The Malik Report
Updated 3x with the full presser transcript at 2:49 PM: I truly hope that someone will post a full transcript of Jaromir Jagr’s conference call with the media on Saturday, because the Twitter updates regarding his commentary suggest that he quite literally broke the bull[expletive] meter while rationalizing his decision to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers for $3.3 million dollars, spurning both the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, as more aesthetically pleasing (because the Flyers have right-handed centers), somewhat selfless (more money was on the table from other teams…in…some league…) and absolutely, positively not the product of stringing anyone along or making false promises, as noted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe:
Jaromir Jagr is not apologizing for not signing with the Penguins: “I didn’t promise anybody anything,” Jagr said in a conference call Saturday. “If the Penguins feel like I did something wrong, you know, I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong. If they feel like that, I can’t change their minds.”
Jagr said he had a brief conversation with Penguins Mario Lemieux. When asked if his relationship with Lemieux was damage, Jagr did not give a specific answer: “I talked with him once,” Jagr said. “Wasn’t for very long. He talked about the organization. I didn’t talk with him since I left the NHL.”
The Detroit Red Wings made a calculated move in choosing to watch in Friday’s free agent frenzy from the sidelines, and they did so for good reason—by 3 PM on Friday, Wings GM Ken Holland’s decision to sign Jonathan Ericsson to a 3-year contract extension at $3.25 million dollars per season (as it turns out, per Capgeek.com, there’s a modified no-trade clause in there) seemed downright sane, if not cautious, given the marketplace values established by GM’s who spent money like it had an expiration date and/or was on fire.
Blink. Paul, Alanah and I worked like a well-oiled machine on Friday, coordinating our schedules down to the, “I’m going to get food” or, “Restroom break, boss?” minute, grinding out what looks like…somewhere north of 80 signings and/or entries over the course of about ten hours on the first day of UFA day, with a good forty of those entries coming over the first three hours thereof. I can’t say that it was delightful waking up after four hours of sleep to pull that kind of marathon, and Saturday will see at least another 20 guys sign, so this is definitely a working weekend, but it was fun to be part of a blogging machine.
I’ve already been pulling long days due to the Jaromir Jagr saga, and in all honesty, as soon as I read that his agent had approached the Penguins—never mind the rest of the dramatics—I didn’t want him to come to Detroit. I figured that his heart really was set on finishing his career with the Penguins, and, well, good for him. Trying to cover the Wings’ and Pens’ takes and the Czech press’s interviews after that point, about a week-and-a-half ago, was just about being thorough. But through those translations, I met someone who I can now best describe as a character from Dr. Strangelove made real in his agent, Petr Svoboda.
Aside from recruiting Mike Commodore to join the team as a depth defenseman, the Red Wings chose not to engage in the free agency shenanigans on July 1st, and their first decision, aside from choosing to re-sign Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller, involved bowing out of the Jaromir Jagr sweepstakes, as noted by the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
The Wings offered Jagr $2.5 million nearly a month ago, then waited around while his agent, Petr Svoboda, used it to entice other teams to make higher offers. As of earlier this week none had materialized; the Penguins topped out at $2.1 million for the former five-time NHL scoring champion.
When Svoboda made demands early Friday morning in the $4-million range, Wings general manager Ken Holland told him Detroit was out of the sweepstakes. The Penguins also withdrew their offer.
Ultimately Jagr signed with the Philadelphia Flyers — the in-state rival of his foremost former team, Pittsburgh — for one year and $3.3 million.
And if Holland is to be believed with players like Ian White, Anton Babchuk, Sami Lepisto, Tomas Kaberle and Bryan McCabe still available (as of the time I’m writing this, anyway), it sounds like the Wings might not make any additions for a while, as Holland suggested to the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness:
This was mentioned by the Red Wings’ press corps regarding the team’s signing of Mike Commodore to a 1-year, $1 million contract, but given that somewhere around 40 players of note found new homes today, ESPN’s Scott Burnside posits a story worth repeating: Commodore received a call from his agent, informing Commodore that the Red Wings would give him fifteen minutes to decide whether he wished to join the team:
“I was like, oh my God,” Commodore told ESPN.com Friday night.
“I was just kind of sitting there in my truck,” Commodore said. “It happened fast.”
About a minute later, he came up with his answer. Heck yeah, he’s going to Detroit.
“Obviously, it was a no-brainer,” said Commodore, who earlier in the day was bought out of the final two years of his contract by the Blue Jackets.
Given that Commodore spent the latter part of the 2010-2011 season in the AHL, he’s quite happy to be a good soldier…
Updated 8x at 6:48 PM: Well, then. Ronald McDonald’s headed to Detroit, as he himself insinuated on Twitter—repeatedly:
The Red Wings have agreed to terms with @commie22 on a one-year deal.
That’s Mike Commodore, who was bought out by Columbus.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie says one year, one million:
As per @GMillerTSN, one year, $1M for Mike Commodore in Detroit.
I guess he and Mike Babcock will bury the hatchet….
Update: As Nicholas J. Cotsonika suggests...
Good value for Red Wings getting D Mike Commodore for one year at $1 million. He’ll be motivated to reestablish himself. Low price, risk.
The Production Line did call it, but more than a few of my Twitter pals suggested that Commodore himself was telling everyone within keyboard shot that he was coming here.
It’s not a big signing, but very cool in the former Red Wings department, per TSN’s Darren Dreger:
Derek Meech to Wpg. 2 way contract. $700 (nhl) $105 (ahl)
Meech is from Winnipeg, so he’s going home.
The #Flyers have agreed to a contract with free agent D Andreas Lilja and signed RW Jakub Voracek to a contract extension.
Update per Paul:
3 years 1,7 per for lilja, unbelievable
What Paul said!!!
Sorry, TSN’s McKenzie nixed that report.
Awesome, per the Sporting News’s Craig Custance:
Red Wings are also out on Jagr.
Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo Sports confirms:
As per @CraigCustance and @kausatoday, Red Wings are out on Jagr, too. Teams like Pens and Wings were going to take risk on their terms.
Update: Per the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press today that the Wings “are out on Jagr. We made an offer and he doesn’t want it, so we’re done.”
Update #2: Elegantly put, by FSD’s Art Regner:
Souces close to the team say Jagr’s camp was just too slow and too flighty, which tested the Red Wings’ patience.
Oh goody, again, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi: Jaromir Jagr remains undecided as to whether he’d be willing to sign with the Red Wings or Penguins:
General manager Ray Shero and his staff are in a meeting room at Consol Energy Center preparing for the start of NHL free agency at noon, but as of 10:45 a.m. they had not heard from Jaromir Jagr or his agent. The agent, Petr Svoboda, said that Jagr has not made a decision yet about which, if any, NHL team he will play for next season.
Jagr, 39, is likely to play in the NHL after spending three seasons in Russia, Svoboda has said. Svoboda described his morning as “very busy.” As for whether Jagr would made a decision today…
“I hope so,” Svoboda said, sounding weary.
Svoboda said Jagr remains in New York, and denied emphatically that Jagr was in or headed to Pittsburgh soon. The Penguins are one of “many teams” Svoboda said he has contacted about Jagr, and one of three known to make a one-year offer in the range of $2 million.The other teams to have made offers are Detroit and Montreal, and it is believed the Penguins` offer is the lowest, though Shero has said he believes it to be “competitive.”
Update: HOLY CRAP, per the Hockey News’s Adam Proteau:
Penguins withdraw offer to Jagr.
Shero: “we have decided to move in a different direction…never our intention to get involved in a free agent bidding war.”
The CBC’s Jeff Marek says it was a one-year, $2 mil deal.
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.