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Jagr Back to the Pens:  Why the Hell Not?

“What can you say about Jagr?  He’s unbelievable. He’s 39 but playing like a 20-year-old, flying on the ice. He’s so strong.”

That was Ottawa Senator and current Czech teammate Milan Michalek describing former Penguins great Jaromir Jagr after his hat trick propelled the Czech Republic to a 4-0 shutout of the United States yesterday.

But for as impressive it is to see Jagr still lighting it up, it only served as fuel for the speculation fire in Pittsburgh, as numerous outlets are reporting that the Pens want Jagr to participate in a summer golf outing that will serve as a quasi-reunion for the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Stanley Cup Champions.

Speculation is just that, but it’s inevitable that the question now becomes:  Will the Penguins offer Jagr the ultimate reconcilation and attempt to sign him for the 2011-2012 season?  If you ask me, I say why not?

Obviously, Jagr is no longer the same dazzling, mullet-haired youngster that raced up and down Mellon Arena to the tune of five Art Ross trophies and 646 NHL goals.  But he’s still not chop liver, even at his age (he’ll turn 40 next Feb. 15th).  Yesterday’s hat trick certainly showed that.

At the same time, there will be those in Penguins Nation that still harbor resentment towards Jagr, especially during his melodramatic “I’m dying alive” phase that eventually resulted in the extremely one-sided trade of Jagr to the Washington Capitals for the relative stiffs Kris Beech, Michal Sivek and Ross Lupaschuk in 2001.

There would also be a question on how much (or should I say, how low) of a salary Jagr would be willing to accept.  After all, this is a team that is salary cap-strapped year round.  It is true, though, that the Penguins have several unrestricted free agents.  The question would then become if Penguins management would take the chance on Jagr replacing one of those players, most of which would be classified as grinders.

And let’s face it, the Penguins are woefully deficient in scoring wingers and secondary scoring in general.  Are you gonna hope that Tyler Kennedy has another career year?  It’s not like GMRS hasn’t rolled the dice on aging forwards in the recent past, namely guys like Guerin, Kovalev, Ponikarovsky, Sykora, Roberts, Fedotenko and Satan.

So I say, if the salary damage is not bad, why not?

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  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

Comments

Avatar

Couple thoughts on that:

1- I would pay big money for that first game back.
2- I think any fan in Pittsburgh who booed Jagr would be cheering like crazy on opening night.
3- I really feel like Jagr would give 100%
4- As a long time penguins fan, Jagr really does deserve to end his career as a penguin.
5- Reality says he most likely would be playing third line role and PP… but who knows, maybe him and Malkin will create some magic.

GMRS should offer 2 years 4 million.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 05/12/11 at 11:54 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

the issue I have with Jagr is his Mental Stability & it’s effect on the “Room” not his Hockey Ability

Posted by Evilpens on 05/12/11 at 11:59 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

“What can you say about Jagr?  He’s unbelievable. He’s 39 but playing like a 20-year-old, flying on the ice. He’s so strong.”

He has also been playing in a pee wee league for two years.  If I were a Pens fan I’d be dead set against this, he is a known quitter and he is over the hill.  I’d be real interested to see how he’d do in the NHL now.  The league has gotten faster and stronger even since he left.  I think there are two options: (1) He accepts a Mike Modano/Red Wings role/paycheck, or (2) he stays the hell in Russia.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 05/12/11 at 01:18 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Speed was Never Jagr’s Game ! Strength along the boards & with Guys draped all over him was ? again my problem with Jags is his Mental Stability not Hockey Ability

Posted by Evilpens on 05/12/11 at 01:25 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

How could Jagr have a downside compared to Kovalev?

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 05/12/11 at 01:43 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

If you’re a Jagr fan, visit Prague. The guy could run for Prime Minister and win in a landslide. You can’t talk hockey with anyone and not talk Jagr. If he were to come back to the NHL, I’d personally like to see him w/ the Rangers, but only for the first exhibition game. They’re playing HC Sparta Praha. THAT is a game I’d love to see!

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/12/11 at 02:07 PM ET

Avatar

If we listen to Jags himself then money should be a non issue.  He’s already said he’d be willing to play for league minimum in a return to Pittsburgh because he feels he owes that much to Mario.

Of course he also said if he returns he’d consider going to Edmonton, because they were one of the few teams to show an interest, or an interest above an acceptable $ amount, but I don’t think many of us will hold our breath on that one.  Hell a few weeks ago there were rumors he’d be going to Montreal.

Ultimately I think Jagr just likes to talk and while he’s not being insincere when he says these things, he also isn’t really going to follow through.  It’s another year with Omsk or back to the Czech League imo, 39 is not gonna be the year to fool me into thinking he’ll return especially after these last two seasons.

Posted by JBM on 05/12/11 at 02:58 PM ET

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Just to be more clear, EDM was one of the few teams to show interest the offseason before he first wound up in Omsk that is

Posted by JBM on 05/12/11 at 03:00 PM ET

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Rossi’s just trying to drum up newspaper sales. The Hockey News talked to Shero and came away with the impression the Penguins/Jagr thing is about Golf, not hockey.

Posted by steviesteve on 05/12/11 at 03:49 PM ET

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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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