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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Stunned Penguins left with no other option

Whatever you do, don’t blame the Penguins.

They had every reason to believe that Jaromir Jagr was serious about returning to Pittsburgh, to the point that many were sold on the idea that it was inevitable. If not, they wouldn’t have waited an extra two days. If not, they wouldn’t have doubled what I understand was Ray Shero’s initial intention of offering $1 million. If not, Shero certainly wouldn’t have invoked Mario Lemieux’s name in one last try at getting a message through to Jagr last night. In not, Lemieux wouldn’t be as angry as he apparently is right now.

They thought it was coming.

But it didn’t, and they reacted accordingly. Once the clock struck midnight, Shero absolutely had to turn all of his attention and all of his remaining dollars to the NHL free agency market and whatever possibilities he and his lieutenants hope to pursue there. Especially with Tyler Kennedy just now getting signed to a two-year deal, every measure of flexibility would be needed.

As for Jagr … I’m not left with much more to say than I did in the column this morning. I’m as stunned as the Penguins are right now, as many of the team’s fans are. But maybe we shouldn’t be.


  1. Zach Breneman says:

    Jagr may have been booed before, but does this leave the relationship between Jagr and Pittsburgh along the same lines as Bradshaw a few years back? The dream of #68 hanging from the rafters is surely gone now…

  2. JerseyWingDing says:

    Thank God, Thank God, Thank God….

    Jagr is and always will be an immature punk who would have done more harm to this organization had he come back….

    I would much rather have a Tyler Kennedy and a Mike Rupp over Jagr…

    Now, hopefully, all of the media who fawn over Jagr will move on to other things to fawn over….

  3. @SantoSays says:

    Once a turd, always a turd.

  4. SterlingCooperDraperPrice says:

    It’s sad. Jagr had one heck of an opportunity to change a lot of Pittsburghers’ minds. Whether fair or not, he has cemented his place in Pittsburgh sports history.

  5. Joe says:

    This is all for the better.

  6. Artistry says:

    DK, you think Petr Svoboda is going to have NHL players clamoring for him to represent them after this debacle?

  7. J_C_Steel says:

    So what’s the plan now? Ray Shero inks TK to a 2-year, $4 million contract — that’s more money than any third-line winger should be making, so I have to assume that the Penguins believe that TK can play right wing on one of the top two lines and get involved in the power play.

    But the Penguins still need another scoring winger. Whither do they go? Any chance Ville Leino wears a Penguin sweater in 2011-12? What about lower-end options like Radim Vrbata?

  8. szweed says:

    great move by shero…..keep your young group and spend your money wisely avoiding the primadonnas.

  9. Bizrow says:

    Dejan – re But maybe we shouldn’t be

    Good point and thinking about it, thank goodness he wanted more than the Pens would come up with. Sometimes the best move is the one not made.

  10. DanH says:

    The most shocking thing we’ve learned through this is that Jagr in fact hasn’t grown up. Hard to believe a 39 year old would still not understand some pretty basic things…

    I still don’t get the bidding war that Svoboda, the worst agent ever, is trying to create. It will never top the tax-free money he was making and could make in Russia…

  11. Patrick Costigan says:

    Nothing has changed with Jagr at all. He was crazy when he left, and is crazy now. I fully expect him to return to the KHL after realizing that there won’t be a team willing to put up with his crap. That said, I hope he goes to the Flyers. That would be appropriate.

  12. buckeyehba says:

    I am not a big fan of bringing in players of that age in any sport, or how got they still appear to be. I would have liked to see it, but I am happy to move on also.

  13. BenderHeel says:

    What are you guys talking about??? #TylerKennedyWatch was a complete success!!

  14. Bizrow says:

    Bender LMAO, good one, and you know what? You are right ;-)

  15. Patrick Costigan says:

    Detroit just announced they are out as well. It looks like the best of the NHL franchises refused to be held hostage by a 40 year old has-been. Where to the Pens go from here. Tyler Kennedy is just a guy.

  16. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    I’m glad they did this.

    If he was truly motivated to return to Pittsburgh, he wouldn’t have gone in hiding for three days. Everything was on the table, he spoke with Mario…what’s the deal?

  17. BenderHeel says:

    I pray that Jagr signs with the Flyers. That would be awesome drama. And he’d be a cancer for them, which would be awesome too.

  18. BKaps says:

    The only way Jagr could salvage this is to fire his agent, publically apologize to Lemieux and the Penguins, and to sign any offer they would be willing to give him at this point. Beyond that, I can’t see him ever being welcomed back again. Not only did he p*ss off the fans, but he make Mario Lemieux look silly, which means the entire Penguins alumni and the FOM will probably not be too friendly to him.

  19. szweed says:

    his cards were on the table when the phrase “heart is in pittsburgh” was repeated over & over……it wasn’t his heart they were looking for.

  20. BenderHeel says:

    #KrisBeechWatch begins now.

  21. DanH says:

    Maybe he’ll sign with the Islanders. At least their goons would be able to protect him…

  22. john says:

    Maybe Jagr is hiding a injury…..

  23. ExileInDC says:

    @ Patrick & Dejan: Which makes you wonder, the Pens are the only team that publicly had an offer on the table right? Maybe no other NHL team will sign him; certainly this whole episode would scare me off, were I a GM.

  24. Paula says:

    Once a brat always a BRAT! He has shown he is still a childish boy who would not have been a team player. If eveything did not go his way he would pout and thrown tantrums! We do not need him!

  25. Karen22 says:

    I offer the same “best wishes” to Jagr as to LeBron. Two little (emphasis on LITTLE) peas in a pod. Disgraceful.

  26. ExileInDC says:

    @ Dejan: Does this mean that Rupp may not be gone after all? They got Kennedy done pretty quickly once Jagrgate played out, seems like their next priority would be to sign a rugged veteran “Rupp-type” of guy . . . like Mike Rupp?

  27. GlassHalfFull says:

    Si’s Stu Hackel hearing tweets of Jagr signing with the Flyers.

    “Per #Flyers GM Paul Holmgren: The Philadelphia Flyers have agreed to a contract with free agent RW Jaromir Jagr.”

    The boos are getting louder.

  28. Bizrow says:

    So other than Montreal, does anyone know the other suckers still kissing up to this fellow?

  29. Bizrow says:


  30. Drew71 says:

    While the Pens are far from the Cavs, the style of Jags Decision feels much as LeBron’s.

    NOTHING WRONG with WHAT they did. It is HOW they did it and communicated it that makes us, what, angry and disgusted.

    If Jags had quietly approached the NHL and not made statements about Pittsburgh which, now months later, look like lies, there would be nothing wrong with an attempt to start a bidding war. That is any free agent’s right.

    But that’s not how he handled himself. Is it?

    Give him this, though. Jags is consistent. Through the years, he is consistent. So you are right as rain, Dejan, when you wrote “But maybe we shouldn’t be (stunned).” And maybe the more appropriate cliche is Right On The Money.

    That said, Jagr didn’t shoot anyone; didn’t punch out or harass anyone. He just lived up to his billing. I don’t LIKE how he did it. But as I started this post, the Pens are FAR from the Cavs. The Pens have a couple of fairly good players coming back to their team next year.

    Perhaps you’ve heard of them.

    As with Hossa and Detroit, i HOPE he signs with a team that the Pens face in the Finals.

    Perhaps you remember the outcome.

  31. MarkV says:

    Worst possible decision Jagr could make. Also wonder about Philly’s sanity after their earlier moves. They deserve each other!

  32. aglebagel says:

    The Flyers. Seems like Jagr clearly doesn’t care what Pittsburghers think of him, hehe.

  33. Bizrow says:

    3.3 million reasons to go to Philly, per reports

    Nice thoughts Drew,

  34. Rocco says:

    I honestly don’t know why Philly would even be interested in him…They traded away two of their top scorers, have a somewhat (to very) unproven goalie, and then expect a 39 year old to lead them to the promised land? I just don’t see their logic.

    The good news is, we play Philly 6 times this season, and I personally wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t make it through the first matchup. Not only is he older and I would assume more prone to injuries, but if you think for one second that the Pens won’t be looking to smack him around for what he did then you are out of your mind. And make sure you get it straight, the Pens won’t be hunting him because he didn’t come to Pittsburgh – that’s every player’s right to pick where they play. They’ll be going after him because he lied to Mario and to Pittsburgh’s fans, an NO ONE gets away with that, from way back when he was playing to now.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish I say

  35. bjm says:

    a healthy Sid, a healthy Geno, a healthy Staal, Neal added, that defense…I like our chances

  36. szweed says:

    mark the calendars for decmber 8th.

  37. dcpinpgh says:

    My prediction…Mario is coming out of retirement just to kick Jagr butt….you read it here first, sports fans

  38. Maddamma says:

    I could not be more impressed with how well Ray Shero runs this organization. He did exactly the right thing with the offer and he pulled it off the table when it was appropriate. He helped Mario by rejecting Jagr before Jagr had the opportunity to reject the Pens. Great job by Shero throughout this whole ordeal.

  39. Cajun Thunder says:

    Assuming Crosby and Malkin are healthy, the Pens just clinched the division for the 2011-2012 season.

  40. Drew71 says:

    So ok. Let’s meet them in the CONFERENCE finals.

    And by the way, Tyler Kennedy just became my second favorite Pen.

    That is, my second favorite CURRENT Pen.

  41. bjm says:


  42. Drew71 says:

    Can’t wait for the press conference.

    I wonder if he says I’m Taking My Talents To Broad Street.

  43. szweed says:

    wonder if that invite to the golf outing still stands…..

  44. Drew71 says:

    When he’s introduced, I’d yell LaBron James Jagr.

    Except he’d think it’s a compliment.

    Cause it’s always about him.

  45. Josh says:

    Heartbroken. I’ve never booed my team when they’ve played poorly, or booed former players like Bonds or Jagr. Always had soft spots for the good times. I’m just at a loss for words now though, especially when it turns out to be Philly of all places. Is the reported $1.3 million gross worth more than being an icon in Pittsburgh? His jersey would have been in the rafters and a statue out front. What’s his legacy now? I had my “this is bigger than Griffey returning to Seattle” post ready to go on Facebook…

  46. GlassHalfFull says:

    Flyers sign Talbot. I really hate them.

  47. pattonbb says:

    Didn’t Svoboda play for Filthadelphia? Hmmm……

    Jagr once again shows the world he’s an immature diva.

    I can’t wait to see these games. If he did in fact lie to Mario, somebody will be looking to seperate Jagr’s head from his body.

    Honestly, I would have loved to see him as a Pen this year. But now that he’s Public Enemy #1, it will be much more fun to boo him.

    As somebody earlier mentioned, there’s no way #68 makes it to the rafters.

  48. bjm says:

    Rupp to the blue shirts

  49. bjm says:

    what could happen next…a no hitter from Gorzo????


    Jagr’s path back to the NHL may have started out as a way to secure his legacy, but it ended with him trying to secure the best deal. Whomever was more responsible for the plot line is irrelevant, but Svoboda and Jagr both executed a masterwork: somehow, for the days leading up to the opening of free agency, they managed to make a 39 year-old former superstar one of the most talked about players in the world again. Well played, sirs.

    In the end, Jagr traded his legacy, his credibility, his friendship with his mentor, and his welcome in the city of Pittsburgh for $1.3M. I hope it was worth it.

  51. Karen22 says:

    That’s what I meant, Drew—the HOW. Beyond classless.

  52. GlassHalfFull says:

    Can’t wait to hear Jagr’s thoughts when the fans in the City of Brotherly Shove boo him after his first mini slump or missed pass. He’ll be dying alive all over again.

    I personally won’t boo him, he’s done too much for our hockey franchise as far as helping us raise two Stanley Cup banners.

    Too bad we won’t have Rupp to give Super Mario a bit of revenge against that head case.

    Wonder if he’s friends with Ian Snell.

  53. Karen22 says:

    Pens just signed winger Steve Sullivan (Nashville). Don’t know a thing about him. Any thoughts?

    Talbot to the Flyers…OY!!

  54. bjm says:

    Sullivan has had a tough time staying healthy

  55. david says:

    I really don’t understand this. Can anybody make any sense of it? What really happened? Still can’t believe the way this went down.

  56. MBS says:

    I feel like a victim in an abusive relationship. Still would have loved to see Jagr on Pens power play even at 39. And now Talbot to Filthadelphia of all places!

  57. LikeaBugonaRug says:

    I agree with ForeCheck. I have never hated Jagr. I have still worn his Pens sweater all these years. I have bought into what some of the Pgh. sportswriters have said about his “dying alive” comments being taken completely out of context.

    But not anymore, if everything is as reported. For the comments that Jagr has supposedly made (not about the money, wants to play in Pgh., would play for Mario for the minimum if asked, etc), to having talks with Mario and Mario going to bat for him with Shero, and to then at the end sign with the flygirls, that is despicable. I could’ve accepted this signing if he’d never made the comments about wanting to come back here. But not like this. Not now. I will never wear his sweater again. I will now be among those that would boo him(were I to ever make it to a game in Pgh.).

    I can picture it now…….the first time Orpik is on the ice against Jagr…..

  58. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t get the LeBron comparisons. At all.

    Couple things I thought were interesting on the Fan’s interview with Svoboda after Jagr signed with the Flyers: (1) he claimed that Jagr had a $6+ mil offer from another team (nobody asked him why he didn’t accept it, but I think that was because they were laughing behind their fists too hard), and (2) when asked where Jagr was right now, the answer was “in the United States.” LMAO ! ! !

  59. Bob from mt lebo says:

    So does Mario have a blank check ready to cover Cookes fines after the philly game

  60. Bob from mt lebo says:

    @arriba wilver

    The Lebron comparrison is that they both took a simple and within their rights in signing with a different team and turned it into an egotistical circus that is totally uncalled for. Say goodbye, thanks but im signing and playing for this team now. Classless acts of selfishness

  61. Steve says:

    After losing Rupp we need some beef. Why not tone down the PIM with Zenon Konopka and he is excellent at faceoffs and block shots.

  62. MarkV says:

    $1.5 mil for an often hurt player – Sullivan – and we wouldn’t pay that to Rupp who’s missed only 2 games? Not comparable players I know, but still, Sullivan will wind up playing less than 50 games so the price is much higher. After being turned down by Jagr I think I would pay a player who has already made it known he wants to live in PGH. No Goodard and no Rupp – who protects Sid from the cheap shots? Can’t be Cooke since he’ll be suspended for just looking at someone wrong. And you don’t want your defensemen in box all the time.

  63. WildWildBil says:

    I would have been more disappointed if he did sign. I think maybe he wanted to play for the Pens but he had the better offer from Philly and was hoping Shero/Mario would cough up another $1M. He hasn’t changed a bit He still thinks he’s the superstar. IMO,he hasn’t been worth much since he stepped out of 66’s shadow.

  64. diane says:

    I need a reporter to sniff out what in Hades happened today. If Jaromir’s decision was not about money…why the flyers? Didn’t want to play with Sid and Evgeni? We’ll see next June if Pens had a lucky escape…

  65. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    It absolutely was about the money, Diane. Nothing much to analyze. He got greedy.

    It’s the topic of my column for the Saturday paper.

  66. Drew71 says:

    Yes, Dejan. For those who only care about the money, it’s ONLY about the money.

    And for those who care about, well, life, it is about life, family, team, God, whatever, but not just about the money.

    I used to care about the money and i found myself looking up at the sky, wondering what life was really about.

    For him, money. For the rest of us, i hope it is about something bigger than money, more than us.

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