Translations by Tomas Jandik
Jagr's Deke - Reflex magazine - 31-May-01
by Jaromir Jagr
Maybe it's a little symbolic. I am writing my last column only a shortly after I wore a jersey with the penguin for the last time. I have a feeling that my departure is imminent. After the loss in New Jersey we flew home, went for a beer with the guys, and had the last team meeting the next day. They don't count on me anymore. Sure I came late. But only by five minutes. The guys said that exactly at twelve, GM Craig Patrick started the meeting, and when some players said that he should wait for the captain, Craig just brushed it aside.
I talked to Craig after this players' meeting. It was not easy; he was there since my beginnings with this team. But I had a feeling that he doesn't give any big chances to my staying. Obviously, though, Mario will have the last word. My agent Mike Barnett told me that the decision should come within the next two weeks and he added that I should stay in the US to be able to take a picture in my new jersey.
I'll probably stay here till the award ceremony in Toronto on June 14. I am not particularly looking forward to going home, there has been a lot written about me lately, and I can imagine that everybody will come after me when I get back.
I am now taking a vacation in a quiet place; I'll get back to Pittsburgh in a week or so. I don't want to respond in this small space to everything that has been written about me, there will be plenty of opportunities to do so in the future.
Us players had the "last supper". It is quite common at the end of the season. Then we went to the disco at Rock Jungle. It was fun, because Mario went with us as well. At the end, I talked to each of the guys, wished them good luck and drove home. For them, it probably wasn't anything special. Here in the NHL, players get traded all the time, but I have spent whole 11 years in Pittsburgh.
Some players still believe that I'll stay in Pittsburgh, but when I said goodbye to coach Hlinka, he replied: "Good luck - wherever you end up."
I have had a good time in Pittsburgh; it's pity that the end was not better. We did not have a chance against the Devils, but the season was not that bad for me. The team got among the four best; I won the Art Ross Trophy, and made it to the NHL top line. I don't know what will happen the next year. But I am sure looking forward to my new hockey life.
In this column, I have been trying to help you see the "backstage" of the NHL. I know that the majority of the readers of your magazine don't care about sports or hockey, but I believe that you weren't bored with me. I hope that I'll have some opportunities to meet with you on the pages of Reflex in the future, and those of you who really are interested in the NHL and liked my stories can buy my new autobiography. It is scheduled to come out in September.
Tomas Jandik is the resident Czech on LetsGoPens.com and is a man who unifies all the goodies of the American dream - meaning, of course, being a Pitt graduate, a Razorback, and a Penguins fan.
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