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Mike Babcock wants Jaromir Jagr's autograph: 'He's that good'

Andrew Francis Wallace / Toronto Star / Getty

As the hockey world prepares to focus its attention on Nashville and the upcoming NHL All-Star festivities, Mike Babcock and his Toronto Maple Leafs get set to face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

One player set to feature in both is Jaromir Jagr, who'll captain the Atlantic Division squad. Babcock admires the 43-year-old winger because of his continued ability to excel.

"Well (Jagr's) a superstar, and he obviously loves hockey," the coach told reporters Monday. "He's the modern-day Gordie Howe. I coached (Chris Chelios), and I think he was 46 or 47 or something like that when I had him, and so those guys, Gordie and those two, would probably be the guys.

"You've gotta be a super-super star to keep playing that long, and then you gotta look after your body, you gotta love the game, and then you gotta be in the right situation. He's got good young players around him, and obviously he provides a lot with his drive and his love of the game. So, he's a star. I'd love to get his stick, actually, and get him to sign it. He is that good."

Jagr ranks second on the first-place Panthers with 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) through 45 games, sandwiched between linemates Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.

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