The Blues take on the Florida Panthers tonight, in what most should call the “watch Jaromir Jagr be awesome” show.
Jagr is unreal, and deserves the hundreds of articles being written as we connect here. He has 760 goals, and his last one was a doozy. The defenseman was gathering the puck behind his own net before Jagr swooped in like a teleported mutant, stole the puck, faked the goaltender out of his skates, and punched it into the net.
Jagr is a long haired Houdini out there, and he’s 45 years old. You heard that right folks. Jagr is FORTY FIVE! I was eight years old when he was drafted, and now he has 760 goals. This isn’t unheard of, but the masses don’t get this brand of greatness often so pay attention.
This isn’t like Julio Franco taking cuts at the plate over the age of 40. Hockey players simply don’t produce like Jagr after a certain age. They wear down, drift into third line duty, gather praise at opposing arenas, and the swan song dies a slow death. Jagr isn’t just defying father time: he’s flipping the bird at the athlete stop sign.
Jagr has two goals in his last five games, and 11 on the season. He is a +9 as well, which means the other team is too busy snapping pictures on their jersey phones to think about taking the puck the other way. Jagr’s success is one of the reasons the Panthers are 27-20-10 before tonight’s puck drop. Vincent Trocheck and Aleksander Barkov have 35+ points, and Roberto Luongo and James Reimer are having solid seasons. Florida is tied with two other teams for the final spot in the Eastern Conference, and this comes a year after they fell in the first round of the playoffs. Florida has only made the playoffs twice in the last 16 years, so this play is inspiring.
They swept a California road trip swing, and have won four games in a row. The Panthers will be a tenacious test for the Blues before they endure another extended sabbatical. After an All Star Break that produced a few days without Blues action, this is the last game before Sunday’s battle in Chicago. It wouldn’t be wise to lose this one and drown a promising winning streak with back to back losses.
After tonight, there are only nine home games left, so the end is starting to get near. On April 9th, the Blues play their last game of the season at home against Colorado. They currently hold a three point edge on Nashville (this guy is eating that salad as we connect) and a firm grasp on the rest of the wildcard contenders. A lapse would put the Blues right back where they were, so let’s not start sucking each other off just yet.
In the process of watching tonight’s game, take an extra look at Jagr. It’s like checking out the hot cougar at the bar who doesn’t have to wear a pound of makeup or wear a skin tight cheetah dress to tell herself and others that age is merely a state of mind. It’s respect being given. Jagr is doing all of this for the Panthers for 3.5 million a year. For the three of you who think that’s too much money, please remember this; MERCHANDISE!
One last thing: this morning, the Captain of this paper, Brad Lee, partnered with Game Time road warrior Jeff Jones and took over my old radio slot on 590 The Fan. Every Monday-Thursday, they will talk Blues hockey on Game Time AM, so give them a listen. I am moving to evenings with the Heavy Hitters, so give us a listen. That’s all the shameless plugs I have in me today, so be well and always buy more bourbon.