In his times as a free agent, Jagr never has had Boston on his radar. It wasn’t on his radar earlier this week, either, until the Stars told him to pick up sticks and head to Logan. Part of agreeing to that $4.5 million last summer was also agreeing that Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk could deal him at any hour. That time came Tuesday afternoon.
“But I’m happy about it,’’ Jagr said, sitting at his locker, a glimmer of light in his pale blue eyes. “You don’t ask questions, you just go play. Through my whole hockey career . . . wherever I played, it was good for me.’’
His Boston tour, good or bad, could also be Jagr’s final NHL stand. Other than his off-continent work, Jagr has been around the NHL since October 1990, for nearly 1,400 games, which is roughly four lifetimes in NHL years. No telling what happens in the free agent market this summer with a declining salary cap.
With his brush-up tour here, Jagr could prove he’s still worthy of NHL employment, but it could also be the dollars aren’t there to hire him, at least not at the price he would desire. The Bruins already know that they’ll find it a mathematical struggle to keep the current band together, especially if they want to bring back the pricey Nathan Horton and Tuukka Rask.
“I love to play,’’ said Jagr, committed to keep playing after this season ends. “If I feel healthy and I feel like I can play on some kind of good level, I want to keep playing. Retiring . . . I’m not ready for it. I love the game too much, so if I’m not good for NHL, I’m going to play in the Czech League or somewhere else.
“I still love the game, and like everybody else, if you love something, you just don’t want to let it go. You hold it.’’