Here’s my final take on the Jagr situation for this summer because I’m sick of talking about it: He didn’t owe Pittsburgh anything.
The Jagr situation got blown out of proportion from the Pittsburgh fan base for two reasons:
1. Jagr’s agent saying “Jagr’s heart is in Pittsburgh.” We never heard Jagr say that and Svoboda said a lot of things during the process that had no merit.
2. The Media, most notably a local report Thursday morning saying that there was a handshake deal in place with the Penguins, something the Penguins and Jagr have denied.
Those two factors have made Jagr look worse in this situation than maybe he should have.
Jagr today in a conference call, denied to reporters that there was ever the so-called “reported” handshake deal in place and he said that he only spoke to Mario Lemieux once during the process, which was believed to be early last week.
“I talked to him {Mario} once, Jagr said. “Wasn’t for very long. He talked about the organization.” Jagr said he made no promises to Mario that he would be back.
“I didn’t promise anybody anything, ” Jagr said. “If the Pittsburgh Penguins feel like I something wrong or something bad, I don’t think I did something wrong.”
“I still had a chance to go wherever I wanted, ” Jagr said. “I was a free agent and I had the option to pick. If somebody wants you or they’re telling you that they would like you to be on their team, {Pittsburgh}, that doesn’t mean that’s where you have to go”
“If I hurt somebody, I apologize, ” Jagr said. I want people to understand that, this is my life.”
I have to agree with Jaromir on this. Just because everyone told him to go to Pittsburgh, doesn’t mean he had to. It’s his life and he really didn’t owe Pittsburgh anything during this process.
He had the option to play anywhere he wanted and he picked Philadelphia.
The money factor is coming into play and that’s where Jagr’s getting hit hard by fans. Maybe it was a big part (probably was), maybe it wasn’t. So what!
Most people seem to think he was obligated to take Pittsburgh’s $2 million a year offer, just because of his previous ties with the organization, which go back 10 years ago.
A lot of people also seem to bring up Jagr telling reporters over three years ago that he would play for Mario at the league minimum. That was just Jaromir being Jaromir and trying to make some headlines. No one should have ever took that seriously…. he’s a drama queen.
Another tidbit on the money factor: it should be noted that Jagr’s agent Petr Svoboda never went to the Penguins asking for more money and GM Ray Shero confirmed that on Friday during his press conference.
Just maybe Jagr didn’t see Pittsburgh as a the best fit after all, for whatever reasons.