View Full Version : Jagr's agent having talks with Penguins

06-21-2011, 03:44 PM

Jaromir Jagr's agent spoke with Penguins general manager Ray Shero yesterday about Jagr returning to the Penguins and plans to do so again soon.

"We talked yesterday and we will talk again today," said Petr Svoboda, the former NHL defenseman who represents Jagr.

Asked if he believes the Penguins are serious about trying to work out a deal with Jagr, Svoboda said. "I really believed it was serious when I made the phone call. We will know a lot more today."

He suggested that Jagr, 39, will decide where he wants to play within the next few days.

The Penguins, Detroit and an unidentified club are reportedly the ones he is considering, although Detroit is the only one to publicly acknowledge that it would like to sign him.

Asked if Jagr has a front-runner, Svoboda said, "I don't want to say he has one team in particular" that he would like to sign with.

Shero has declined to discuss recent developments in the Jagr situation.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11172/11 ... z1PwQy983S (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11172/1155218-100.stm#ixzz1PwQy983S)

06-21-2011, 11:43 PM
Updated: June 21, 2011

Three teams in mix for Jaromir Jagr

By Pierre LeBrun


Jaromir Jagr could not put a time frame on his NHL negotiations but had nothing but great things to say Tuesday about the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, the two front-runners to land the 39-year-old winger.

"I don't know," Jagr told ESPN.com when asked how much longer his decision would take.

"Sometimes it takes a few hours, sometimes it takes a week. I'm not sure how long it's going to take," added the five-time NHL scoring champion.

Jagr's agent Petr Svoboda told ESPN.com earlier Tuesday that the Penguins and Red Wings were front-runners for Jagr's services as well as a third, unidentified team.

The Penguins would represent a return to his original NHL roots.

"In Pittsburgh, I played there 10 years. I still have a house there. I was too lazy to sell it," Jagr said with his trademark laugh.

"Obviously Mario (Lemieux) is the owner. The team they got, (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin, plus other great players, if I went there it would be a lot easier," added Jagr, speaking to ESPN.com via cell phone from his native Czech Republic. "But on the other side, Detroit has great players and play closer to my style, a Euro style. That's a plus. And (Nicklas) Lidstrom is there, plus (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg -- great, great players."

Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock spoke to Jagr over the phone last weekend, a source told ESPN.com.

"Both teams are contenders to win the Cup every year and that's the most exciting thing as a hockey player," said Jagr, not tipping his hand.

While Svoboda said earlier Tuesday that the NHL was a stronger probability than Russia's KHL, where Jagr has played the past three years, one cannot discount that possibility either.

The Red Wings have publicly confirmed their interest in Jagr while the Penguins have not. Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero did not return a message seeking comment from ESPN.com, but coach Dan Bylsma talked about the prospect of signing Jagr at the media session for NHL awards nominees Tuesday.

"Hypothetically, you're talking about a guy who in his last year in the National Hockey League had 75 points," Bylsma said. "That's leading our team last year. That's an intriguing thing to think about -- a power-play guy, what you saw him do in the world championship against NHL-caliber players was nothing short of outstanding.

"Those are intriguing things to think about hypothetically and it's tough not to think about adding 75 points to your roster if that's something you're capable of doing," he said.

Montreal Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier declined comment via email to ESPN.com on Tuesday when asked about his team's rumored interest in Jagr.

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.


06-22-2011, 11:12 AM
I'm not sure what to think of this. I'm all for nostalgia, but can Jagr help this team?

For a reasonable price (not that I know what reasonable is) I'd like to see this happen.

06-22-2011, 12:20 PM
Although we haven't seen Jagr for a while, it's not like he was rotting in a prison cell somewhere like Plaxico. He has been playing in the KHL in Russia, which although it is not the NHL, it is still a pretty strong, talented league. And when he did play against NHL talent in the World Championships, he did play awfully well. This year, his Czech team took the bronze while he scored 5 goals (including a hat trick against the ol' U. S. of A.) and 9 points in 9 games. Last year, the Czechs took gold at the World Championships, and he contributed 7 points in 9 games.

Being able to throw out top two lines featuring Crosby with Jagr and Kunitz and Malkin with Staal and Neal would be pretty darn strong.

We've brought in some aging vets before to play out their final NHL contracts (Guerin, Roberts, LeClair), and have also brought back some former Pens for another go-round (Kovalev, Recchi, Stevens), so the precedent for a signing like this is there.

06-22-2011, 02:46 PM
"Pittsburgh makes me feel like I am dying alive" - Jaromir Jagr

Ten years later, I hope he can find new life in Pittsburgh and feel like he's living alive again. :lol:

06-22-2011, 03:13 PM
If we do sign him, I pray for the team to eschew the traditional playoff beards, opting instead for playoff Jagr mullets. :Beer



06-22-2011, 03:24 PM

06-22-2011, 08:48 PM
Penguins, Jagr talk, but no deadline yet

Bylsma sounds receptive to adding big-time scorer

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Former Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr has spent the past three seasons playing in the KHL.

Petr Svoboda, the former NHL defenseman who represents Jaromir Jagr, has not announced a deadline for getting his client a contract.

Good thing, too, because there seems to be a certain urgency missing from the discussions designed to get Jagr back in the NHL after spending three winters in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

Tuesday, some of the discussions themselves were AWOL.

Svoboda had been scheduled to hold a phone conversation with Penguins general manager Ray Shero to talk about whatever interest Shero has in adding Jagr to his depth chart, but, as of late evening in Prague, where Svoboda is based, the two still had not gotten together.

Svoboda, though, said he had talked to Shero Monday and that someone from the Penguins had "communicated with [Jagr]" Tuesday.

Shero, through the team's media-relations department, declined interview requests for the second consecutive day.

Coach Dan Bylsma, speaking at a media-availability session Tuesday evening in Las Vegas, where the NHL awards ceremony will be held tonight, said that neither he nor anyone else from the team has spoken with Jagr, although that likely could have been done without his knowledge.

Regardless, Bylsma seems receptive to having Jagr on his roster.

"Hypothetically, you're talking about a guy who, in his last year in the National Hockey League, had 75 points," he said. "That's leading our team last year. That's an intriguing thing to think about -- a power-play guy.

"What you saw him do in the world championships against NHL-caliber players was nothing short of outstanding, on a bigger ice surface. So those are intriguing things to think about hypothetically, and it's tough not to think about adding 75 points to your roster if that's something you're capable of doing."

The only team to acknowledge interest in Jagr publicly is Detroit, although Svoboda said "there are a few more than three" that have inquired about him.

The Penguins, who were approached by Svoboda a few days ago, appear to be one of them. The fact that team officials apparently have had multiple conversations with Svoboda and/or Jagr suggested they have at least a mild interest in trying to add him to their roster.

How much they would be willing to spend to do so remains to be seen. Most indications are that, if Jagr is to return to the franchise with which he entered the NHL in 1990, he will do it for less money than elsewhere.

Jagr, 39, also has the option of returning to the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia, where he spent the past three seasons.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11173/11 ... z1Q32YTzhK (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11173/1155293-61-0.stm#ixzz1Q32YTzhK)

06-23-2011, 02:35 PM
Jagr speaks with Penguins

By Josh Yohe
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jaromir Jagr spoke with Penguins owner Mario Lemieux today.

Lemieux came away encouraged by the conversation, according to sources.

However, the Penguins have not made an offer and are not convinced that Jagr would be willing to play for less money in Pittsburgh. Detroit is also interested in Jagr and likely will offer the NHL's 9th all-time leading scorer more money.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wants Jagr to play for the Penguins next season. There is, however, a debate within the organization regarding if Jagr, 39, call still be a top-six forward.

Sources say general manager Ray Shero is not interested in paying much more than $1 million for Jagr's services. The Penguins are committed to roughly $55 million of salary next season, leaving them close to $9 million under the salary cap.

The unknown factor in this situation is Lemieux, Jagr's former teammate and hockey idol. Jagr has been quite complimentary of Lemieux and the Penguins organization in recent years, and in 2009 said he "owes my hockey life" to Lemieux.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1Q7NAOYUU (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_743561.html#ixzz1Q7NAOYUU)

06-23-2011, 03:51 PM
$9 million worth of cap room, eh?

Well here are our UFA's (note: we already re-signed potential UFA's Craig Adams and Nick Johnson):

Alex Kovalev: made $5,000,000 last season
Pascal Dupuis: made $1,400,000 last season
Max Talbot: made $1,050,000 last season
Mike Rupp: made $833,000 last season
Eric Godard: made $750,000 last season
Arron Asham: made $700,000 last season
Chris Conner: made $550,000 last season
Mike Comrie: made $500,000 last season
Brett Sterling: made $500,000 last season

The team will not attempt to re-sign Kovalev or Comrie, so scratch both of those names from the start.

I'm sure the team would love to have both Duper and Superstar back, but they may only be able to afford one of the two. I'll go ahead and predict Talbot over Dupuis because Max is 5 years younger than Pascal, even though Dupuis has the element of speed that Talbot does not possess. Dupuis puts up better numbers overall, but Talbot has a knack for stepping up in big games (2 goals in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, back-to-back QMJHL championoships and two Guy LaFleur Trophies as playoff MVP in junior hockey).

Is there a need for Godard anymore? Deryk Engelland can fill the enforcer role, and has the flexibility to play defenseman or even 4th line winger in a pinch. Scratch Godard.

Rupp vs. Asham. Like the grit from both of those guys. I was surprised to see that Rupp is actually 2 years younger than Asham (I thought it would be the opposite of that). Asham has more of a knack for playoff dramatics. It will likely come down to which guy is willing to accept a hometown discount. I just get the sense that Rupp identifies with Pittsburgh more...when I look at him, I only see Penguin now, not former Devil...I still see former Flyer when I look at Asham.

Conner vs. Sterling. Conner surprisingly stepped up an filled a major role on the big club this season (skating in 60 NHL games last season to Sterling's 7). I think Conner earned another contract here.

Here are our RFA's:

Tyler Kennedy: made $725,000 last season
Dustin Jeffrey: made $509,000 last season
Tim Wallace: made $525,000 last season
Brad Theissen: made $875,000 last season
Joey Haddad: made $513,000 last season

I'd imagine that they'd all be brought back with a qualifying offer (the biggest names are obviously Kennedy and Jeffrey, who should play a major role with the big club this season, and Brad Theissen also had a dominant year in goal for the W-B/S Pens as well).

06-23-2011, 04:32 PM
Out of all the free agents, I'd hate to see Talbot go the most. Love Duper, but Talbot just
seems like he fills that quirky Pittsburgh sports "superstar" role so well.

No need for Goddard

I'll take Rupp

Not sure about Conner or Sterling. Haven't seen much of Sterling.

Hate to see Kennedy go and Jefferys seems like he has a knack for finding the net.

What's the word on Jefferys injury anyway?

06-25-2011, 01:15 AM
What's the word on Jefferys injury anyway?

Dustin Jeffrey (knee surgery) will be able to start normal hockey activity by October according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Jeffrey underwent knee surgery on April 5 and it was expected to take six months of recovery time, which would place his return at the beginning of the 2011-12 season barring any setback. The 23-year-old had seven goals and 12 points in only 25 National Hockey League games this past season. He could be valuable in fantasy pools if the Penguins place him on one of the top two lines but he is likely to be a bottom six forward next season, giving him a lot less value. Jun 4

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

06-27-2011, 01:19 AM
Kovacevic: Penguins, Jagr must give

Sunday, June 26, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. — It won't take a power play by the Penguins to get Jaromir Jagr. That plainly is a good thing.

What it will take, based on what I've gathered here at the NHL Entry Draft this weekend, is all parties making a few concessions.

That must start with the team.

No formal offer has been made, though general manager Ray Shero said Saturday he expected to talk today or Monday with Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, who was late in arriving from the Czech Republic because of a personal issue but should be in Montreal soon.

"We'll talk in the next day or two and see how it goes," Shero said.

When it reaches the offer stage, the Penguins can't lowball Jagr. No matter their salary cap issues — they have about $8 million free but several of their own players still to re-sign — the Penguins can't approach Jagr with, say, a $1 million that some fourth-liner could collect. They also can't approach with an incentive-based contract. That's for tryout candidates, not first-ballot Hall of Famers. It would be an insult.

Shero can and should do better.

I'm no capologist, but $8 million sounds like enough to keep Tyler Kennedy, Mike Rupp and Pascal Dupuis, their key remaining free agents, with room left to pay Jagr in the $2 million-plus range. If not, it probably would take no more than a minor roster move to clear what's needed.

All this is assuming Shero truly wants Jagr, and I'm not convinced that's the case.

I know Mario Lemieux does. Trust me, he's not in the habit of reaching out personally to free agents as he did with a long-distance call to Jagr earlier this week.

I also know coach Dan Bylsma does. He has used the terms "intriguing" and "power play" in every other sentence when discussing Jagr here, which might as well be code for, "Ray, please, this is my half-wall guy on the power play."

But the Shero with whom I spoke here wasn't exactly doing cartwheels over Jagr. He isn't elaborating on the topic in any way, so this is just a sense I get. Shero has a roster he likes, a chemistry he likes, a style of player he likes, and he is right to have concerns on all those fronts.

"We have some interest," Shero said Saturday. "We've talked to the agent, and we've talked to Jaromir. We want to find out what we have to offer and what his motivation is to get back to the National Hockey League versus going back to Russia."

It's not an easy decision for Shero to add Jagr, but it's the right one. As Shero told me, "There's no question Jagr can still play. He's in great shape."

The Penguins are being handed a gift, and they need to find a way to accept it.

So does Jagr.

I've heard enough to believe that Jagr wants to return to Pittsburgh, that it's his top priority. The idea that he's using the Penguins to get more money from Detroit or a Russian team, with apologies to Shero, is ridiculous. If Jagr wanted to use an NHL team to angle for higher pay, he wouldn't be focused on the Penguins and Red Wings, two teams with little cap room.

But Jagr needs to show he's serious in the most meaningful way and take less money. He and Svoboda are on record as being amenable to a one-year contract, but that's a no-brainer for a 39-year-old. They need to work with the Penguins around their cap issues. Jagr has made roughly $100 million in his lifetime, half of that from the Penguins. He's nearing the end, and an extra $1 million or so shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Let's rewind to something Jagr told The Hockey News two years ago: "If Mario would call me and say, 'I'd like you to play for our team,' I would think about it a lot. I would play for the minimum salary. I would play for $350,000 just for him because I owe him my hockey life. I want to pay him back because he has made me what I am."

Well, here's your chance, 68.

Lemieux has done his part. There might even be an outreach soon from Sidney Crosby.

If Shero and Jagr each give a little, this will get done.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1QRWn0uWJ (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_743981.html#ixzz1QRWn0uWJ)

06-27-2011, 01:58 AM
Out of all the free agents, I'd hate to see Talbot go the most.

looks like Talbot may very well be on his way out:

Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette is reporting that Max Talbot has declined a three-year contract offer of unspecified value. He is expected to test the free agent market, where he likely will receive better deals than what the Penguins can offer.

http://www.faceoff-factor.com/1pittsbur ... ree-agents (http://www.faceoff-factor.com/1pittsburgh-penguins/4234/what-to-do-with-kennedy-and-the-other-free-agents)

06-28-2011, 12:26 PM
Pens plan to keep Kennedy, land Jagr
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Last updated: 9:47 am

The Penguins cut Tyler Kennedy loose Monday, but general manager Ray Shero said he wants to re-sign him before NHL free agency begins Friday.

Shero also hopes to reach a tentative agreement on a one-year deal with Jaromir Jagr before Friday, industry sources told the Tribune-Review last night.

Kennedy, a right winger, became an unrestricted free agent after the Penguins chose not to tender him a qualifying offer by a 5 p.m. deadline yesterday. Shero said that decision was made to avoid an arbitration hearing.

"We want clarity in this situation. By doing this we get the most clarity," Shero said. "An arbitration hearing can go into early August. We want to know what's going on before then."

Shero also said he planned to speak with Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, either last night or today. The

Penguins aren't known to have made Jagr an offer as of last night, but team officials spent yesterday seriously considering the option of signing Jagr, sources said.

Shero also said he wants one or both of two unrestricted free agent forwards -- Mike Rupp and Pascal Dupuis -- signed before Friday, when free agency begins at noon.

Of the players Shero is targeting, only Jagr can't be signed before Friday per the NHL's collective bargaining agreement. However, Jagr's camp would like to have parameters of a deal worked out before Friday, sources said.

Svoboda said last week the Penguins and Detroit are the top two contenders to sign Jagr, a right winger who last played in the NHL in 2008.

If Friday arrives without Kennedy, Jagr, Dupuis and/or Rupp signed, the Penguins will turn their attention to available free agents to fill out their roster.

"We have a replacement list," Shero said.

The Penguins are approximately $8 million under the salary cap for next season.

Shero stressed that he didn't believe heading to arbitration with Kennedy was a wise move, insisting Kennedy "had a good case."

Kennedy, 24, saw his ice time increase because of injuries to Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the second half of the regular season. He responded with a career-high 21 goals.

"(Kennedy) wants to come back," Shero said. "And we certainly want him back."

A qualifying offer would have provided Kennedy only a 10 percent raise on his previous salary ($725,000), per the CBA. Kennedy`s camp expects he can at least double that annual salary and score a multiyear deal on the open market.

Kennedy was a restricted free agent until yesterday. If the Penguins had tendered him a qualifying offer, he still could have signed with a another club Friday, but the Penguins would have had a week to match or receive compensatory picks if they opted to decline.

By not tendering Kennedy an offer, the Penguins will relinquish his rights come Friday, as they will with Rupp, Dupuis and other unrestricted free agents such forward Max Talbot.

Shero said Talbot, who has turned down a three-year offer from the Penguins, would test the market Friday.
Shero is optimistic about Kennedy's return, and coach Dan Bylsma is downright enthusiastic about the possibility of adding Jagr -- a five-time scoring champion in his 11 seasons with the Penguins from 1990-2001.

"I've been on the record a few times saying what the attributes of Jaromir Jagr are," Bylsma said. "They're still really good."

Bylsma also addressed any concerns that Jagr, 39, would struggle adapting to the Penguins' up-tempo style.

"If Jaromir Jagr, hypothetically, were to (sign with the Penguins), I don`t think we`d have to change everything drastically," Bylsma said, "If you watched Jaromir play in the World Championships, his down-low play was outstanding. He hasn't missed a beat in that regard."

Bylsma acknowledged that he isn't sure what to expect as the week plays out.

"It's a frantic time," he said.


06-28-2011, 08:26 PM
Jagr decision will come tomorrow
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Last updated: 7:42 pm

The Penguins will find out tomorrow if Jaromir Jagr is returning to Pittsburgh.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero offered Jagr a one-year contract this afternoon.

"We'll find out tomorrow," Shero said. "We made our offer. It's an offer that really isn't going to change. We only have so much to spend."

Shero threw compliments in Jagr's direction.

"He was an icon in Pittsburgh," Shero said. "We'd like to see him finish his career here."

Shero spoke with Jagr Monday and the NHL's 9th all-time leading scorer said he wants to play for the Penguins.

It is believed that the Detroit Red Wings and one other team — possibly the Montreal Canadiens — are bidding for Jagr's services.

"We had good talks today," Petr Svoboda, Jagr's agent, said earlier today.

In other news, Shero has made contact with unrestricted free agent Arron Asham about returning to the Penguins. Shero also spoke with agents representing Mike Rupp and Tyler Kennedy about possible contracts.

The Penguins signed Pascal Dupuis to a two-year, $3 million deal this morning.


06-29-2011, 12:19 PM
Sounds to me like he's going to sign, but if not there will be nor further negotiations.

I'm optimistic, but am not going to start growing a mullet until the deal is in writing.

06-29-2011, 12:31 PM
Jagr on way to U.S., decision nears
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Last updated: 10:40 am

Jagr decision looms

The agent for Jaromir Jagr said today that Jagr is en route to the United States and will inform of a decision on his NHL future late this afternoon.

"He is flying to New York (from the Czech Republic) right now," agent Petr Svoboda said. "He is coming this afternoon and will tell us his answer then."

Svoboda said he talked to Jagr last night about the Pens' offer, and that Detroit and Montreal are also known to have made offers.

Jagr is not expected to arrive in the U.S. until at least 3:30 p.m. Svoboda said he expects to know Jagr's decision within an hour of his arrival.

The Penguins have set today as a deadline to hear if Jagr will accept their one-year offer that is around $2 million to play for them next season. Jagr, 39, spent the first 11 seasons of his NHL career with the Penguins, but has spent the past three years playing in Russia.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero said he has spoken with Jagr, who told him he wants to play for the Penguins.

"He was an icon in Pittsburgh," Shero said. "We'd like to see him finish his career here."


06-29-2011, 07:35 PM
Jagr decision pending, despite reports
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Last updated: 6:04 pm

JFK delays
Turtles slow down traffic at airport

Despite overseas reports that Jaromir Jagr has agreed to a contract with the Penguins, both parties say no decision has been made.

Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, confirmed that Jagr is en route to the U.S. and will arrive in New York City today.

"None of the rumors are true," he said. "He hasn't signed with anyone yet."

Penguins general manager Ray Shero was contacted by the Tribune-Review earlier today and said that he has not been informed of Jagr's decision.

Shero and Svoboda have confirmed that a decision regarding which team Jagr plays for this season will be reached today.

A Russian online source is reporting that Jagr has already agreed to a one-year deal with the Penguins, but Russian news sources are infamous for not always reporting accurate information about such situations.

It is believed that the Penguins offered Jagr, 39, a one-year contract worth approximately $2 million.

The Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens are also believed to be interested in Jagr's services.

Jagr cannot officially sign with an NHL team until Friday.

Svoboda expects Jagr to make his decision within an hour of arriving in New York. It's unknown if Jagr intends on flying to Pittsburgh — or Montreal, or Detroit — later today.

Svoboda reported that, as of 5:35 p.m., Jagr's flight still has not landed at JFK International Airport in New York. While Jagr is en route to New York, Svoboda remains in Montreal.

Jagr won five scoring titles and a Hart Trophy as NHL MVP during his 11 seasons with the Penguins.

He has been quoted in recent years about his desire to return to Pittsburgh, and today, he gets his chance.


06-30-2011, 10:19 AM
Agent: Jagr decision to come today
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Last updated: 9:31 am

The agent for Jaromir Jagr said his client is in New York and said today he expects a decision about Jagr's NHL future by the end of today.

Petr Svoboda said he was scheduled to speak with Penguins general manager Ray Shero shortly. This was around 9:20 a.m.

"We are going to exchange some things," Svoboda said, adding that he would also speak with Detroit and Montreal about Jagr.

"This is obviously a tough decision for Jaromir. His heart is in Pittsburgh."

Shero said late Wednesday that he has not heard from Jagr's camp. Shero had set Wednesday as a deadline to hear if Jagr would accept a one-year offer from the Penguins that sources have said is within the $2 million range.

Longtime associates of Penguins majority co-owner Mario Lemieux and NHL agents told the Tribune-Review Wednesday they believe parameters of an agreement for Jagr to play next season with the Penguins are in place, and that Lemieux believes Jagr is coming back.

Jagr, 39, played his first 11 NHL seasons with the Penguins. He has played the past three seasons in Russia.


06-30-2011, 10:22 AM
No official word on Jagr's status with Pens
By Rob Rossi and Dejan Kovacevic, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Last updated: 9:07 am

The Penguins had not heard back from Jaromir Jagr as of late Wednesday, according to general manager Ray Shero.

But longtime acquaintances of team co-owner Mario Lemieux and NHL agents told the Tribune-Review an agreement was in place even as Jagr flew from the Czech Republic to the United States.

There was no confirmation of an agreement from the Penguins, Jagr or Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda.

The Penguins offered Jagr a one-year deal worth about $2 million, sources said Tuesday. Shero said he wanted to know from Jagr by yesterday if Jagr would accept an offer to play with the team.

The Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens have also made offers for Jagr, who Svoboda said wants to play in the NHL at least one more season after spending three years in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

Svoboda said he expected a decision from Jagr when Jagr was scheduled to arrive in New York around 4 p.m. Svoboda said around 5:30 p.m. that Jagr's plane had not landed. Svoboda did not return messages after 6 p.m.

It was unclear where Jagr was staying Wednesday night.

Dozens of Penguins fans gathered at Pittsburgh International Airport Wednesday night in anticipation of Jagr's possible arrival. None of the fans said they had seen Jagr.

The Penguins are hoping to bring Jagr to Pittsburgh, where he spent his first 11 NHL seasons from 1990-2001 — a span in which he helped the club win the Stanley Cup twice and personally claimed an MVP and five scoring titles.

"He was an icon in Pittsburgh," Shero said Tuesday. "We would like to see him finish his career here."

Jagr spoke with Shero on Monday and last week with former teammates and Lemieux.

Like Lemieux, Jagr is a top-10 NHL scorer all time. They combined to win 11 of the 13 scoring titles claimed by a Penguin.

Of course, that dominant Jagr from his famous mullet days is not the player the Penguins anticipate getting because of his age — though, as Penguins coach Dan Bylsma pointed out last week, Jagr produced 71 points in 81 games with the Rangers during his final NHL season.

Bylsma said he was "intrigued" by possibly adding Jagr to a roster that already will be bolstered by the return of superstar centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, neither of whom played most of the second half and in the playoffs this past season because of injuries.

With Jagr, Malkin and Crosby, the Penguins would employ three players that have combined for seven scoring titles, two MVPs and a playoff MVP. The trio has combined for 11 100-point seasons.

The Penguins had about $6 million to spend under the NHL's salary cap as of Thursday because they prefer to keep around $1.5 million available for in-season moves.

On Tuesday they re-signed right wing Pascal Dupuis, one of several players who were set to become an unrestricted free agent Friday.

Others that can go that route are wingers Tyler Kennedy, Max Talbot and Mike Rupp. Arron Asham signed a one-year deal worth $775,000 late last night to remain with the Penguins.

Shero has been engaged in talks with agents for Kennedy and Rupp, but Talbot, who scored the only two goals in a Game 7 win at Detroit in the 2009 Cup Final, will not be re-signed before Friday.

Shero hopes to re-sign Kennedy to a multiyear deal and ink Rupp before Friday, when a reportedly weak crop of free agents will command high prices because many NHL teams must increase payroll to hit the salary floor.


06-30-2011, 10:25 AM
Ex-Pens say Jagr would fit well in Pittsburgh
Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jaromir Jagr would fit in just as well with the current Penguins as he did with the players two decades ago, according to those who would know that best.

Members of the franchise's Stanley Cup champions in 1991-92, several of whom participated in team owner Mario Lemieux's celebrity golf outing Wednesday at Nemacolin, expressed optimism the team and player would make the right move if they reunited when NHL free agency opens Friday.

"Jaromir coming back is a tremendous thing for the city and for Jaromir himself," said former forward and NHL head coach Rick Tocchet. "A player that great should finish his career in the NHL. And to do it here makes more sense than anything."

"It's pretty phenomenal," said former forward and current Root Sports analyst Jay Caufield. "Jaromir's going to have one last shot at a Cup, and he's going to do it with this great group of players. It's a tremendous story."

How such a story would unfold depends on whether Jagr assimilates.

The majority opinion was that Jagr would work well on a second line to the right of center Evgeni Malkin. That, in their minds, would keep Sidney Crosby on the top line with Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis or James Neal.

"We haven't had much creativity on the wings," said former forward and current Root Sports commentator Bob Errey. "Jaromir doesn't play in a straight line, but that's OK. We need that diversity. Geno needs that. He needs that guy who can protect the puck, pull up and hit him down the middle."

"More than anything, I like the idea of Geno and Jaromir together," Caufield said.

Caufield added defenseman Kris Letang into the equation.

"Jaromir pulling up like he does, he's always great at hitting that trailer," Caufield said. "I think Letang will flourish."

None had serious doubts about Jagr's ability to keep pace with coach Dan Bylsma's speed-based system, even though he will turn 40 in February.

"There are a lot of defensive responsibilities in Dan's system, but I think he can make adjustments, including who Jaromir plays with," said former forward and current youth coach Troy Loney.

"He still has a quick step," Tocchet said. "He doesn't have the explosive speed he once had, but he still has the attributes to play a north-south game. That was Alexei Kovalev's problem. He couldn't do that."

Errey mentioned that a Malkin-Jagr line could operate with a different system.

"You see that a lot in hockey, and I think we could benefit from a little east-west," Errey said. "It keeps teams from getting too comfortable in how they defend you."

Off the ice, these former Penguins saw both sides of Jagr, from the gregarious overgrown child to the broody, pouting version. Here, too, no serious doubts were raised.

"Jaromir's going to have a supporting role, not a leading role," Loney said. "But we've seen him do well with that in the past under Mario."

"He has to have grown up," Errey said. "And, hey, this is someone who had all kinds of money and fame thrown at him at a very young age. There's only one Sid who can handle that without it changing him."

Speaking of Crosby ...

"It's Sid's team, and it's Sid's locker room," Caufield said. "In Mario's conversations with Jaromir, I'm sure he made that clear. Mario can oversee that, make sure things stay the way they should. And Jaromir's going to have to prove himself. It's a good locker room, and he's going to have to earn it."


06-30-2011, 10:29 AM
Starkey: Possible Jagr sequel already compelling
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Last updated: 8:54 am

What is Jaromir Jagr waiting for, a sit-down chat with Jim Gray on ESPN?

The Decision was supposed to go down Wednesday but never did. If Jagr says anything but "Penguins" today, Friday, or whenever he makes up his mind, he will be skewered for centuries to come.

In the meantime, the possible Jagr sequel — "From Russia With Gloves" — has promise. I'm thinking along the lines of "The Godfather Part II" or maybe "Escape From The Planet of the Apes." Quite enjoyable, even if they weren't as good as the originals.

But you have to admit, especially in the wake of The Indecision, that there's a chance this turns into "Caddyshack II," or, God forbid, "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls."

Look, I'm on board with the Jagr idea. I called for it in early May, when all Jagr had from the Penguins was an invitation to their alumni golf tournament. But let's not pretend it's a two-foot gimme.

Bad memories are surfacing ...

I remember Jagr refusing to take the ice late in the third period during the Ivan Hlinka era ... Jagr demanding a trade ... Wait, what's this? Jagr handing me a framed photo of himself and asking me to pray to it (actually happened). There are more. Many more.

Let's just say I'm still on board but with trepidation. I am of two minds. Which is fitting, as Jagr was not only of multiple minds but multiple personalities during much of his time here.

Let's put my warring sides in the faceoff circle and see who wins.

SKEPTICAL MIND: Jagr's a new man, eh? Is that what you're peddling? With apologies to John McEnroe, you cannot be serious. Leopards don't change stripes, buddy. "Yags" was a brooding, finicky brat at 30. Think he's enlightened at 40? He won't be asking for different skates every five seconds, sulking when he goes 12 games without a goal or dragging himself to the bench after a bad shift? He's going to be a leader? Wow. You'll believe anything.

TRUSTING MIND: Oh, you negative media types. First of all, people do change. The same Mario Lemieux who was allergic to exercise when he arrived in Pittsburgh was a workout freak in his second incarnation. Randy Moss didn't make a peep for three years in New England.

Secondly, Jagr does best when he isn't the leader — and nobody wants him to be the Dalai Lama, anyway. The Penguins don't need a higher power. They need a better power play. Put Jagr on the right half-boards. And know that underneath the massive array of defense mechanisms, he always cared about his legacy here. He wants to make right with Mario. He will be supremely motivated. You watch.

SKEPTIC: Grab the Kleenex and cue the violins, you delusional moron. You speak of Jagr's New York years as if he were Mark Messier. Did you know that as recently as 2007 he begged out of shootouts? Would Messier have done that? You also failed to mention that he napalmed the Capitals' dressing room when he was there.

He couldn't even score 20 goals in the KHL, by the way, so what makes you think he'll score 30 in the NHL? You're buying into the fairy tale and ignoring reality. This would end badly, perhaps before Christmas. Repeat after me: The Penguins wouldn't be getting the Jagr of '98.

BELIEVER: Nor would they expect the Jagr of '98. His game never was dependent on speed. He uses that monster frame to control the puck down low. He can still fire it, too. The vision and hands remain.

Did you see that hat trick against the U.S. in the World Championships? Did you see what U.S. captain Mark Stuart said of Jagr? "He's still got it."

Of course he does. And for whatever issues he might have, Jagr is no dummy. I remember Kevin Constantine telling me that even when it looked as if Jagr were in la-la land during meetings, he'd have clearer recall than any of his teammates.

Jagr knows what would be at stake here — his Pittsburgh legacy. He wouldn't blow that.

If he ever makes up his mind, that is.


06-30-2011, 07:21 PM
If the Pens are able to land Jagr and re-sign Tyler Kennedy before the start of free agency tomorrow, here are some of the potential line pairings (assuming that Max Talbot, Mike Rupp, and Eric Godard move on elsewhere once they are exposed to the open market).

Neal-Crosby-Kunitz (Crosby's got his two wingers from the Whitney and Goligoski trades)
Dupuis-Malkin-Jagr (Jagr's age and offensive-mindedness balanced by Dupuis's speed and defensive-mindedness)
Cooke-Staal-Kennedy (best third line in hockey. Still together after all these years.)
Asham-Adams-Letestu (the fourth line is for gritty vets and hungry youngsters)

We'd also have Dustin Jeffrey and Eric Tangradi to fill in holes here and there.

Orpik-Letang (our top pairing has the perfect pair of intimidation via both bodychecks as well as goals)
Martin-Michalek (our top two free agent signings last year turned our defensive corp into an unquestioned strength)
Lovejoy-Niskanen (the top two pairings are set...coaches can decide which youngsters gets 3rd pair skates based on merit like Tomlin did with Sanders and Brown last year)

We'd also have Deryk Engelland and Simon Depres to fill in holes here and there.

07-01-2011, 01:05 AM
Updated: July 1, 2011

Agent: Jaromir Jagr's suitors increasing

By Scott Burnside

The dog-and-pony show that is the Jaromir Jagr contract chase rolled on through Thursday evening with no resolution in sight.

Jagr's agent Petr Svoboda told ESPN.com Thursday night the field of teams for whom Jagr is considering playing for is actually growing instead of shrinking.

It was believed Pittsburgh, Detroit and Montreal were the three teams the five-time scoring champ was considering in a return to the NHL after playing the last three years in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Apparently not.

"There's a lot more teams now we're talking to," Svoboda told ESPN.com Thursday evening.

As for getting a deal done by the time the free agency period opens at noon ET Friday, that plan appears to have gone by the boards as well.

Jagr, 39, will make a decision "in the next few days," Svoboda said.

"I'm not going to put a time frame on it," he added. "Basically we have nothing new and I can't tell you anything,"

This will come as disappointing news to the Penguins who had been told by Svoboda that Jagr is interested in returning to Pittsburgh where he won two Stanley Cups in the early 1990s.

It's believed the Penguins have offered a one-year deal worth about $2 million.

Jagr had said in the past his desire to return to Pittsburgh -- if he returned to the NHL -- was so strong that money wouldn't be a factor.

The Red Wings remain interested as well although they had no new information to report Thursday evening about whether they were being considered by Jagr.

Whether Jagr's inability to make a timely decision has an effect on teams' interest as they allocate free agent money starting Friday afternoon remains to be seen.

Svoboda, who was in Montreal, said Jagr is in New York as the process continues.

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.


07-01-2011, 08:50 AM
Jagr's agent says vet's 'heart is in Pittsburgh'
Friday, July 1, 2011

Jaromir Jagr's agent said Thursday that Jagr's "heart is in Pittsburgh." Penguins general manager Ray Shero is banking on it.

"I'm hoping Jagr meant what he said by wanting to do right by Mario," Shero said, referring to team co-owner Mario Lemieux.

NHL free agency opens at noon Friday, and where Jagr will play next season finally should be answered.

Shero spoke with Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, Thursday afternoon. Despite expecting a decision Wednesday, Shero again was not told whether Jagr would accept the Penguins' one-year, about $2 million offer.

But neither were the Penguins ruled out.

"Petr said we're very much in the mix," Shero said.

Lemieux has spoken with Jagr, his former Penguins teammate, and asked him to finish his glorious NHL career where it started in 1990.

Jagr's best chance is to accept the Penguins' offer before noon Friday, though Shero said he would not pull the offer he made Tuesday.

Shero, who apparently is making progress on a deal for right winger Tyler Kennedy, said he doesn't "have a feel" for what will happen with Jagr or Kennedy.

"I know what my backup plan is if one or both of them doesn't come," he said. "That might be not to do anything at the start of free agency."

The Penguins are committed to about $57.8 million against the NHL's $64.4 million salary cap for next season. Shero prefers to keep about $1.5 million free for in-season roster moves.

Jagr, 39, also has one-year offers from Detroit and Montreal. All of the offers are for about $2 million. Reports surfaced late yesterday that the Philadelphia Flyers also were interested in Jagr, although no offer apparently had been made. Svoboda, though, also did not rule out that Jagr would play next season in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, where he spent the past three years.

"It's a tough decision for Jaromir," Svoboda said. "His heart is in Pittsburgh."

Jagr could not be reached for comment, but he has hailed Lemieux as his idol and mentor during their days as teammates in the 1990s. In 2008, he told The Hockey News that he "owed his hockey life" to Lemieux and that he would play again with the Penguins "for the league minimum."

Far from the minimum, Shero said he has made Jagr, the NHL's ninth all-time scorer, a "competitive offer."

That offer won't change, Shero said. He added that the Wednesday deadline for a decision from Jagr came from Svoboda, not the Penguins.

"He isn't holding us hostage or anything," Shero said of Jagr. "I never put a deadline on it. I said that we —and probably a lot of other teams — would want to know by the start of free agency."

Svoboda said Jagr arrived in New York from the Czech Republic late Wednesday night. He believed Jagr would reach a decision last night and inform teams today.

"Petr doesn't want to force him into a decision," Shero said.

In anticipation of a Jagr signing, the Penguins have constructed web pages with tributes to his career, complete with video montages and Jagr-related items.

However, late last night Svoboda told ESPN.com that a Jagr decision might not come for a couple of days.

If Pittsburgh is in Jagr's heart, Montreal is likely on his mind as the wild-card candidate. The Canadiens have the salary-cap space to increase their offer to Jagr and still pursue another top forward in what is considered a weak free-agent class. Also in possible favor of the Canadiens:

>> They are specifically in the market for a top-six right winger, Jagr's position.

>> Center Tomas Plekanec has been mentored by Jagr. They have been teammates for the Czech Republic during international competitions and share the same hometown, Kladno.

Still, belief around the hockey world — including among NHL agents and longtime acquaintances of Lemieux — is that Jagr will play for the Penguins next season and secure his legacy with the franchise and the city in which he still owns a home.


07-01-2011, 12:09 PM
Penguins Withdraw Offer to Jagr
Friday, 07.01.2011 / 11:35 AM

The Pittsburgh Penguins withdrew their one-year, $2 million contract offer to free agent Jaromir Jagr Friday morning.

"We made what we thought was a very fair contract offer to Jaromir on Tuesday, based on his stated interest of returning to the Penguins," said Ray Shero, the team's executive vice president and general manager. "We made our best offer from the start, given our salary cap structure, in an attempt to facilitate a deal. But now, after several days, with an extended time frame for making a decision, and additional teams getting involved, we have decided to move in a different direction. It was never our intention to get involved in a free agent bidding war, and we have to focus on our team.

"Jaromir is one of the greatest players in Penguins history, and we wish him all the best."


07-01-2011, 12:59 PM
Well efff him and his mullet for jerking everyone around for 3 days. :x

07-01-2011, 03:25 PM
Jaromir Jagr would look great on a line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Oh wait...

Jaromir Jagr returning to NHL with Flyers
Friday, 07.01.2011 / 1:32 PM
By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Jaromir Jagr, the club announced via their official Twitter feed at 1:20 p.m. ET Friday. TSN reports it is a one-year contract worth $3.3 million.

Jagr hasn't played in the NHL since the 2007-08 season with the New York Rangers. He played the last three seasons in the KHL.

Jagr was reportedly being wooed by several teams, but both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings pulled their one-year contract offers off the table Friday morning, opening the door for Jagr to sign with the Flyers.

The 39-year-old Jagr is ninth all-time in the NHL in scoring with 1,599 points, just 42 behind Joe Sakic. He has played in 1,273 NHL games over 17 seasons, including the first 11 in Pittsburgh, where he won the Stanley Cup twice, the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy five times and the Lester B. Pearson Award four times.

He was also a finalist for the Hart Trophy five times, including in 2006 with the Rangers. The last time Jagr played in North America was at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he was the flag bear for the Czech Republic. He won gold at the 1998 Olympics and bronze at the 2006 Games.


07-02-2011, 03:17 PM
Kovacevic: Jagr's greed wins out again
Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Flyers?


It's as if Jaromir Jagr woke up Friday morning after dreaming of fans welcoming him at Pittsburgh International, of donning a Penguins sweater again, of reuniting with Mario Lemieux, of being handed the Stanley Cup by Sidney Crosby, of watching his No. 68 raised to the rafters ... and then thought, "Hmmm ... how can I really stick it to those people?"

I realize, though, that this isn't at all what happened.

Rather, it's always about the money with Jagr. Once a mercenary, always a mercenary.

When Jagr accepted a one-year, $3.3 million offer from Philadelphia, he spurned not only the Penguins — who offered $2 million — but also the Detroit Red Wings, another perennial contender, and the Montreal Canadiens, where his Czech friend Tomas Plekanec plays. So you know this much for sure: Jagr's decision had nothing to do with winning, a coach's system, a comfort level and certainly not legacy. The Flyers simply swooped in Thursday and tossed more cash on the table.

This wasn't about greener pastures. It was about going for the green.

Jagr genuinely has grown up in some ways at age 39. I've seen it myself, on and off the ice. But he evidently never passed the point where he bases all his decisions on money. Sure, he could have stayed in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League and been paid even more, around $4 million, and it would have been tax-free to help cover those Siberian heating bills. I'm sure that's going to be part of his defense.

But that doesn't change this about Jagr's choice of NHL teams: By the end of next season, he will have made roughly $101 million in his career, not counting endorsements and other earnings. The difference between the Flyers' and Penguins' offers was $1.3 million. That's a ton of money to most of us, but it's roughly 1 percent of everything Jagr has made. It's a penny on his dollar.

Small wonder the Penguins were furious, even before learning Jagr chose Philadelphia.

Lemieux and a handful of his closest acquaintances had been guardedly optimistic through Tuesday, according to multiple sources. Some went so far as to express that an agreement or understanding was in place. All that soured Wednesday, especially into the night, when the Penguins heard of Jagr's lingering flirtations with Detroit and Montreal.

General manager Ray Shero, who essentially emptied the team's pockets to ensure Jagr would get a respectable offer, was said to be livid.

"It didn't really feel right," Shero said of that stage.

On the Penguins' level, this was outright betrayal. It would have been one thing for Jagr to enter free agency and acknowledge that the best fit or highest bidder would win. It's quite another to tell Lemieux directly that he wants to return to play out of respect for him. And it was worse still that agent Petr Svoboda had the nerve to say that Jagr's "heart is in Pittsburgh" as recently as Thursday. Even while Jagr and Svoboda — and believe me, Jagr always calls his own shots — were finagling with the Flyers.

That's unconscionable.

As for the Penguins' fans, suffice it to say they had a small taste of how Cleveland felt after LeBron James' epic blowoff.

It's not the same scope, of course. James is the NBA's dominant talent, born and raised in Akron. But I would rank this Jagr snub as more insulting than, say, Marian Hossa's leap to the Red Wings in 2008. Hossa left after a couple months because he thought he had a better chance to win. That is hardly some moral crime, even if Hossa's prediction proved painfully wrong.

What Jagr did was different: Our city has 446 bridges, and one of its greatest athletes just burned them all.

Sure, we forgave Terry Bradshaw's foibles, and we stopped tossing batteries at Dave Parker. But those two and others eventually came back and made things right. I don't see that happening with Jagr. I don't see the circumstance in which that No. 68 ever gets raised.

No, the only numbers of consequence regarding Jagr in these parts will be 12-29. That's the date the Flyers make their first trip into town next season, and it could be quite the scene.

Unless someone offers Jagr a couple more bucks to be outside hawking T-shirts.


07-02-2011, 03:18 PM
Jagr won't be feeling the love from Pens fans
Saturday, July 2, 2011

Trystan Laughrey's customized black-and-yellow braces were visible as she spoke, but the Franklin Park girl wasn't smiling.

"I'm very upset that he went to the Flyers because I hate the Flyers," the 9-year-old said. "I wanted him back here."

Penguins fans of all ages, including the Laughreys at lunch on the North Shore on Friday, had a mix of emotions after former NHL MVP Jaromir Jagr signed with the reviled Flyers rather than return to the Penguins.

"Good riddance," said season-ticket holder John White, 30, of the North Hills.

Jagr's decision drew the fans' ire as much for his cross-state destination as his snubbing Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux and the team with which he won two Stanley Cup titles. Jagr, 39, signed a one-year $3.3 million deal with the Flyers; the Penguins had offered $2 million.

"It's horrible," said Trystan's mom, Karen. "It's a stab in the back to Mario."

Buddy Richard, 23, of Shaler admitted he wanted Jagr for the right price. But he shook his head at the news.

"How are you gonna sign with the Flyers?" he said. "That's bad. What do you even say about that?"

Not everyone held a grudge, including Ed Sanders, 42, of East Liberty, wearing a Pirates hat outside PNC Park.

"I would like him to be here, but that's his decision," he said. "I can't judge that. Only he can do that."

Fans railed against Jagr's untimely negotiating tactics — he originally was going to decide Wednesday — and the fact he shrugged off a chance to return to Pittsburgh and repair his tainted legacy.

"I'm glad the Flyers got him," said Joe Lang, 52, of Green Tree. "It will hurt Philly in the long-term."

Rick Michak, 49, of the South Hills was hopeful for Jagr's return. He believed the Czech native was unjustly criticized for leaving Pittsburgh for the rival Capitals after the 2000-01 season. Now, Jagr's fate is sealed.

"He will be hated when he comes back," Michak said. "If he would have gone to Detroit or Montreal, it wouldn't have been as bad. But the Flyers makes it even worse."

Sounding off

Penguins and Flyers fans took to online message boards to weigh in on Jaromir Jagr's and Max Talbot's decisions to spurn Pittsburgh and sign with Philadelphia.

A sampling from Penguins message boards, including from www.pittsburghpenguins.com (http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com):

How can you slap the Penguins organization in the face? We wanted you back and you turn your back on us. ... All for an extra $1.3 million? Wow! — Czack

Pens just released the promotional schedule. Dec. 29th against the Flyers is Battery Night. — Badger_Bob

I think that I shall burn my Talbot jersey and change my username now. — MaxTalbot25

We now know that the price of Jagr's soul is exactly $1.3 million. — Eightandahalf

All that talk of how great full (sic) he was to Pens and Mario and how he could never repay them for all the did for him and his career. was nothing more then (sic) lip service. — wsopstud

I needed this. Over the past couple of years, I found myself hating Washington more than the Flyers. This reminds me that the Flyers have always been and are still enemy #1. — dpk120

Today has been the strangest first day of free agency in a LONG time for the Pens. — pittsports87

What happened to all that "My heart is in Pittsburgh" and "I'd play for the league minimum in Pittsburgh" stuff? I guess things never really change. — Delta Agent

Not only do I not retire his number...I mandate that our 13th forward be forced to wear that number until it's trivialized to the point that (it) is barely remembered. — tonysoprano

A sampling from Flyers message boards, including from www.philadelphiaflyers.com (http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com):

Horrible move by Flyers. Jagr is worthless and should never be allowed to touch the orange and black... — Crossefire 01

Signing Jagr is just a gimmick to get fans to fill the seats ... 39 and no wheels! Booooooooooooooooo. — The Philly Shadow

Jagr is still awesome! Haters will eat their words once they see him kill it. — Lookyhere

Goes to show that it WAS all about the money. What ARE they thinking in the organization? — Philly PHAilure

YUCK. Jagr for 3.3 Million? He has been out the NHL for 3 years. He is pushing 40. This won't turn out well. — Ferrell31

Keep hating Pitt fans. Bitterness is an ugly emotion. — DigitalTD

Max Talbot? Who????? 8 goals and 13 assists last year? Please tell me he only played one quarter of the season. — aNutterInDgutter

What an embarrassment to our organization!!! I think I'm gonna be SICK!!!!! — Blakk73

5 years for a 3rd or 4th line player is insane. The money's OK but the term is too long. — Kopykat


07-02-2011, 03:20 PM
Jagr signing reignites Pens-Flyers rivalry
Saturday, July 2, 2011

One wrong was actually righted by Jaromir Jagr on Friday.

By signing a one-year contract worth $3.3 million with Philadelphia, Jagr officially restored the Penguins-Flyers rivalry to where Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik has said it has always belonged.

"If you ask anybody in this room about our biggest rival, it's the Flyers," Orpik said last season when the Penguins and Washington Capitals were being followed by HBO's cameras for a documentary series.

"It's always the Flyers."

Jagr's return to Pittsburgh — the place his agent said Thursday "is in his heart" — will happen next season.

Dec. 29, Consol Energy Center, Penguins vs. Flyers ...

"It's going to be ... I don't know, something I've never witnessed when it comes to anticipation," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Friday. "And it's going to be definitely unique, and I think our fans will be at a level I've never seen them at for a regular-season game."

Jagr, 39, had told Penguins majority co-owner Mario Lemieux he wanted to play for the Penguins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup twice and five scoring titles from 1990-2001. Jagr said the same thing Tuesday to Penguins general manager Ray Shero, who in turn offered him a one-year contract worth $2 million.

Jagr hadn't accepted or declined it by Wednesday, as his agent had promised Shero, who also received no decision from Jagr's camp Thursday.

Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, was contacted by the Flyers on Thursday night, according to Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren, who said "it started innocently ... with a text message."

It ended Friday — the first day of NHL free agency — with Penguins fans loathing Jagr more than they ever had during the past decade following his disheartening requested trade to the Capitals 10 years ago this month.

Shero rescinded the Penguins' offer after Jagr failed to meet an 11 a.m. deadline.

Jagr had said he wanted to make amends with the Penguins, their city and most especially Lemieux.

"To come back to Pittsburgh seemed like a tap-in," Shero said. "But I respect his decision."

On any other day the big disappointment for Penguins fans would have been 2009 Stanley Cup hero Max Talbot signing with the Flyers, which he did for five years and $9 million.

However, Shero conceded that Talbot "got a lot more" from the Flyers than the Penguins had offered on a three-year proposal. Shero said he spoke with Talbot, who famously shushed Flyers fans as the Penguins closed out Game 6 of a first-round playoff series at Philadelphia on their 2009 Cup run.

"Totally different situation (than Jagr)," Shero said. "Max will always be a part of history here. I'm really happy for him."

Shero seemed comfortable losing forward Mike Rupp, too. Rupp signed a three-year deal worth $4.5 million with the New York Rangers.

"He gave us a chance," Shero said of Rupp, who spent the past two seasons with the Penguins. "I just had a feeling it wasn't going to work out."

Shero had that feeling about Jagr on Wednesday night when Svoboda didn't have an answer at the deadline he had proposed.

By Thursday night, Shero conceded, "it didn't feel right."

Jagr never asked for more money, Shero said.

"He just went somewhere else," he said.

Just somewhere?

"Uh, no," Bylsma said.

Bylsma confident Pens remain among elite

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma doesn't deny that the prospect of working with Jaromir Jagr was intriguing. However, Jagr is a Philadelphia Flyer now — as is Max Talbot — and Bylsma on Friday offered thoughts about players who will be Penguins next season during an interview with the Tribune-Review:

On James Neal:

"He's a 25-30 goal scorer, I know that. He didn't score like that when we got him last season, granted. But if you looked at our team at this time last year and said, 'They got James Neal,' you would say, 'Now, that's something they needed, that kind of player.' I've watched every goal he has scored in the NHL, and he has lost a little shine because he didn't score a lot for us, but he's still that guy who scored those goals. ... I see Neal playing like the wingers that Sidney (Crosby) likes to play. He plays with speed, likes to create pressure and is a straight-line player. That's why Sid likes (Chris) Kunitz, why he liked Colby Armstrong. Those players allow Sidney to pick up loose pucks and anticipate where other players are. James Neal is a Sidney Crosby kind-of player, like Kunitz. So Sidney has two of those guys he likes to play with. I'll take that with a healthy Sidney Crosby."

On a return of the "Big Three" centers:

"The one thing I hear get bounced around when I talk to other coaches at the draft is, 'Well, I don't have Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin.' I may take offense to that personally, but that is the view of other teams in this league. I say, 'Throw Jordan (Staal) in there, too,' and I'm getting all three of those guys, hopefully healthy, for the first time in a couple of years. So when I hear that from other coaches, what they're telling me is, when you play my team, you feel like you're going up against a wall.

"Here is what those three do that we missed the last two playoff series we lost and all of last season because they weren't in the lineup together other than (two) games: 1) We're never chasing a bad matchup, and 2) we're never in a bad matchup defensively.

"There are certain things that win hockey games, and to have those three, our defense and our goaltending — those last two things being our strength last season — well, other teams will look at that and say, 'Wow!'"

On prospects' potential impact:

"We all feel like (Dustin) Jeffrey took a step last season before he got hurt, and he can be a half-wall or point-man on a second power-play unit. More than ever these young guys — Jeffrey, Nick Johnson and don't forget Joe Vitale — are going to compete to make our team. ... I do like that competition factor and a little bit of turnover, bringing in younger players and saying, 'Hey, Nick and Joe, you've got a chance to make our team, no promises, but go get that spot.' And what I like about our veterans is that they know these players will come up and play in the right spots on the team, not just be thrown in there."


07-02-2011, 03:37 PM
Jagr's baggage wasn't worth Penguins' risk
Saturday, July 02, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One day, Penguins general manager Ray Shero will thank Jaromir Jagr. Not today or next week, maybe. The wounds and anger from being used and abused by Jagr, who signed Friday with the hated Philadelphia Flyers, still are too fresh. But sometime next season. The Penguins will be competing for the Stanley Cup and an immature, erratic Jagr will be pulling his usual Operation Shutdown routine with the Flyers. You bet Shero will thank Jagr for not coming back to Pittsburgh. Let him be the Flyers' problem. They deserve each other.

I didn't understand the Penguins' interest in Jagr in the first place. Approaching 40, not having played in the NHL in three seasons and needing U-Haul's biggest truck to bring all of his baggage, he just wasn't worth the risk. If you've been paying attention the past week, you saw his character. His agent, Petr Svoboda, kept telling everyone how much Jagr loved Pittsburgh, how doing a deal wasn't about the money, how he wanted to be reunited again with his hero, Mario Lemieux.

Blah, blah, blah.

When the Penguins got tired of waiting for Jagr and pulled their one-year, $2 million offer Friday morning, he signed with the Flyers shortly after noon. It turns out it really was about the money; the Flyers' deal is for $3.3 million. Nice. That should make for some warm reception for Jagr when the Flyers come to Consol Energy Center Dec. 29 for the first of three times next season. Max Talbot, who also signed Friday with the Flyers, will be cheered. He was nothing but class with the Penguins -- not to mention a Stanley Cup hero -- and left with class even if it was to go to Philadelphia. But Jagr? You know what they say. Once a jerk ...

Really, it's just as well it didn't work out for Jagr here. I couldn't see how he was going to fit in with the Penguins. I doubt there was room for his sizable ego in their locker room.

You don't have to spend much time around the Penguins to know they have something special going. You saw that on HBO's "24/7" series last season. It starts with owners Ron Burkle and Lemieux and works down through president David Morehouse, Shero and coach Dan Bylsma. They create an atmosphere that makes players want to play and stay with the team even if it means taking less money. It happened again this week when unrestricted free agents Pascal Dupuis and Tyler Kennedy re-upped with two-year deals.

Chances seem pretty high that Jagr's presence would have damaged the karma. When he was with the Penguins the first time -- granted, a lifetime ago -- he sulked when things didn't go his way. It was so bad at the end that he repeatedly begged Lemieux and then-general manager Craig Patrick to trade him and put him out of his misery. He was a real baby. That's the last thing the team needs now.

I hear people say the Penguins' desperate need for offense made it imperative to sign Jagr. They point to the playoff series recently against the Tampa Bay Lightning when the team went 1 for 35 on the power play. They point to the 1-0 loss in Game 7. It's as if they've forgotten that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin missed that series with injuries. I know the power play has struggled with the two stars at times, but I would bet it would have scored more than one power-play goal against the Lightning if they were healthy. Many more, actually.

As for the desperate need for scoring wingers, I'm not buying it. Crosby was having a career year last season playing with Chris Kunitz and Dupuis before he was hurt. It's also as if people have forgotten that Shero traded a good player -- power-play specialist/defenseman Alex Goligoski -- at the trade deadline last season to bring in scoring winger James Neal. I know, Neal struggled, getting one goal in 20 games before getting just one more in the playoffs, although that one won Game 4 against the Lightning in double overtime. Let's see what he can do playing with Crosby or Malkin. He's 23. He scored 24 goals with the Dallas Stars in 2008-09, 27 goals in 2009-10 and 21 in 59 games last season before the trade. If he doesn't score at least 25 goals this season, Shero will be disappointed. So will I.

Maybe Jagr would have provided another 25 goals, his total in his most recent NHL season, 2007-08, with the New York Rangers. Maybe he would have pushed up the power play's conversion rate to the 20- or 22-percent range. Maybe he would have withstood the grind of the long NHL season and been able to play 70 games for the Penguins. Maybe he would have been the perfect teammate.

Or maybe not.

I want to believe a guy can go home again and be successful, but I just didn't see it in this case.

Jagr did the Penguins a favor by picking the Flyers.

They are better off without him.


07-02-2011, 11:31 PM
Jaromir Jagr: Spurned cash for Flyers

Associated Press
Updated: July 2, 2011

PHILADELPHIA -- Jaromir Jagr had a message to Pittsburgh Penguins fans disappointed he spurned his former club in his return to the NHL: No hard feelings.

The 1999 league MVP just felt more at ease after listening to a pitch to join the Philadelphia Flyers.

Jaromir Jagr's behavior, and the behavior of his agent over the past few days, merely reinforces Jagr does what Jagr wants, not necessarily what he says -- no matter the cost to whatever remains of his reputation in the NHL, writes Scott Burnside. Blog

Jagr said on Saturday he rejected more lucrative offers to make his NHL comeback and decided to play on the other end of Pennsylvania because he liked what the Flyers are "trying to do" to win a Stanley Cup.

Jagr's acquisition is a big part of the Flyers' offseason overhaul that has seen them jettison key cogs Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Ville Leino and Brian Boucher, among others.

The 39-year-old Jagr spent the past three seasons playing in Russia. This week he mulled a one-year offer to rejoin the Penguins, his original team, before deciding to play for the Flyers.

The Flyers deal is worth $3.3 million. Jagr didn't name the teams he said offered more money.

Jagr was a Pittsburgh draft pick in 1990 and helped lead the Penguins to two Stanley Cup championships.

He won those titles alongside Mario Lemieux, now the Penguins' owner. Pittsburgh hoped he would accept the offer, play at least one season and then retire with the Penguins.

Jagr said he had only one brief conversation with Lemieux and never led the Penguins to believe he'd return.

"The Penguins seem like I did something wrong or something bad, and I don't think I did something bad," Jagr said. "If they feel like that, I cannot change their minds. I was a free agent, and I had my chance to pick wherever I think is best for me."

That pick came Friday when he chose the Flyers. Jagr said he had an opportunity to play more with the Flyers and likes the bold moves general manager Paul Holmgren made the last 10 days. Jagr says the addition of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was a reason for his signing. The Flyers also acquiesced with his wish for a one-year deal.

"I think it's better for the team, because you don't know how things are going to go," he said. "You might think it's going to be good, you might hope it's going to be good, but there's no guarantees. And if something goes wrong, why have two years?"

Jagr will be looked upon to provide some of that scoring punch. He has 646 NHL goals, and when he slips on that orange-and-black uniform for the first time, he will be the league's active scoring leader with 1,599 points.

A Czech native, Jagr won an Olympic gold medal in 1998 and a bronze in 2006. He also won hockey world championships in 2005 and 2010.

The Flyers hope Jagr hasn't lost it and can still hold up to the grueling 82-game schedule, plus the postseason. Jagr said he was in no position to judge if he's lost a step on his skates.

"You'd have to ask somebody else who saw me years ago and then saw me last month. I don't know," he said. "We'll have to wait and see."

The Flyers, who lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals in six games, finished with 106 points last season and won the Atlantic Division title on a tiebreaker ahead of the Penguins. Philadelphia outlasted the Buffalo Sabres in seven games in the first round but was swept out of the postseason in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.

Jagr talked to members of the coaching staff and defenseman Chris Pronger before making his decision.

Jagr is not worried about the expectations that will be lumped on him. He could have eased into the lineup had the Flyers held on to Richards and Carter. But if they were here, Jagr might be in Pittsburgh or Detroit.

"I know it's going to be tough for the fans because the GM traded two very good players, and it's not easy for the fans to see it, but I think it would be a lot easier for me to come in if the team stayed the way it was before," he said. "But you never know."

The Flyers can't wait to find out.