Jaromir Jagr has a message for Washington Capitals fans: You're welcome.
On the 18th anniversary of his trade to Washington from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the former NHL forward took to Instagram on Thursday to apologize for not playing his best with the Capitals and take credit for setting them up with their franchise player, forward Alex Ovechkin, who in 2018 helped them win the first Stanley Cup championship in their 43-season history. The Capitals selected Ovechkin No. 1 in the 2004 NHL Draft after finishing fifth in the Southeast Division in 2003-04.
"Caps fans," the 47-year-old Jagr wrote. "Sorry it didn't work out, but I try my best. After 18 years we should look the positive way. If I would play very good, you would never had a chance to draft OVI. And you would probably didn't win the cup last year."
Accompanying the Instagram post was a photo of Jagr standing in front of the White House wearing a Capitals jersey on the day of the trade. The photo was stamped with "18 years ago" and the date "7.11.2001" across it.
Washington traded Jagr to the New York Rangers midway through 2003-04. The veteran of 24 NHL seasons scored 201 points (83 goals, 118 assists) in 190 games with the Capitals over four seasons, his production slowing from his first 11 NHL seasons with the Penguins, when he scored 1,079 points (439 goals, 640 assists) in 806 games. Washington lost its only Stanley Cup Playoff series with Jagr, the 2003 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
So there you have it: Jagr contributed to the Capitals' first Stanley Cup championship.