearly two weeks of hockey in 2001 after Ulf Samuelson of the New York Rangers (ha) decks him.

-And in Jagr's final hurrah in Washington, after getting put on the ice hard, Jagr fires and scores the game-tying goal in a thrilling 3-3 tie with Calgary. His final Washington goal was scored in the Caps 3-2 loss to New Jersey, and oddly enough, his final point as a Cap was an assist against his former, the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Caps 4-3 win over them.

-13,362 fans at MCI boo Jagr all night in his return on March 18th. Jagr has a two point night, but his team ends up losing 4-3 in overtime.

Jagr brought publicity to Washington ice hockey, the Caps saw a big attendance bump his first year, and for the first time ever, enjoyed all 82 games on regional television. Yet for every public bitchfest, for every "illegal stick" penalty (they were plenty) for every wimpy injury and for every (and MANY) great looking drives to the net that seemed to go wrong at the last second, I'm glad he's gone.

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