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Golden Oldies: after Jagr plays in fifth decade, which other greybeards have excelled at an old age?

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Jaromir Jagr became the second player to play professional hockey in five different decades Sunday, but he’s not the only player of a certain vintage to have stunning success. Here’s a look at five players who had standout NHL accomplishments well past their primes.Jaromir Jagr at the 2015 World Championship|Martin Rose/Getty ImagesThe old man still has it.
Three years removed from his last NHL game, Jaromir Jagr returned to the ice in style Sunday by scoring two goals and four points in an 8-4 victory for Rytri Kladno, the team Jagr owns. It came after Jagr – who is nearly 48, for crying out loud – missed five weeks due to injuries to both of his thighs back in November, and who would have expected anything less from the hockey superhuman?
But perhaps the most remarkable thing about Jagr’s performance wasn’t the four points he recorded, but that it marked his first game of the 2020s, which is now his fifth decade of pro hockey dating back to Czech League action in 1988. Only one other player has managed that in the past: Gordie Howe, who skated in NHL games in five different decades and played pro in six after dressing for the IHL’s Detroit Vipers in 1997 at the age of 69.
Through 22 games, Jagr, a surefire Hockey Hall of Famer when he finally calls it quits in another 25 years, sits second in scoring for Kladno with 10 goals and 19 points. Defenseman Brady Austin leads the team with 25 points, but it’s crazy to think Jagr already had three NHL seasons under his belt when Austin was born. Heck, Jagr had two Stanley Cups and nine individual awards before the two 2000-born players that have suited up for Klando this season were alive.
Jagr’s hockey career is the gift that keeps on giving. But while he holds the NHL mark as the fourth-oldest player to appear in an NHL game behind Howe (52 years, 11 days), Chris Chelios (48 years, 71 days) and Maurice Roberts (45 years, 345 days), he’s far from the only player that found success at an advanced age. Here’s a look at five others who had standout accomplishments well into their 40s:
Gordie Howe – Oldest NHL player ever (51)No list of greybeards is complete without mentioning Howe, who played at least one NHL game in five different decades from the 1940s until the 1980s and never seemed to lose his edge. He started off slow in 1946-47 with just 22 points in 58 games, but he went on to win the league scoring race six times between 1951 and 1963 and played in the All-Star Game a whopping 21 times – his first was in 1948 and last was in 1980. What’s crazy is that Howe retired at 42 in 1971, but came back three seasons later to score 31 goals and 100 points with WHA Hartford alongside sons Mark and Marty. Howe wasn’t nicknamed ‘Mr. Hockey’ for nothing. He truly was one of the greatest to play the game, and there will be nobody like him ever again.
Teemu Selanne – Most points in a single season (80 in 2010-11)How cool would it have been to see Selanne and Jagr battling it out in their late 40s somewhere in Europe? Even though his final few seasons came with limited success, Selanne entered the previous decade strong with 31 goals and 80 points, trailing Corey Perry (98) for the Anaheim Ducks’ scoring lead. At a time when the youth movement was in full effect, Selanne proved he could still hang with the NHL’s top players. Selanne holds the single-game record for most points by a player over 40, registering five on March 28, 2011, to cap off his best offensive output since his 94-point season in 2006-07. His 31 goals that season were the most for a player of his vintage, too. Howe may have the record for the most points by a 40-year-old all-time, but Selanne did it in one of the most competitive periods in NHL history and deserves recognition for being so good so late.
Gary Roberts – Most penalty minutes in a season (97 in 2006-07)These days, he only punishes athletes with a challenging workout, but Roberts was one feisty opponent. In 2006-07, a season he split between Florida and Pittsburgh, Roberts tallied 97 penalty minutes, good for 55th in the NHL at a time when Ben Eager and Josh Gratton were bullying the rest of the league. It’s still remarkable how engaged physically Roberts was at 40 years old. Roberts was traded to the Penguins for the team’s playoff run in 2006-07, bringing leadership, strong work ethic and physicality to the team’s middle six. The Penguins made the playoffs for the first time in six years and Roberts quickly became a fan favorite en route to the team’s trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2007-08. Roberts retired after spending the 2008-09 season with the Tampa Bay Lighting.
Nicklas Lidstrom – Oldest player to win a major NHL award (41 years, one month, 24 days)Given the fact few players in their 40s play important roles in the NHL, it’s incredible Lidstrom had what it took to win the Norris Trophy at 41. Lidstrom was the cream of the crop during his career, finishing sixth all-time in scoring by a defenseman with 1,142 points in 1,564 games, but nobody could have predicted his 62-point output in 2010-12. He hadn’t reached the 60-point plateau in the two campaigns prior, but Lidstrom was far and away the best rearguard in 2010-11. He retired one season later. Two goaltenders took home major awards in their 40s, as Johnny Bower (40 years, five months, five days) and Jacques Plante (40 years, three months and 18 days) won Vezina Trophies late in their careers, but neither were older than Lidstrom.
Dwayne Roloson – Most saves in a regular-season victory (58 on Nov. 23, 2009) It’s unbelievable how good Roloson was during the latter half of his career. Most of his work was spent trying to salvage the seasons of mediocre franchises, most notably his effort to earn the Oilers a berth in the Stanley Cup final in 2006 after Edmonton snuck in as the eighth seed in the Western Conference. But in 2009, Roloson set the modern-day record for saves in a single game when he stopped 58 shots in a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the best performances of any goalie in a regular-season game over the past 20 years. It should also be noted that not since Roloson played a post-season game at 42 has a netminder beyond age 40 suited up in a playoff contest.
(All age information via Hockey Reference.)
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Tags: lists, nhlConnect: About the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content Producer for The Hockey News. He spends his free time listening to music you wouldn’t like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.

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The NHL is going to the Sunshine State for the All-Star Game next year. Any way they can shoot it into the sun instead?

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Everything about the All-Star Game, from the Skills Competition to the low-effort 3-on-3 tournament, is broken and the event does nothing to showcase the best game in the world.The Pacific Division All-Stars|Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty ImagesST. LOUIS – It’s pretty clear that F-bombs were the underlying theme of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game and that didn’t even include the chorus of millions of viewers who were sitting at home and likely saying something like, “(Expletive), this is god awful.”
Even by All-Star Game standards, where the bar is basically set on the ground when it comes to competitiveness and entertainment, this was putrid. Four teams played the equivalent of one full 60-minute game of hockey and scored a total of 38 goals. Think about that for a minute. The Canadian and American women’s teams, who actually played as though they cared about the game, produced just three in 20 minutes.
And for the second straight year, the female players saved the weekend. Which is great for women’s hockey, but says about as much about how bad this event is as it does about the excellence of the women’s game. For those of you who care, and will need to refer to the written word when the results are wiped from your memory bank 10 minutes from now, the Pacific Division defeated the Atlantic Division 5-4 in the championship game and split $1 million in prize money. David Pastrnak, who was named Least Terrible Player™ and won a car for his efforts, scored six points in the tournament. So did Leon Draisaitl and Quinn Hughes, which would represent a pretty good week for all of them.
The night was not without its controversial moments. Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong kept the censors busy by dropping three F-bombs during the band’s in-game performance. As one observer noted, with their performance, Green Day gave more (expletives) than the players.
And on the ice, the heated rivalry between Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames got a little bit of juice. On the second goal of the second game, which came 2:59 into the game, Tkachuk made a no-look, between-the-legs pass to Draisaitl, who buried it. Tkachuk didn’t even look toward Draisaitl and made for the bench, while Draisaitl appeared to say “(expletive) you” to Tkachuk.
“I hope everyone realizes I was just joking around,” Draisaitl said. “I guess I expected (Tkachuk to skate after the bench). I probably would have done the same.”
As far as his part in the exchange, Tkachuk said he didn’t hear anything from Draisaitl and as far as skating back to the bench, said he wasn’t about to do a major celebration for an assist in the All-Star Game. “I don’t know if anyone else was celebrating goals tonight,” Tkachuk said. “You guys read too much into that. I have zero idea (if Draisaitl said anything). It was my first shift of the game and I was going back to the bench and we had just made it 2-0. You have to ask everyone else if they celebrated after goals. I didn’t see too much of it.”
Tkachuk has a point there. Had these guys celebrated after every goal, there might have been a spate of rotator cuff injuries among the best players in the league going into the home stretch. “It was a nice play by him,” Draisaitl said about the Tkachuk pass. “Like I said all along, we’re all here to have fun, we’re all here to have a good time and things like that, they happen in the game. This is not the time to be grumpy about anything. Our team, everyone here had a great time.”
Of course they did. They all held hands, sang Kumbaya and went out and put forth minimal effort. Over the three games, Shea Weber of the Montreal Canadiens was the only one to record a hit. It becomes clearer with every passing year that this event is essentially a mid-season waste of time. You can’t make players care about this game. Not even a $90,000 reward is enough to do it. The NHL has already said that next year’s game will have more of an “international flavor” to it, which might help. But this thing, from the Skills Competition to the three-game tournament, is broken. Badly. It’s embarrassing and it does absolutely nothing to showcase the best game in the world.
So to recap, the highlights of the weekend were the women’s game and seven-year-old Alex Letang, son of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris, who was adorable and engaging in the post-game interview area. Aside from that, nothing about this spectacle was memorable. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday that having the league shut down for two weeks every four years for the Olympics is, “extraordinarily disruptive.” Meanwhile, half the league is off for five days before the All-Star Game and the other half puts its feet up for the five days after. And the league takes a four-day break to put the event on. But it’s apparently too much for the league to take a two-week break every four years.
Next year’s All-Star Game is in Florida. Instead of going to the Sunshine State for the game, perhaps the NHL could just shoot this whole event into the sun.
Want more in-depth features, analysis and an All-Access pass to the latest content? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.
Tags: all-star gameConnect: About the AuthorKen CampbellKen Campbell, The Hockey News’ senior writer, is in his second tour with the brand after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native once tried out for the Ontario League’s Wolves as a 30-year-old. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.

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Black Hockey History Tour Arrives Just When the Sport Needs it Most

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The mobile museum celebrates hockey’s trailblazing black players – and reinforces the ‘hockey is for everyone’ message during a turbulent time.|Matt Larkin/The Hockey NewsST. LOUIS – The trailer, decked out and converted to a mobile museum, was packed to capacity, adorned with images of black NHL players, information about their legacies and artifacts, including recreated St. Louis Blues jersey stalls for Grant Fuhr, Ryan Reaves and Jamal Mayers. A crowd gathered around a roulette-style trivia wheel, taking turns answering questions about the history of black hockey players. Among the people answering were black people and white people, kids and adults, men and women. This was the latest stop on the NHL’s Black Hockey History Tour, and it means a lot to many different people for many different reasons.
Firstly, for any person of color who has played the game or dreams of playing the game, seeing the images of and facts on black hockey players, whose history in the game dates back as far as the 1800s, is inspiring and moving. Retired NHL right winger Joel Ward, attending the exhibit Saturday in St. Louis, was visibly energized by the sight of it.
“As you can see, we’ve been playing hockey for a long time – we’ve been at it,” Ward said with a proud laugh. “What a cool thing to do. For me, growing up, there weren’t too many black players. Kevin Weekes in our family was the end-all of superheroes. So for the kids to come out here and get a glimpse and learn a little more about history and all the brothers that played, it’s really cool.”
The exhibit also carries far more weight today than anyone could’ve expected even two months ago. After right winger Akim Aliu came forward in November with revelations of racist comments by his former AHL coach, Bill Peters, it sent a shockwave through hockey that culminated in Peters’ resignation as coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. It was a watershed moment for the game that led to the NHL, with help from Aliu, tabling the idea of a code of conduct and zero-tolerance approach to hate speech in the sport. The initiative won’t change the landscape overnight, however. Retired NHL goalie turned NHL Network lead analyst Weekes, who was also on hand Saturday, said the exhibit shouldn’t carry extra weight right now, but that it does given the sad stories still coming out. We learned how far the game still has to go less than a week ago when AHL defenseman Brandon Manning was suspended five games for using racial slurs against the Ontario Reign left winger Boko Imama.
For Kwame Mason, director of the documentary Soul On Ice and the museum’s co-curator, the exhibit does an important service of offsetting all the upsetting stories in the hockey world today with some tales of wins for inclusivity.
“Because the atmosphere of hockey is fighting to be more inclusive, to be more welcoming, museums like this will show people that there is that idea of hockey being for everyone,” Mason said. “This is why it’s important. It counteracts the negative stories that are out there. For every negative, we have to have a positive.”
Lastly, seeing all the different types of people taking in the exhibit this weekend – which included all types of races – really underscored the point of the museum: it’s a way to bring attention and respect to the trailblazing black players, from Willie O’Ree to Angela James, but also a decidedly inclusive project designed to invite all types of people to learn about black hockey history. That philosophy is exactly what the NHL hopes to bring to the game as a whole – to eschew the antiquated idea that hockey is a sport for the old guard and no one else, that it can’t be shared with minorities, women or people of different sexual orientations. To drive the point home, Weekes came up with an illuminating analogy.
“I’ve been to Italy numerous times, I have a lot of Italian friends in Toronto and New Jersey, and they never say, ‘Pasta’s our food, it’s just ours. Nobody’s allowed to eat it. You can’t have it. You can’t have marinara sauce. You can’t have buffalo mozzarella. It’s just for us,’ ” Weekes said. “Nobody says that! So we can’t be saying that in hockey. We can’t. It’s the most ludicrous thing in the world.”
So while the NHL and the sport have many years worth of work left to establish that Hockey is For Everyone, the black hockey history museum didn’t exist a couple years ago, so it’s a clear sign of progress. Just as young women watching the 3-on-3 game on TV Friday might have been inspired to pick up a stick and play, any minorities visiting the museum could experience the same kind of inspiration.
Want more in-depth features, analysis and an All-Access pass to the latest content? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.
Tags: nhlConnect: About the AuthorMatt LarkinMatt Larkin is a senior writer at The Hockey News and has been part of the team since 2011. He’s your one-stop shop for deep-dive player interviews, predictions, statistics, fantasy player rankings, player safety and hair tips. Catch him weekly as host of The Hockey News Live and The Hockey News Podcast.

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