The St. Louis Blues take on the Calgary Flames for the first time this season on Wednesday. Their opponent will be without one of their top stars for that contest though.
The St. Louis Blues were hoping for a lot of things heading into this season. They were hoping to be one of the top teams and make another run at the Stanley Cup before training camp.
Then all the injuries occurred to several players, putting the team’s immediate future in question. The Blues were very interested in signing Jaromir Jagr to ease their scoring questions and provide the team some leadership.
Depending on which sources you believe, the Blues were either quite close or not very close at all to signing the future Hall of Fame player. The one thing we do know is the Blues offered something in the ballpark of what Jagr accepted to play for Calgary.
For all we know, the Blues offered a similar total to Calgary but made it much more incentive laden instead of base salary. Or perhaps the Blues even wanted him to sign a professional tryout contract. He did make a point to say he had a long enough career that teams either knew to sign him or not, he did not need to tryout for anyone. That makes you wonder if the Blues were the team that offered a PTO.
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The reasons he chose the Flames over St. Louis remain a mystery. Jagr had discussed a desire to play for a Canadian team before hanging up his skates, so maybe that’s what it boiled down to.
What we do know now is that the Blues won’t have a chance to prove him wrong – not yet anyway. Jagr will not be in the Calgary lineup when they visit St. Louis on October 25.
Playing against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, Jagr picked up what is being described as a “soft tissue” injury. It occurred during a shot attempt in the first period and he never returned after that.
Jagr was placed on Injured Reserve following that contest. IR rules state you have to miss at least seven days, which means Jagr will miss the game against the Blues and one more against Dallas during this week.
It will be disappointing on several levels for Blues fans. Firstly, they won’t have the opportunity to see a modern-day Gordie Howe as Jagr seems to age like a super hero as opposed to a mortal man.
Secondly, we are robbed of the chance to let him know how we feel. Whether fans would have booed or cheered or nothing at all, it was their chance to let him know their feelings on a potential snub.
Who knows how Jagr signing with St. Louis would have worked out. You cannot simply plug one situation for another, but Jagr has not hit the ground running.
In five games played, he only had two assist. That’s not bad, but it is not exactly what you would expect from one of the league’s all-time elite scorers.
So, the Blues will have to focus on Calgary alone. The Flames will provide plenty to watch with their top line featuring two of the league’s more dynamic skaters.
Overall, Calgary has been hit or miss. They enter the contest at 5-4-0, with 23 goals for and 25 against.
The players probably would not have cared one way or the other. Unless they know something we don’t, pro players are not likely to hold anything against one of their union brothers simply selecting a different team.
Still, it would have been interesting to see Jagr skate out there and if the crowd would react. Instead, we will have to watch any confrontation on television since the other games against Calgary are on the road.