If last year’s subpar postseason performance led some to wonder if age had finally caught up to Jaromir Jagr, the 41-year-old’s play so far this season has silenced any doubters.
The second-oldest player in the NHL behind Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne, Jagr leads the Devils in goals (nine), points (18) and plus-minus (plus-10) through 22 games.
He’s expected to suit up for his native Czech Republic at February’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, and he’s not ruling out a return to the Games four years from now in South Korea.
“I understand that,” Jagr, who would be 46 by the time the 2018 Olympics roll around, told The Star-Ledger on Thursday. “It’s funny, but don’t forget that by then I’ll be playing in Europe on the big ice and there probably won’t be NHL players. I would have to stay healthy and I would have to have the same desire.
“[Chris] Chelios did it. In 2010 I said I would like to play in the World Championships in Prague in 2015 and everybody laughed. Now it’s just over one year away.”
Chelios was 44 when he captained the U.S. Olympic squad in Turin in 2006. The defenseman would have become the oldest hockey player to medal in the Olympics, but a disappointing seventh-place finish left the U.S. far outside of medal contention.
Sochi will be Jagr’s fifth trip to the Olympics. His Czech Republic squad won gold in Nagano in 1998 and bronze eight years later in Turin.