Today was the opening day of the Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Tournament, and with two games being played at the same time, you had to choose one or the other. The obvious choice was the Sweden-Czech Republic game which turned out to be a good game despite Sweden jumping on top quickly.
The Latvia-Switzerland game was entertaining as well, with Jonas Hiller leading the way with a 21-save shutout.
Hiller, however, did not get the nod as the player of the day for the first day as that honor went to Jaromir Jagr of the Czech Republic.
At 41-years old (soon to be 42), Jagr is one of three players over the age of 40-to be playing in the tournament but even in the loss he didn’t show it.
Jagr scored his eighth career Olympic goal in his fifth Olympic games. Off the rush, Jagr made a power move to the net and thanks to traffic in front of the net, Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist couldn’t get in proper position to stop Jagr’s shot.
It wasn’t just his goal that made him shine. His patented puck protection along the boards was on display once again. Not just then, just about every shift that Jagr entered the offensive zone with the puck he was a force.
I started watching hockey right when Jagr went on his four year scoring championship run, and as a Pittsburgh Penguins fan he quickly became one of my favorite players. The fact he can still do what he did back then to be so dominant, now, a decade later – it just reminds you how much of a special player he is.
Despite being far from the young pup that dominated the NHL, Jagr has shown that he can still make an impact in these games, and in a group that features Switzerland and Latvia as the other two teams, a second place finish and a spot in the next round is certainly possible.
Anthony Murphy is the Editor at The Rat Trick. You can follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.