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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Whatever happened to that deadline?

This Jaromir Jagr drama is beginning to veer into silly territory, and it’s getting close to time for the Penguins to do something about that.

First, agent Petr Svoboda said Wednesday was going to be Decision Day. Ray Shero, the Penguins’ GM, openly stated that he, too, expected a decision on his one-year offer on that same day.

Then, the agent says Jagr will deliver his decision within an hour of landing at JFK.

Then, the turtles.

Then, Jagr’s whereabouts become unknown to the point that even Svoboda embarrassingly admits that he doesn’t know where his client is. But still, more promises come that the decision will be today.

And now, Svoboda casually declares that a couple other teams have poked their heads into the hole and that a decision might not come today.

Enough already.

Shero and the Penguins stepped up, including Mario Lemieux, Dan Bylsma and everyone else involved in the process. Their offer, by all accounts, is fair — one year in the range of $2 million — and pretty much everything they have left under the cap while maintaining a contending team. They kept their word.

It’s time for Jagr to show whether or not he’s serious when he tells people “his heart is in Pittsburgh,” as Svoboda reiterated again this morning.

This isn’t that complicated.

Shero and the Penguins have to get about the serious business of hitting the ground running Friday at noon when the NHL’s free agency season begins. And they can’t afford to go one minute past 11:59 a.m. that day waiting for Jagr, Svoboda, other bidders or turtles.


  1. Josh says:

    I really do believe Mario and Jagr have an agreement. I think the agent is trying to make the discussion still seem open so they can solicit any last minute offers that might be too crazy to pass up (thinking >$4 million?). The $2 million deal will be announced tomorrow at noon. That’s my best guess.

  2. derekr508 says:

    Best summary of I have read so far on the whole situation! Great job!

  3. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Josh, Derek: Welcome to you both. I’m thinking you might be right, Josh, but that makes this even more silly, doesn’t it?

  4. Josh says:

    @Dejan Absolutely! haha but that is the beauty of #jagrwatch Completely ridiculous but I can’t look away…

  5. Dave says:


    I don’t really follow the ins and outs of the Penguins. Was there any hostility between Jagr and Lemieux when Jagr was traded from the Pens?

  6. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Dave: Hostility is way too strong a term. Lemieux was deeply disappointed in Jagr’s “dying alive” phase.

  7. Stew says:

    Do you really think that Mario would let this drag out if he and Jagr already know he’s signing??? Mario’s not gonna let Jagr and his agent drag this out just to see if other, better offers will come about. That would just add fuel to the fire of the fans of Pittsburgh, and would make Mario look silly. And Mario’s not gonna let that happen.

  8. Tim says:

    If Jagr does wait until the last minute to either decide he is not going to screw the penguins (because at this point that is exactly what it would be) and sign with them, or break every pittsburgh fan’s mullet loving heart and sign elsewhere, will it have an impact on the TK situation? You figure if he waits until the last minute and signs elsewhere the pens will NEED (even more) to sign that RW.

  9. derekr508 says:

    @Dejan Jagr being his old self isn’t what the Pens want or need. I was very pro-Jagr coming back at the start of this all, but the way this has been handled is exactly the type of stuff that everyone grew tired of before Jagr left.

    Seems either Jagr really cares about only the money, or his agent cares too much about the money. Either way, really hard to believe the “my heart is in Pittsburgh” line at this point.

    Even more, if I were a GM, I think I would start becoming leary of dealing with this agent in the future. Reminds me of Nedved contract years ago and Mark Gandler being difficult to deal with.

  10. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Derek: The Nedved fiasco was handled by the infamous Tony Kondel, with whom I spent a year and a half on the phone. Not exaggerating.

  11. Bob from mt lebo says:

    My vote is on his agent being a prick and trying to drive up the amount

    Seriously. In this day in age of technology how do you not know where your client is.

  12. Josh says:

    @Stew If they could sign the agreement now, I would agree. I think it is still going on because of the signing blackout period. That said, I don’t think anyone in Pittsburgh (especially 66) is a huge fan of Svoboda right now…

  13. Stew says:

    I think a lot of this has to do with Kennedy and what he wants…the Pens can deal without Kennedy if we get Jagr, but would like to keep Kennedy, and the Pens are trying to low-ball Kennedy…makes business sense to me

  14. J_C_Steel says:

    All that matters is that a deal gets done. If the Pens can ink Jagr and Kennedy, they’ll be in pretty good shape on the wings.

  15. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Stew: You’re going to have to keep it clean, man.

  16. Stew says:

    just because they can’t “sign” anything today is irrelevant, if both parties are true to their word…plain and simple

  17. Stew says:

    sorry, Dejan…I’m a passionate Pens fan

  18. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Stew: And a knowledgeable one, too, I can tell.

  19. Stew says:

    @Dejan: thank you sir, may I have some more?

  20. Stew says:

    whatever happened to the good old days of the “spit shake”?????

  21. derekr508 says:

    @bob from mt lebo

    I agree with Svoboda probably trying to drive up the price, but in the end, Jagr is the client and if he wanted to be in Pittsburgh so badly, he could easily tell his agent to accept the deal, or come out himself and state that he is going to accept the deal on Friday. May hurt the player/agent relationship, but it had been done before.

    I’m starting to wonder if Svoboda was anywhere near JFK yesterday, driving around a truckload of turtles, or if he has Jagr tied up in a closet somewhere.

  22. Dan says:

    Is Svoboda the agent for anyone else? Thinking some of this confusion just might be bad communication from him, stemming from a lack of experience?

    This all would (hopefully will) make sense if/when Jagr pops up already in Pittsburgh to make his announcement. I really hope he signs with us, but come on already…

  23. Docciavelli says:

    There are plenty of better options available in the $3.5M and under range if Jagr doesn’t sign–within and outside of the organization. Right off the top of my head, Radim Vrbata should make the market tomorrow, and there are rumblings that Teddy Purcell will hit the market due to Tampa’s StamkosWatch purge. Purcell and Vrbata are both right-handed RW’s, which – in my opinion – makes them more valuable than a left-handed Jagr.

    Oh, and they’re both more than 9 years his junior. Just a thought.

  24. Stew says:

    I had a theory yesterday that maybe the Pens would offer Jagr slightly less for the season than he’d get elsewhere, but yet also give him a monetary incentive to be put in the rafters of Consol…would that be possible?…plausible???

  25. pattonbb says:

    Enough is enough. Svoboda is clearly trying to create a bidding war. Jagr might just be dumb enough to let it happen too.

    If Jagr really wants to be a Pen, he will be a Pen. If I’m Shero, I tell Jagr he has an hour to decide. If Svoboda would rather draw it out hoping for Pierre Gauthier to throw a 4 million offer out there, I tell him good luck, thanks for all you did, if you ever come back to the ‘Burgh bring some ear plugs, and close the door.

  26. Stew says:

    I can’t imagine what Consol would be like if Jagr signs somewhere else and comes here for a game…wow

  27. SterlingCooperDraperPrice says:

    If you’re Shero and the FO, what harm is there in calling Svoboda and telling him he has until 4:00 pm (or whatever time) to make a decision or it’s off the table?

    Right now Svoboda is putting this all on the Pens. If they don’t sign him, then they look like they didn’t make a good offer. However is Shero and the Pens tell him take it or leave it, it puts pressure on Jagr’s camp to hold him to his word of wanting to return to Pittsburgh.

  28. Stew says:

    Something else I just thought about…is it possible there’s some kind of hang-up with Jagr due to him last playing in Russia?…maybe something legal?…maybe something in him coming back here to the States?….I dunno, just throwing out possibilities

  29. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Mad Man: Welcome. About time you showed up here after dominating the past few chats!

    Joan has some baked goods for you in her office.

  30. bjm says:

    I hear the Flyers are in the mix now…

  31. bjm says:

    If Jagr signs with the Flyers, Hossa will have to send him a thank you gift…

  32. David says:

    I say Pull The Offer. There are the two scenarios already mentioned:
    1. Jagr is Awol
    2. Svoboda is trying to get a last minute deal with a bigger payday.

    In either case, at this point, I would rather see them pull thier offer and move on.

  33. szweed says:

    seems at noon time this was just a late plane flight….if he was true to his word and said something alls cool. right now theres doubt this is what we need on this team….

  34. Ross says:

    Dejan, heres what I personally think should happen. looks as if the penguins have around 5.5 million left in cap space. with cap whiz Botterill we will be fine. but anyway, so if thats the case, they now have Crosby, Kunitz, Neal, Malkin, Staal, Dupuis, Cooke, Letestu, Adams, Asham, Tangradi, Craig, Vitale, Nick Johnson as all of the forwards currently signed to contracts. for one, I’ve been very curious about if there has been talks of a new contract for one Dustin Jeffrey. Everyone has been wondering about the situations for the Talbot’s, Kennedy’s, Rupp’s, and Jagr’s of the world (the guys people all know and love), but what about Jeffrey? obviously the the guy deserves a full-time NHL roster spot the way he performed last season in the wake of all the injuries and call ups from mid February to March. 7 goals in 25 games played, 23 years old, looks to have an offensive scoring touch, plays both sides of the ice. Then, I also believe Shero should be looking towards signing a FA now that this whole Jagr situation is bouncing all over the place. don’t want Ray to have all his eggs in one basket and then lose out to some other team for Jagr. I like the possibilities of bringing in someone like Leino, Joel Ward, Zherdev, Fleischmann, Bergenheim, Cole because it also looks as if its been all quiet on the Kennedy front as of now. Granted yes the free agent market this year is sorta weak and thin, but those names I mentioned could be solid additions. I could go on and on, but would like to hear your two-sense Dejan

  35. PokeyReese says:

    I know this is off topic but have you all seen the Pirates lineup for tonight? It is brutally painful. Wood as a DH makes me a little sick to my stomach

    1. Presley lf
    2. d’Arnaud 3b
    3. McCutchen cf
    4. Diaz rf
    5. Overbay 1b
    6. Cedeno ss
    7. Wood dh
    8. Harrison 2b
    9. McKenry c

  36. David says:

    How do you think Jagr is going to react at the press conference when the first questions he takes are not, “Are you glad to be back?”, but “How did this turn into such a fiaso?”

  37. Better Days Coming says:

    Somehow I can’t imagine Shero, at 11:59:55 tomorrow, screaming into the phone “we have a deal!!” Thank goodness Boras isn’t in the mix here.

  38. Ross says:

    I was thinking the exact same thing…why in the world would you bench Walker and Jones when they are clearly two of your best run producers right now? Give them their rest in the 2nd game of the doubleheader against the Nats, thats what most teams do and put a different lineup in for one of the doubleheader games. But think of this, I think Hurdle did this move specifically because Brett Cecil is on the hill for the Blue Jays (aka he’s a southpaw if you didnt know). Walker has been shaky batting from the right side off of lefties this year and Jones has not had much success hitting lefties either

  39. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Ross: I like Jeffrey. Have from the very beginning. Would very much be open to seeing him in a top-six role.

    @All: Apologies to newcomers for slight delay in seeing your posts. Only happens with the very first post. After that, all your stuff goes up instantly.

  40. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Pokey: You’d think it might make the GM a little nauseous, too.

  41. Ross says:

    @Dejan: I feel the exact same way, thats why I’m curious whats going on with signing him to a deal. Especially because he’s not going to cost much with his cap hit last year being very light. I do see him as a potential top 6 forward role also because of the talent and tools he showed in the wake of all the injuries and adversity the squad had to go through. He pretty much went beyond his expectations during his 25 games with the big club

  42. PokeyReese says:


    Do you remember a team batting a guy 4th without a HR this far into the season who has been on the roster all season?

  43. TS says:

    I think Jagr likes LeBron James and the schtick he pulled last summer.

  44. Kraig Koelsch says:

    Agree completely, DK. He has said over and over that Pittsburgh is where he wants to be. he’s made his money. If Mario, the city and the team mean so much, the S#$& or get off the pot Jaromir.

  45. PokeyReese says:


    Clint is trying to go with a righty heavy lineup because of the splits of the Jays starting pitcher. Walker and Jones have both been terrible against lefties this year, but I would take Walkers .180 average against lefties over Wood using a tennis racket tonight instead of a bat.

  46. Ross says:

    Like I mentioned before, I think Hurdle is trying to get his other guys in the lineup, especially since most of them are righty bats and they are facing the lefty in Brett Cecil. But, to contradict that, Jones and Walker are going to have to face lefties in their careers (walker has already obviously but has shown hes better hitting from the left side)

  47. pghboyinca says:

    This was a chance for Jagr to reemerge as a mature veteran with a team first mentality. That is now damaged if not completely gone. This team is very talented and has always seemed to have agreat mix of solid team first guys. Subrracting Max and Rupp and bringing in Jagr if he is not sold on doing this with a team first attitude would not be good.

    He had to knw the Pens would not offer him the most money from the outset, their salary cap situation would not allow it. By 7pm tonight Shero needs to make a phone call and give an hour deadline to respond with apositive answer. Every hour that this drags out makes it look bad and reinfrces that Jagr still has the same tendencies.

  48. Ross says:

    whoops i guess my original comment about Hurdle going with righties in tonights lineup didnt show up on here. but yeah your right @PokeyReese

  49. szweed says:

    how quickly we were all to buy into this was such a great idea………instead of consulting lemieux they should have reached out to the real captain of the team in sidney.

  50. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Hey, I don’t ever tell people what to think. But I do feel comfortable advising everyone to be a little patient. Fact is, all these people on both sides have completely clammed up. We don’t know what’s being discussed.

  51. dagny says:

    Just throwing this out there…. Does it not also behoove the Pens to keep everyone guessing, especially the rest of the NHL GMs?

    Even if the Pens and Jagr have made an agreement, why let the rest of the teams in the mix know? They continue to pursue Jagr, instead of moving on? Strategy?

    Just a thought, since the Pens seem to be ok with the “mystery”, so far. It’s the fans and media that are going crazy, demanding answers, tracking flights, etc. ;)

  52. Brian Warcup says:

    All – after following Dejan for years, here’s my take on the situation for what it’s worth. In past years, I recall teams and players not being permitted per CBA rules to announce or declare contracts prior to the start of free agency unless the contract is with the current team. Since Jagr isn’t permitted to sign a contract until free agency begins, I don’t believe either the Penguins or Jagr are permitted to announce anything until noon tomorrow. While it has been very plainly stated that the deadline for a decision was yesterday, my guess is that Mario and Shero already know the answer directly from Jagr and just aren’t permitted to tell the rest of us for another 19+ hours for fear of reprisal from Bettman and the league office – since we all know how much Bettman and his cronies like to thoroughly put the screws to anyone from Pittsburgh that steps out of line. Svoboda probably hasn’t been clued in by Jagr because the contract is going to cost him a lot of commission he could have received if Jagr signs with another team for more money.

  53. Naje says:


    Please keep moaning about tonight’s lineup. That’s all we heard Tuesday night and that mostly right handed hitting bunch knocked 14 hits and 7 runs.

    That’s all we heard last Friday against Boston and the team scratched and clawed their way to a 3-1.

    They are, after all, 14-9 v. Lefties…

    It looks awful, sure… but the results haven’t been too shabby. I know it doesn’t bode well for success after the all star break without some big bats, but for the short term, this patchwork group of 6 or 7 guys named Mo is doing OK…

    To paraphrase Pitino: You know, there ain’t no Clemente, Stargell or Parker walking through that clubhouse door anytime soon…

  54. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Naje: If this lineup produces more than three runs, I’ll walk home … from my mailbox.

  55. Naje says:

    And also note that this lineup has to take into consideration that the team will be playing tomorrow in Washington, two games on Saturday and again Sunday… tough little stretch.

  56. AJS says:

    The only egregious ommission from the line up is Walker. He has to be a better option than D’Arnaud, Harrison, or Wood. I’m fins sitting Legend. He is just terrible against lefties and Harrison was playing well before the line up shuffle started. Diaz has certainly been hitting lefties better as of late, so I don’t have too big of an issue with him at clean up. So really the only thing going on tonight compared to any other night is Walker getting a night off, possibly as Naje pointed out, so that he is a little fresher for both ends of the double header on Saturday.

  57. Naje says:

    There is a report that Walker has tweaked his back… my guess is that he’s been bothered by the turf a bit and that the burden of carrying a team and his .215 average since early May is getting to him a bit.

    With the travel tonight and then a doubleheader on Saturday, let’s hold him back for a big pinch-hit tonight…yes?

  58. Naje says:

    @DK –

    Keep piling brother…!

  59. Naje says:

    @Pokey: you make a good point about Wood swinging a tennis racket! He does look like he’s swinging a two-handed forehand at ever pitch… just really knotted-up in his upper body… but he did have a couple of nice swings in the recent homestand v. Baltimore and Boston… not holding my breath, though I do sense a home run from Wood tonight.

  60. Keith says:

    Who will be playing 1B for the Bucs on September 1?

    a) Lyle Overbay
    b) Garrett Jones
    c) Steven Pearce
    d) Matt Hague
    e) Carlos Pena
    f) Andre Ethier
    g) Someone else

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