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Apparently Tyler Kennedy prevented Jagr’s return to Pittsburgh

Dec 29, 2011, 8:33 AM EDT

Tyler Kennedy Getty Images

Jaromir Jagr‘s first trip to Pittsburgh as a member of the Flyers is turning into a history lesson.

While Jagr bristled about the icy reception he’ll likely get tonight, he discussed more openly how his failed negotiations with the Penguins went this summer. If there are any Pens fans upset that Jagr spurned Pittsburgh for Philadelphia, they’ll be happy to know that it’s apparently all Tyler Kennedy‘s fault. Dave Isaac of Philly Sports Daily has the details.

“When the GM tells you we have to sign [Tyler] Kennedy first and Kennedy is playing the third or fourth line … Just go and look for [the] GM a month before I was a free agent, and it’s going to tell you a lot. It’ll tell you if they wanted me or not.”

If it sounds like a funky brand of sour grapes, it really isn’t. Think back to this summer when Pens GM Ray Shero made it clear that their interest in Jagr was minimal until they gave into the attention Jagr’s return generated and made him an offer he could easily refuse.

Of course, Jagr also said Shero told him that he wouldn’t be playing on a line with Sidney Crosby, so you can see why the Pens offer wasn’t all that thrilling. That’s not going to help quiet the fans down tonight. Seeing Jagr on the ice at the same time as Kennedy might get a little awkward.

  1. abrienza428 - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Well of course he wouldn’t play with Crosby. Nobody would!
    In all seriousness, you can’t blame Jagr for signing with Philadelphia based on the hockey reasons he gave. He felt it to be a better fit, and so far it looks like he was right. Penguins fans are upset about the manner in which he handled it.

  2. miketoasty - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Jagr is mad that you have a “3rd” liner (Could arguably play on the 2nd or maybe a 1st line filler on other teams), entering his prime, being signed over him? A 39 year old, who may or may not show up every night, and who hasn’t played in the NHL for a couple years? Okay, that makes sense….

    Also, he doesn’t get to play with Crosby? What’s wrong with Malkin that makes him so bad to play with? He’s only close to leading the league in scoring with a makeshift team plagued with injury’s.

    • somekat - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:20 AM

      If Kennedy reaches his full potential, doesn’t have any big injuries or setbacks, and keeps up and improves his work ethic…..maybe one days he’ll be 1/10th the player Jagr is

      Of course everyone wants to play with Malkin, that is why everyone is always rushing to sign there to play on a line with….oh, wait, nevermind

      • miketoasty - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:53 AM

        1/10th the player Jagr *was*. Jagr is playing on a line with one of the best center’s in the league (Maybe the best with the absence of Crosby), and he is still only putting up mediocre numbers (Only 2 more goals than Talbot, playing with lesser players and is also more of a grinder).

        Not many people sign with Pittsburgh because they don’t have the money to dish out for players, between Malkin, Crosby, and Fleury they are spending nearly half of their cap space and still get the job done with what they have.

      • stakex - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:27 AM

        @miketoasty

        Mediocre numbers? Jagr has 30 points in 31 games, which is almost a point a game pace. I would hardly call that “mediocre”. Not to mention its a lot better scoring pace then Kennedy is on (17 points in 25 games). There really is no debate here. Even at the age of 39 Jagr is a far better player then Kennedy is at the age of 25. Without injury, its likely Jagr will have more points this year (again, while hes 39) then Kennedy will ever have in a season.

        As for Jagr being “mad” he wouldn’t be playing with Crosby, you have to look at it from Jagr’s point of view. Jagr still thinks hes a top player, and hes proving that he is with his play so far this season. So when Pit tells him that hes not going to play on the top line, and that a career 50 point a season 3rd liner (Kennedy) is more important to them… it probably didn’t sit well with him. Clearly the Pens just wanted to be able to stamp Jagr’s name on jerseys and sell them while giving him minimal playing time on the 3rd/4th line. Then comes the Flyers offering him three times the money, a spot on the top line, and a chance to play with arguably the best center in the NHL. Who could possibly blame him for making the choice he did?

  3. napoleonblownapart6887 - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    Hit the nail on the head here, Shero had other priorities outside of Double J.

    I’m one of the few Pens fans who seems to remember what a powerhouse Jagr was for our team and, despite his surly attitude some times, I still hold him in very high esteem. With that said, the notion that Jagr should be “insulted” that we would sign TK (and Steve Sullivan as well – let’s not forget that we didn’t just take all of the money we would have given to Jagr and gave it to TK) is kind of silly.

    Sack up, take your lumps from the crowd (despite the fact that, again I don’t think he deserves them), and move on. When you go to a hated rival you have to expect that.

  4. jpelle82 - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    i dont see why pens fans would boo jagr. all that he brought to the franchise should bring applause. i for one am just glad to see him back in the nhl. he is still one of my favorite players of all time, whether he plays for philly or not. until he scores a game winner in game 7 in the east finals against us i will always love jags :)

    • psujay - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:39 PM

      How would you feel if you were the second best player in the world, and also the second best on your team. Once the best player in the world has to retire, the “fans” in Pittsburgh stop showing up to watch you play, after all you’ve given them. Then, when you return to Pittsburgh later in your career, after 5 scoring titles and two Stanley Cups, they boo you out of the building.

      Really, really shocking he doesn’t feel a debt of gratitude to fans who didn’t show up when he was winning scoring titles that later booed him for leaving to play in front of…well, more fans who didn’t show up in Washington. No wonder he’s loving Philly and had good things to say about NYC. After those two experiences he finally is getting some love.

  5. greenmtnboy31 - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    The Flyers are better than Pittsburgh and Jagr made the right decision, period.

    • jpelle82 - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      please give your reasons for believing the flyers are better…because the stats show otherwise.

      Both sit at 46 pts…

      Pit Phi
      GA – 93 GA – 104
      GF – 115 GF – 119
      PP – 20% PP – 19.14%
      PK – 88% PK – 82%
      PPG – 30 PPG – 31
      PPGA – 15 PPGA – 29
      SHGF – 4 SHGF – 3
      SHGA – 2 SHGA – 4

      • trigzter - Dec 29, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        some nice stats there. who won the last game though? oh yeah the flyers

      • danphipps01 - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:37 PM

        The last game, eh? Who cares? The Rangers lost their last game to the Capitals. Doesn’t mean the Capitals aren’t a substantially worse team than the Rangers this year. One game’s just hiding behind small sample sizes. Numbers talk.

  6. govtminion - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    I think it’s worth pointing out that Tyler Kennedy might be a third line player, but that speaks to how good the Pens are on the top two lines. On at least half of the league’s teams, he’d easily be one of the top two lines. This isn’t some slouch forward we’re dealing with here- frankly, at this point in their respective careers, I’d have taken Kennedy over Jagr as well.

    • psujay - Dec 29, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      This simply isn’t true.

      • miketoasty - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:38 PM

        And you reasoning for believing that? Kennedy plays 3rd line minutes and still scores 20 goals a season.

      • abrienza428 - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:51 PM

        He scored 20 goals once (last season) and is currently on pace for like 10 goals. Don’t get me wrong, I like Kennedy, but he is definitely a 3rd liner. Nothing wrong with that either.

  7. har21441 - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    I have nothing but respect for Jagr’s time here, but for all of the raw goal scoring and playmaking talent he had, he lacked in leadership, dedication, and discipline (similar to Mike Richards time in Philly) Pittsburgh has never truly embraced athletes that lack these characteristics, plus Jagr begging be to be traded (I believe the line he gave was that he was “dying alive” here in Pittsburgh) only helped to fan the flames. Pitt has not been loose with money on FA signings, and was not going to mortgage the future to bring back a 40 year old that was out of the league for two seasons.

    Also – one stat missing from above:
    Pit – Phi
    Stanley Cups since 1975 – 3 – 1

    • psujay - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:28 AM

      Also missing
      Bankruptcies
      Pit 3 Philly 0

      Times “earning” the #1 pick
      Pittsburgh: 3
      Philly 0

      • jpelle82 - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:39 PM

        psu huh? you rep child molestation?

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