Sportress of Blogitude

Panthers celebrate Jaromir Jagr’s 44th birthday with great cake (pic)

jaromir-jagr-cake

It was Jaromir Jagr’s 44th birthday on Monday and the Florida Panthers paid tribute to both his phenomenal NHL and international career by presenting the icon with a cake featuring a split jersey that included half of a Panthers jersey and half of the national team’s jersey from his native Czech Republic.

Jagr became the fifth non-goalie — and only the 10th player overall — to play in an NHL game at 44 years or older when he took the ice on Monday night with his  Panthers teammates to face the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team with which he spent his first 11 years in the league.

And good fortune smiled upon Jagr on his birthday, as the Panthers presented him with another gift by beating the Penguins by a a score of 2-1 in the shootout.

While many would assume that the grizzled veteran has to be thinking about hanging up his skates much sooner than later, think again. Jagr said before the season that he intends to play professionally until he’s 50 so long as he can stay healthy.

“I know I’m going to play to 50. I know that – if I don’t get injured,” he said. “I never said I’m going to play here (in the NHL) until I’m 50. That’s a different story. You can always play ’til 50. There’s a lot of guys that play until 60, you know, just beer hockey.”

Jagr did note that playing in the NHL up to and at the age of 50 could prove to be “very tough.” But it makes little sense to underestimate the seemingly ageless wonder at this stage of his Hall of Fame career. After all, the guy has 17 goals and 23 assists this season, a stat line most players half his age could call a career year.

(top image via Florida Panthers/Twitter)