Jaromir Jagr is close to breaking a record that was once thought to be unbreakable.
The future Hall of Famer is just 39 games away from tying Gordie Howe for the all-time league record of 1767. With 52 games left in the regular season, the Flames winger has a shot at setting the new mark this season.
Jagr actually sits fourth on the all-time list, with 1728 career games. He trails Ron Francis by just three games, and is 28 games away from Mark Messier for second.
The 45-year-old will stand alone as the all-time leader after this season, provided he can stay healthy. And that’s the rub.
Jagr won’t play tomorrow. Should return to practicing with the group on Wednesday. #Flames
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) December 11, 2017
Jagr will miss his fourth game in a row on Tuesday with a lower body injury.
While he’s not supposed to be out of the lineup long term, time is ticking on the living legend given he has said this will be his last season.
Including next game, he can miss up to 13 games and still tie Howe’s record.
Had it not been for multiple work stoppages (1992, 1994, 2004-05, 2013) during Jagr’s lengthy career, he would have already surpassed the mark. He could have also set the record with ease had he not left for the KHL for three seasons.
Similarly, Howe’s totals could also be higher. Howe was retired for two seasons before returning to play with his sons in the WHA for six seasons. Mr. Hockey retired for good in 1980, playing one last NHL season at the age of 52.