Blog Entry

Jagr talks Pittsburgh return, Penguins fans

Posted on: December 28, 2011 10:15 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 10:16 pm

By: Adam Gretz

Jaromir Jagr is going to make his first appearance in Pittsburgh as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Penguins' chief rival, on Thursday night, and he knows he's going to be walking into a hostile environment (well ... as hostile as the Consol Energy Center can be).

Jagr, of course, spent 11 seasons as a member of the Penguins and helped the franchise win its first two Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992, while he also won five scoring titles and an MVP award during his time. He's still the second best player in franchise history.

He was eventually traded to the Washington Capitals following the 2000-01 season for the uninspiring return of forwards Kris Beech and Michal Sivek, as well as defenseman Ross Lupaschuk. The trio scored a combined 13 goals for the Penguins. Jagr has since scored 218, including his 11 this season as a member of the Flyers. During his many returns to Pittsburgh over the years while playing for the Capitals and Rangers, he heard plenty of boos whenever the puck was on his stick. Not necessarily because he no longer played for the Penguins (though that was surely part of it), but for the manner in which he exited (the words "dying alive" were used).

This past summer when it was believed that Jagr may be interested in returning to the Penguins, as had been rumored multiple times during his three-year stay in Russia, Penguins fans and the Pittsburgh (and national) media were captivated with the free agency pursuit and the potential for him to return to the Penguins and finish his Hall of Fame career with the team that it started with. And then everything hit the proverbial fan when Jagr not only didn't sign with the Penguins, he signed with their hated cross-state and divisional rivals.

Jagr addressed the media on Wednesday and talked about his return, and didn't always take kindly to some of the questions he received from the Pittsburgh media, much of which was left off the NHL video posted above. When asked how he felt he was going to be received by the Pittsburgh fans, he responded with, via the Post-Gazette, "What kind of question is this? Everybody knows how I’m going to be received." When asked how he has fit in with the Flyers so far he added, "I don't know, you tell me"

In an interview with Flyers beat writer Anthony Sanfilippo he was quite candid when talking about the Penguins fans, and how he simply can't comprehend the amount of dislike and anger they now have for him, even taking a page out of the Ilya Bryzgalov "just be happy" school of thought.

Said Jagr, “I just don’t understand one thing when I read it. How, in a situation like that, can there be so much bad attitude and anger from those people? I don’t get it. What kind of world are we in right now? That’s (bleeping) scary. We should be in a world with a lot of love. Instead there’s one guy, who is 40 years old, who is almost done, and he’s causing all that (animosity) over hockey? My brain just doesn’t understand that."

There's never a lot of love when the Penguins and Flyers face off, and that's probably not going to change on Thursday -- on the ice or in the stands. Especially the first time Jagr touches the ice and the puck.

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Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: December 29, 2011 2:56 pm

Jagr talks Pittsburgh return, Penguins fans

I'm a Pens fan and i have no issue with Jagr. He made the same decision most people in America would have made. He won 2 Cups with the Pens and decided that it was time to cash in. Players owe NOTHING to the fans and nothing to the franchise. The Pens woulda kicked Jagr (or in the future possibly Sid) to the curb when they are no longer viable options for the $$$ they want. So if a team has no loyalty why should a player? Jagr will be the 2nd or 3rd best player in franchise history depending on how Sid's future pans out. I'll boo him because he is a Flyer though, not because of what he did a decade ago...


Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:29 pm

Jagr talks Pittsburgh return, Penguins fans

Jagr lied to, and quit on the franchise, and he can't figure out why he is booed?

Since: May 19, 2008
Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:55 am

Jagr talks Pittsburgh return, Penguins fans

You have to love jagr trying to come off as the good guy here. Yeah, that's just what you want to do as an your future on a immature, selfish, money hungry player that wants to leave town as soon as possible! F him! No possible way he plays a full season in Philly anyway.

Since: Sep 11, 2007
Posted on: December 29, 2011 3:13 am

Jagr talks Pittsburgh return, Penguins fans

Jaromir does not understand for many sports fans all over the world their emotional attachment to their team is close to if not the same and sometimes stronger than their attatchment to their spouse and children.  A great deal of personal ego ands civic pride for your team and hating their historic rivas.  It may not be rational but emotions rarely are.  I am not a Pens or Flyers fan but growing up in Los Angeles I know the heated Dodgers/Giants and Lakers/Celtics rivalries.  I will admit I am not rational about the rivalries but I accept it as human nature.

Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: December 28, 2011 11:35 pm

Jagr talks Pittsburgh return, Penguins fans

Jagr---Well, that's true.  It is a simple and stupid thing to boo you when you come to our ice.  I agree.  Max Talbot will getting a standing Ovation for being a top notch person who showed respect and dignity in our city.  You were young and (not being prejudice here) from another country with no idea of how to take on the tremendous responsiblility of being an American Icon behind Mario.  That's a tall order for anyone.  You played iwth heart while you were here once you grew up.  Mario and the organization molded you into an NHL player.  I think Pittsburgh just wanted you to come back more so to say thank you and that we understood your immaturity and pressure at the time.  Instead, you went money.  That's the state of the world.  Money.  That is why you will be booed.  We wanted to embrace you and forgive and give you the chance to see that we absolutely loved youwhile you were here.  And we felt like it was rubbed in our faces.  You re just a person with feelings and so are we.  You're just a person with more money than Pittsburgh offered. We thought you wanted our respect and love.  Oh well.  Enjoy the end of your career.  I hope your jersey will be raised somewhere someday.  It just won't be here.  (ANd that's not a smart a remark).

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