The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/30/11 at 08:02 PM ET
Updated 3x with Ray Shero at 7:02 PM: It gets curiouser and curiouser—or dumber and dumber. According to MLive’s Ansar Khan, Jaromir Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, continues to delay and deny any reports that his client might have his “heart in Pittsburgh,” Detroit or anywhere else, nor does he seem to have any intention to ask his client to make up mind in short order:
Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, said this afternoon that he’s still in talks with the Detroit Red Wings, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins and other teams, refuting a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the one-time NHL star had decided to sign with the Penguins.
“No decisions have been made,’’ Svoboda said. “We’re talking a lot. Nothing is going to happen before 6 p.m.’‘
Judging by how this saga has dragged on now for two weeks, there’s no guarantee anything will happen after 6 p.m., either.Asked if he anticipated a decision today, Svoboda said: “I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know.’‘
But, he added, “The Red Wings are obviously one team he wants to play for. There’s a chance (a decision) could come later today.’‘
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Dejean Kovacevic speaks for many of us when he says that this has gotten out of hand, and to the point where at least the Penguins—if not the Wings as well—might want to pass on a 39-year-old who’s acting like he’s 12:
[N]ow, Svoboda casually declares that a couple other teams have poked their heads into the hole and that a decision might not come today. Enough already.
[Penguins GM Ray] Shero and the Penguins stepped up, including Mario Lemieux, Dan Bylsma and everyone else involved in the process. Their offer, by all accounts, is fair — one year in the range of $2 million — and pretty much everything they have left under the cap while maintaining a contending team. They kept their word.
It`s time for Jagr to show whether or not he`s serious when he tells people “his heart is in Pittsburgh,” as Svoboda reiterated again this morning.
This isn`t that complicated.
Shero and the Penguins have to get about the serious business of hitting the ground running Friday at noon when the NHL`s free agency season begins. And they can`t afford to go one minute past 11:59 a.m. that day waiting for Jagr, Svoboda, other bidders or turtles.
And, via Paul, let’s just say that Red WIngs GM Ken Holland wasn’t delighted when speaking about Jagr’s act with NHL Live’s EJ Hradek this afternoon:
Mike Modano, who’s now telling the Dallas News’s Mike Heika that he wants to test the market, seems incredibly sane by comparison.
Update: Here’s all Holland had to say about the free agent class—and if Bob McKenzie’s right and the Sabres signed Ehrhoff for 10 years and $40 million (and TSN is confirming the numbers, which is scary) he doesn’t look dumb at all for choosing not to toss money at Ehrhoff or Wisniewski like it has an expiration date—to the AP’s Ira Podell:
“I don’t think there are a lot of stars that are free agents,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “But I think there are some players out there who can help.”
At this point, I think that we’re looking at Jovanovski, Barker, Souray, possibly Wisniewski if he hits the market, White or Kaberle, and that’s not ideal, but Holland’s looking to bolster the Wings’ blueline at a sane price, and the amounts of money and term players have been receiving thus far have been nothing less than insane.
Update #2: I was helping the aunt purchase a refrigerator, so here’s what Holland had to say to NHL Live, via the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, starting with Jagr’s status…
“Nothing has really changed,” Holland said. “I’ve continued to have ongoing dialogue, I guess, with his agent, and like I’ve said, we’ve expressed interest. I’m told he’s (Jagr) in North America, somewhere. Beyond that, nothing is really going on. Tomorrow, July 1, at noon, we’re going to try to make moves to improve our team.”
Here’s his update on the Wings’ UFA’s-to-be…
Holland said negotiations continue with defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and forwards Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller. Holland is hopeful deals can be worked out with those players, who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents Friday.
“I’d like to think the players we have would like to stay here, and we’d like to keep them,” Holland said. “We have to find a number we can all be happy about.”
And, again, Kris Draper and Chris Osgood won’t be offered contracts until the Wings have availed themselves of better options on the free agent market:
“I want to explore the market for a little bit in early July to see what is out there,” Holland said. “Certainly there’s a chance we will be re-signing them, but we owe it to the organization to explore the market because we have some money to spend. We’re trying to change our team a little bit if possible.”
If Wisniewski comes onto the market, I think the Wings will snap him up, but not for the sake of overpaying for his talents. Otherwise, it’s platooning two lesser lights to fill Rafalski’s spot and/or making a trade.
Update #3: On Ehrhoff, per Bob McKenzie:
Now confirmed: Ehrhoff’s deal with BUF is 10 years, $40 million, broken down as follows: #tsn
Year 1: $8M signing bonus, $2M salary; Year 2: $5M SB, $3M sal. That’s $18M in 1st 2 yrs, or $15M before puck drops on 12-13 season. #tsn
Year 3: $4M; Year 4: $4M, Year 5: $4M; Year 6: $4M; Year 7: $3M; Year 8; $1M; Year 9: $1M, Year 10: $1M. Modified NTC. Cap hit=$4M/yr. #tsn
And here’s a new Jagr story from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi:
Penguins general manager Ray Shero spoke with Jaromir Jagr’s agent around 5 p.m. today, but the team does not know if Jagr will accept a one-year offer for around $2 million to return. Shero said Jagr’s agent, Petr Svoboda, told him the Penguins “are very much in the mix.” Svoboda expected to speak with Jagr tonight, Shero said.
“He doesn’t want to force him into a decision,” Shero said of Svoboda. Shero said the Penguins’ offer to Jagr remains “on the table,” and that not hearing from Jagr tonight would not alter his hope of signing Jagr when the NHL free-agent period opens tomorrow.
“He’s not holding us hostage or anything,” Shero said, adding that he believes the Penguins can sign Jagr and keep right wing Tyler Kennedy given their salary-cap space. Shero said he never set a deadline of Wednesday for Jagr to accept an offer presented Tuesday after Shero spoke with Svoboda and Jagr.
“Petr thought the decision would be made by Wednesday; I never put a deadline on it,” Shero said. “I said that certainly us, and probably a lot of other teams, would want to know by the start of free agency – that I’d like to have an idea of what’s going on.”
“He could really push the envelope here if he wants, but he’s made it clear this is where he really wants to play,” Shero said. “Hopefully we can find something by tomorrow, whether it’s a one-, two- or three-year deal that makes sense. That’s what we’re trying to do now.”
Shero said he is hoping that Jagr has “meant what he’s said by wanting to do right by Mario (Lemieux).”
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