= So, the big news today is that former RW Jaromir Jagr has reached out to the Penguins about possibly resuming his NHL career with his original team. The story: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_743030.html
- The approach came from Jagr’s camp, who has also talked to with several teams including the Red Wings, Canadiens and possibly the Rangers. As of 3:30 p.m. on Monday, the Red Wings and Penguins were Jagr’s preferred choices.
- I cannot confirm the Penguins have interest, only that they did listen to Jagr’s camp when approached.
- Jagr, according to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun, is seeking only a one-year deal to return to the NHL after spending three seasons with the Kontinental Hockey League. (Props to Pierre for being on top of this story over the weekend; I only started hearing rumblings late yesterday.)
- Coach Dan Bylsma does view RW Tyler Kennedy as a potential top-six forward, but there is debate in the organization if he is a top-unit power-play performer – hence, perhaps, the lack of movement on a new deal for Kennedy, a restricted free agent. (Also, there is concern over overpaying him based on comparables pending a possible arbitration ruling.)
- I’ve been told by several people inside and outside of the Penguins organization that the team is looking into finding a replacement for Kennedy before it would need to make a decision regarding qualifying him for arbitration. Also told the team wouldn’t rule out keeping that replacement AND Kennedy for next season.
- The Penguins would like to add a forward who can work the half-wall on the power play, believing that Cs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin can be better utilized at other spots on the ice with the man-advantage.
- With the salary cap, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s report, going up to $64 million next season, the Penguins currently have approximately $8 million in available space. However, they have many holes to fill up front.
- Jagr, as I understand, could be signed before July 1, when the free-agent period opens in the NHL.
- At the World Championships in May, Shero did not meet face-to-face with Jagr to extend an invite to an alumni golf tournament that will serve as a reunion of the 1991 Stanley Cup champions. Jagr’s Czech Republic teammate, Penguins D Zbynek Michlaek, passed along the invitation from Shero. Regarding Jagr, Shero said then: “I’ve never had a conversation with him in my life.”
- There were no discussions about a possible return as a player between Jagr and the Penguins before this reach out by Jagr’s camp – possibly this past Friday.
- Jagr and Penguins majority co-owner Mario Lemieux remain on good terms. I haven’t heard Lemieux has become involved in any possible discussions, and any speculation as to that would be premature – though, it would be speculation I expect to hear.
- Jagr’s camp was meeting today to talk about the options. I’ve not been told on that end that a decision will be made today.
= The preseason schedule is out:
DATE OPPONENT TIME SITE
Sept. 21 Red Wings 7 p.m. Consol Energy Center
Sept. 22 Blackhawks 7 p.m. Consol Energy Center
Sept. 24 Wild 3 p.m. Consol Energy Center
Sept. 27 Kings 8 p.m. Sprint Center (Kansas City)
Sept. 30 Blackhawks 8 p.m. United Center
Oct. 2 Red Wings 4 p.m. Joe Louis Arena
- Interesting that four years after ownership visited Kansas City to tour the then-new Sprint Center as a possible permanent home, the Penguins will play the Los Angeles Kings there in an exhibition game. The Kings play home games in Los Angeles at Staples Center, which is operated by AEG – the same entertainment company that owns Staples Center.
- The home game against the Minnesota Wild will be the second annual free kids games, where students and youth hockey players gain free admission to Consol Energy Center. This was a great event last preseason and should be again. Expect more details at a later date.
- Look for the regular-season schedule to be out sometime this week, as the NHL wants to release it before Entry Draft on Friday.
= The Penguins are sponsoring a series of youth-hockey related events in July: one-day skill clinics (July 11-15), with instructions from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coaches and the club’s power-skating consultant; a Mite American Development Model tournament (July 8-9). All events are at Consol Energy Center and information can be found at www.pittsburghpenguins.com/hockeyinjuly.