Jaromir Jagr seemed to have had most of those in the hockey world fooled into thinking that his return had something to do with wanting to win another Stanley Cup, or retire as a Penguin, or a combination of the two.
More money? Nothing to do with it.
Jagr was interested in joining only a select few teams. Namely the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins. And both of those moves bad sense if landing another Cup was the driving force behind the return to the NHL after three years in Russia.
$3.3 million later, and Jaromir Jagr is a Philadelphia Flyer.
So I'll ask again: You didn't really believe that this was about anything besides money, did you?
Both the Penguins and the Red Wings officially withdrew interest, refusing to wear masks to this masquerade after Jagr and his agent Petr Svoboda opened the floodgates for a bidding war at the last second.
Right up until that point, the duo were peddling crap like this to Ray Shero and the Penguins.
Maybe it's more appropriate to say that his heart was always in Pennsylvania. Same state. Different team. A rival, in fact. Jagr going turncoat may or may not be relevant to Penguins fans. I couldn't say for sure, since I'm not one of them.
But what is clear to me is that Jagr never had any other intention outside of creating a three- ring circus for himself. One last dash for cash. Because if this wasn't about money, Jags could have taken a healthy $2 million offer from the Penguins and played alongside Sidney Crosby and possibly made an impact.
He opted, instead, to sign on for an extra million dollars with a cross state rival that is in some kind of odd rebuild-on-the-fly mode. Now Flyers fans have to deal with the fact that management traded away the soul of the team, and has since replaced it with an aging and enigmatic Russian netminder and an aging and enigmatic European winger.
I can't see that going over well in Philly.
Perhaps it is just me, but this whole three-act drama seems mildly classless. Going all Brett Favre isn't a good way to maintain a legacy. And sure, some people would argue that the game isn't about legacy. And that would be fine and dandy.
But Jagr gave us all the impression that it was about a legacy. That it was about another Cup and retiring a Penguin.
And in doing so he veiled the fact that this was about cash and making some headlines. I don't know the guy personally, and odds are you don't either. But to view this as anything outside of headline grabbing and a landing some cash is silly.
If he had only stated his intention to return to the NHL on July 1, and then fielded phone calls and taken the highest offer then this wouldn't have been a big deal.
Instead, Jagr had his agent contact a select few teams that he was only interested in playing for. And it all went down hill from there. It doesn't take a hockey scientist to see the motivation in his choice. There's a banker in Czechoslovakia somewhere counting them one by one, and depositing them directly into Jagr's account.
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