SUN Hockey Pool

Jagr valedictorian from class of '90

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

At a time when Mike Ricci contemplates retirement, Petr Nedved is claimed off waivers and Keith Primeau has been forced out of hockey, the continued magic of Jaromir Jagr is worthy of admiration and discovery.

Ricci, Nedved and Primeau, along with the ubiquitous Owen Nolan, were all part of what was called The Top Five in 1990. The players were identified early: The order was constantly in debate.

But over time, Jagr, picked fifth of The Top Five has lapped the field, and in his 16th year remains in the running for another scoring championship.

Nolan, the first pick, is just getting back into form after missing two seasons due to injury. Nedved, the second pick, never quite became a star, and has bounced from place to place. Primeau was a late bloomer whose career ended too soon and Ricci settled in to become a role player better known for his length of hair than anything else.

What Jagr is doing late in his career is something Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux couldn't do, what the new NHL game enables him to do.

Rather than concentrate on what he hasn't managed over his career, he should be applauded for what he has. For the record, the player selected after Jagr was Scott Scissons: He went on to play two games for the Islanders.

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