Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/09/10 at 11:30 AM ET
from Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
It wasn’t the same without Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr was extended an invitation, but was one of a number of members from the Penguins’ first two Stanley Cup champions who couldn’t attend. Neither could Tom Barrasso, Scotty Bowman, Ron Francis, Joe Mullen, Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens or Rick Tocchet, all important ingredients.
“That’s what it takes to make a championship team,” said Ken Schinkel, the former Penguins player and coach who oversaw the 1984 draft that netted Lemieux. “The elite player that Mario is, he makes everybody better. But you’ve got to have that other talented guy.”
Jagr, indisputably, was that other talented guy.
This summer is the 20th anniversary of the Penguins drafting Jagr. Next season will be the 10th since he left in a forgettable trade that unforgettably returned Kris Beech, Ross Lupaschuk and Michal Sivek. In between those two landmark dates, the Penguins made 11 consecutive playoffs and won the Stanley Cup twice.
“I think later on some things happened that were unfortunate, but I’m sure Mario still has a place in his heart for him,” said Paul Coffey, the Hall of Fame defenseman. “As good as Mario was and is, you still need a supporting cast. Gretzky had Messier and Kurri and the rest of us. You can’t win by yourself — and Jaromir was huge, a great hockey player.”
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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