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Jaromir Jagr defies age for Czech men’s hockey team


Jaromir Jagr doesn’t sport the mullet of his youth any longer, but he remains a go-to guy for the Czech men’s ice hockey team and at the NHL level as well.

Jagr, 41, figures to be a key contributor for the Czech Republic and leads the New Jersey Devils with 48 points; fellow Czech veteran Patrik Elias is second on the Devils with 33.

The fitness-obsessed winger who joked about persisting in the NHL until age 70 to catch Wayne Gretzky’s records and may or may not have been joking when he spoke about playing in Pyeonchang in 2018. Despite the unlikely accomplishment of leading the Devils in scoring at an advanced age, he continues to push himself to do more, as he told the Associated Press.

“I’m surprised with how bad I’m doing,” Jagr said. “I’m not playing up to my standards. I’m not happy with it at all. I know what I can do and this is not acceptable. To get better, I guess I have to score more goals. I don’t score anymore. I’ve had the chances to score and I’m not scoring at all.”

His peers and teammates don’t see it that way, however.

“I don’t know if I ever ran into a guy who works harder than him, to be honest with you,” Philadelphia Flyers head coach Craig Berube said.

A lot has changed in the span of Jagr’s five Olympic experiences, yet he still remains a player to watch ... and emulate.

His No. 68 reflects Czech pride

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins