Time Heals All Wounds
In the case of Jaromir Jagr, hindsight is always 20/20—especially when you wind up in Siberia.
What a difference a decade makes.
December 2000, Jaromir Jagr on being a Pittsburgh Penguin: "I feel like I’m dying alive here."
May 2011, Jaromir Jagr on being a Pittsburgh Penguin: "Those were my best years."
I guess this is a case of hindsight being 20/20.
When Jagr was playing in Pittsburgh, he was a child, really. A young man new to the country, new to the language, driving around town in his Trans Am with his luxurious, luxuriant, lustrous, silky smooth mullet flying in the wind—not to mention a gambling problem on his back.
Now, he’s a weathered, experienced, more mature hockey player. A 39-year-old man possibly finishing out his career in the Kontinental Hockey League, his team based in Siberia. No, really. Siberia. Where punchlines go to die.
When Jagr last played a game in the NHL, it was in the Mellon Arena with the New York Rangers in 2008. He was booed by unforgiving Pittsburghers like he was out there punching baby seals on the ice.
But Jagr seems to have forgiven all, perhaps in light of the small but growing hope that some Burghers, myself included, have that the Penguins will sign Jagr back to the team. He said, "The fans in Pittsburgh, they all wanted to help me and they all liked me when I was younger."
When I was younger. That must mean the days before he started shriveling up and dying alive and the boos began raining down on his magnificent mullet like an overly generous mist of Aqua-Net.
I joke, but if I’m being honest, I have never stopped loving Jaromir Jagr. I feel about him the way the younger set in Pittsburgh feels about Sidney Crosby. I know. Ridiculous. But you can’t help who you love.
Jaromir will possibly be back in Pittsburgh this summer to golf in the Penguins alumni outing, seen by many as the proverbial opening of the arms to the prodigal hockey son.
Who knows what will happen. Maybe he’s too old for the NHL. Maybe he’s lost what he had that made him so amazing on the ice. Maybe he’ll retire. Maybe he won’t grow his majestic mullet back for me.
What matters is he might be coming back into the Pens fold on good terms, and I will not be booing him and I hope the rest of Pittsburgh won’t either.
Unless he takes a golf club to a baby deer.
Then by all means, boo away.