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Jagr’s Kick to the Gut Lowlight to Pens’ Free Agency Day 1

And here I thought July 1st might be sorta anti-climatic for Penguins fans.

Sorry for the lack of opinion-based posts over the summer. Between work and being on the road every weekend for my son’s baseball tournaments at various colleges, it’s been hectic to say the least.  Was supposed to be on the road again this weekend at the University of Virginia, but we cancelled out of that, so all of a sudden, I was free for July 1st!

And as it turned out, July 1, 2011 for Penguins fans turned into a bizarre, incredulous day.


It started out fairly regular leading up to the commencement of free agency, as just before noon the Penguins and Tyler Kennedy agreed on a two-year, $4 million dollar deal.  As we quickly saw over the course of Friday, 2 million dollars a year for Tyler Kennedy was downright highway robbery if you compare it to some of the other deals for forwards made.  I mean, $4.5 per year for both Tomas Fleischmann and Ville Leino?  Good players, but, really?  But back to Kennedy, I still believe that Kennedy’s 21 goals last year is going to turn out to be an aberration.  As GMRS stated later in his press conference, Kennedy could have pushed for more money, which would have pushed his ass out of town.  But as several others now have done, he took less money to remain in Pittsburgh.  I’ll give him props for that.

Then the fun started.

Penguins fans had been passengers on a roller coaster of emotions all throughout the week as JagrWatch reached a pinnacle level.  One day it seemed almost a certainty that Jagr would be back in Black and Gold, another day there were doubts.  His agent throwing what turned out to be bullshit quotes like “Jaromir’s heart is still in Pittsburgh” and “he owes Mario everything”.  Reports eventually came out that Lemieux had told his associates that basically an agreement was in place.  Then, the bizarre flight from the Czech Republic.  Was he in New York, was he in Wimbledon, was he flying to Pittsburgh?  Turtles in the runway, literally thousands of Penguins fans tracking flights into New York and Pittsburgh, dozens of fans staking the Pittsburgh airport, what the hell is going on?

Still, with all that, as Friday came Penguins fans for the most part were cautiously optimistic.  But at 11:35am, the Penguins announced they had withdrawn their offer to Jagr.  Soon thereafter, the Red Wings followed suit.  Up until that point, most of the discussion, other than the Pens and Red Wings, had the Canadiens as the 3rd team in the Jagr sweepstakes.  However, suddenly a couple of hours into free agency, the bomb dropped on Twitter that Jagr had signed a one year deal with….. the Philadelphia Flyers.

Excuse me, but, the Flyers?


Geezus Jags.  Sign with the Caps, sign with the Rangers, anybody but the Flyers!

As it turned out, Jagr signed with the Flyers for one year, $3.3 million.  That’s reportedly $1.3 million more than the Penguins offered, about 800K more than the Wings.  But let’s put this into perspective, courtesy of Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Josh Yohe:

JoshYohe_Trib Josh Yohe
Jagr picked Philly’s offer of $3.3 million over the Pens’ offer of $2 million. It’s a difference of $1.3 million…

JoshYohe_Trib Josh Yohe
Sid plays for $8.7 million when he could have requested the maximum of $10 per season. A difference of ... $1.3 million
12 hours ago

JoshYohe_Trib Josh Yohe

What Sid gives up every year, Jagr took at 39 while subsequently selling his soul to the hockey devil

12 hours ago

So after Jagr collectively gave a swift kick to the gut to Penguins fans, that was merely the first blow, as soon thereafter Game7herobuthasn’tdoneshitsince Max Talbot signed a five-year, $9 million contract with….. THE PHILADELPHIA FLYERS.

Now hold on for one damn second.  Max Talbot, he of the “Sssshhhhhh” after getting his ass kicked in Game 6 by Dan Carcillo in Philadelphia?  Talbot, he of the whopping 10 goals over the last two seasons, got a five-year deal, and to THE FLYERS?

But let’s get real here, folks.  As I’ve said over and over again over the past two years, Talbot will milk those two goals in Game 7 in Detroit on June 12, 2009 for the rest of his career.  Perhaps his grit and penalty killing skills will be more appreciated in another city, especially one that desires more players like that.  But on a team with several players with those similar skills in the Penguins, not to mention a team that needs more offense that Talbot simply cannot provide, his salary demands overcame his overall value to the team.

Anyway, I’ve read numerous Penguins fans spewing how the Consol Energy Center will be rocking on December 29th, when the Jagr/Talbot tandem will face the Penguins for the first time in Pittsburgh.  While I’d love to see it, I’m not getting my hopes up.  No, I’m not a season ticket holder at the CEC, but in the times I was in there last year, I found that the CEC did not yet match the Igloo in terms of intensity.  Oh sure, there’ll be booing, but if you want to talk “intensity”, I frankly haven’t seen it from the CEC crowd just yet in its infancy.

We later learned rugged forward/enforcer Mike Rupp signed with the Rangers for three years.  While it’s tough to lose Rupp, the Penguins have adequate enforcer replacements in Asham and Engelland.  I’m not that concerned about this one.

Speaking of offense, GMRS made his first UFA signing of the day, inking veteran Nashville Predator forward Steve Sullivan.  Sullivan


be the scoring winger that GMRS has been looking for, scoring over 20 goals seven times.  He also


be an asset on the Penguins’ woeful powerplay, especially as a right-hand shot.  But Sullivan’s problem in recent years has been his inability to stay healthy.  He’s suffered back and groin injuries in the recent past that certainly make his signing have a legitimate question mark.  GMRS indicates that his back injuries are a thing of the past.  We shall see about that.

The Penguins wrapped up the day signing AHL forward Colin McDonald.  McDonald led the AHL with 42 goals last season, but many feel that that goal total was due to having Alexandre Giroux and Brad Moran as linemates.  Again, we shall see.

So what else should GMRS have up his sleeve?  With grit losses of Talbot and Rupp, I wouldn’t be surprised to see over the next few days the signing of a relatively cheap ham-n-egger, and after RFA Dustin Jeffrey is signed, that’ll be about it.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins



Everyone needs a break, we’re just glad to have you back.

Yesterday definitely was anti-climactic, the draft too, but I’m thinking we should all learn to expect that from Shero at this point.  The only splashes that were made yesterday were nightmares of contracts with way too much money and term so I’m very glad we didn’t wind up a suitor for Upshall or Fleischmann at their exorbitant rates.

TK was certainly highway robbery if Mike Rupp got 1.5. Shero just simply won’t overpay, he was more concerned with avoiding arbitration than retaining TK’s RFA rights for one example, and in a year or two these non-moves will shift from boring to why we love him so much.  God damn if he didn’t luck out investing in UFAs last summer.

Also Shero was asked in his presser yesterday about adding grit and said he felt we were somewhat comfortable there already.  Maybe that means some of our gritty guys in WBS are nearing graduation, Vitale would be my best guess.

Posted by JBM on 07/02/11 at 12:46 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

I know Tony, it’s been crazy. But don’t worry buddy, we still got..well you know. I just wish it was october already.
BTW, good luck with your son’s baseball tourneys.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 07/02/11 at 04:03 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

Happy 4th Tony.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 07/04/11 at 04:15 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.

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