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Jagr: I’ll play until 70 to beat Gretzky

Jan 12, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT

New Jersey Devils' Marek Zidlicky (2), of the Czech Republic, is congratulated by teammates Stephen Gionta (11), Travis Zajac (19) and Jaromir Jagr (68), also of the Czech Republic, after scored the winning goal in overtime to defeat the Florida Panthers 2-1 an NHL hockey game in Newark, N.J., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz) AP

When Jaromir Jagr tied Mario Lemieux in career points on Tuesday, he wasn’t happy. His team had lost in overtime to Philadelphia and his concerns about the mistakes they had been making took precedence over his personal accomplishment.

The Devils won last night as he claimed sole possession of seventh place in the NHL’s all-time points list, so naturally he was in a much better mood.

The 41-year-old forward suggested that he would play until 70 to make up the 1,133 point gap that remains between him and Wayne Gretzky.

“Hey, I can do it,” Jagr told the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti. “If somebody can do it, I can do it.”

Obviously he was joking, but the kernel of truth is that Jagr isn’t looking to retire anytime soon. He previously said that this wouldn’t be his last year of hockey “as long as I don’t die” and added that he would simply play somewhere else if he couldn’t find work in the NHL beyond the 2013-14 campaign.

Given that he has 13 goals, 36 points, and a team-leading plus-13 rating in 46 games, it seems reasonable to assume he’ll be pursued if he decides to test the free agent waters this summer.

And while Gretzky isn’t a realistic goal, he might end up surpassing Steve Yzerman, Marcel Dionne, and Ron Francis before he hangs up his skates.

  1. nj666 - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    how can you not love this guy? hes amazing and tells it like it is.

  2. slaugin - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    With the cap going up he will not have a hard time staying in the NHL especially playing the way he’s playing

    • c9castine - Jan 13, 2014 at 12:15 AM

      good point. as long as he’s getting around 50 pts, theres no reason he can’t play in this league. maybe not for a contender or anything, but he clearly doesn’t care about that. clearly just wants to play elite level hockey and do whatever he can to make whatever team he plays for better. which quite honestly is more effective for him if he’s not on such a great team.

      a lot of things to respect about Jags. love him, and can’t wait to see his jersey hanging in the rafters in Pittsburgh where it belongs.

  3. esracerx46 - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    A good season changes the way you look at your future. After Boston he sounded as good as done.

  4. 950003cups - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Seconds prior to the faceoff, Jagr is telling Zajac where to slide the pick, and positioning Zidlicky exactly where to be for the possible one timer.

    Then BAM!

    • c9castine - Jan 13, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      call that experience and leadership.

  5. patthehockeyfan - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    You have to admire Jagr. After all these years of playing, he still approaches the game with enthusiasm and a determination to get better. I hope he does play until he’s 70.

    His face-off win and set-up for Zidlicky’s winning goal last night was textbook hockey and a joy to watch.

  6. penguins87and71 - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    It wouldn’t surprise me if he did until he was 70 knowing Jagr.

  7. joewilliesshnoz - Jan 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    I wouldn’t mind having him back in Pittsburgh, for the playoff run.

    • slysipops - Jan 12, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      the other teams would like that

  8. penguins87and71 - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    I was actually hoping for the same thing. I hope the Penguins could bring him back at the trade deadline. I would love that.

  9. bct11554 - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Good for Jags. He’s not just hanging on he still is a good player

  10. martysbetter - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    His skillset at 42 is perfect for the system that the Devil’s run – I hope he sticks around next year.

  11. braddavery - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    If he had any real interest in breaking the scoring record, he wouldn’t have bailed on the NHL for 3 full years.

  12. slysipops - Jan 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    don’t break your arm while patting your back…………..YAMMY

    • slysipops - Jan 12, 2014 at 3:34 PM

  13. beergold - Jan 12, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    Gordie Howe played into his early 50’s and if Jagr can stay in super condition then he could definately pass a few more before hanging them up.

    He likely would never think about going there but the Leafs could use someone in the dressing room to look up to and learn from.

  14. lordfletcher - Jan 12, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    and to think of where he would be without going to the KHL for a few seasons

  15. tuberippin - Jan 12, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    The European Mario Lemieux. The ageless wonder. There’ve been a few in the past decade or so (Chelios, Jagr, Schneider, Selanne, Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi, Brodeur, Hasek, Lidstrom). Wonder what kind of career totals we’d be looking at if Jagr hadn’t gone to the KHL for a few years there. The Czech Republic’s finest. I hope he plays into his fifties.

    • 19inarow - Jan 13, 2014 at 4:38 AM

      If not for those three years in the K — and presuming good health — he’d likely have around the same number of points as Messier, headed for a solid second place.

  16. bigbadbruins77 - Jan 12, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    and he probably would have if he didn’t play overseas for 3 years

  17. DED - Jan 13, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    LOL, yeah 70 is not going to happen, but he might match Gordie Howe for longevity. IMO, Jagr makes more of an effort to maintain the proper conditioning necessary to play at middle age while Howe had reputation, feistiness, and somewhat smaller competition (the average NHL-er is bigger now than in Howe’s final days) to deal with.

    However, I can’t get the image of Ovechkin laying out Jagr during the 2010 Olympics. I know I’ll get thumbs down for saying it, but with all due respect to Jagr, I think he’s one crushing hit away from retirement. Once you’re past 40, your recuperative powers are diminished. I hope it doesn’t come down to that though. I’d rather it come on his terms.

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