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Not being on Pittsburgh’s powerplay was a sticking point for Jagr, apparently

Dec 29, 2011, 1:57 PM EDT

Jaromir Jagr Getty Images

After yesterday’s less-than-cordial press scrum, not many expected Jaromir Jagr to speak today following the pregame skate. But speak is exactly what Jagr did. And how!

No. 68 went into great detail about why he chose to sign in Philadelphia — or, more accurately, why he chose not to sign in Pittsburgh. He also talked about his relationship with Mario Lemieux and how his negotiations with the Penguins were put on hold so they could extend Tyler Kennedy (also, what he read into that.)

But the best part of today’s scrum was when Jagr talked about Pittsburgh’s powerplay.

From the Post-Gazette:

Q: What about helping the Penguins’ power play?

A: I didn’t think I would get on the powerplay. That’s the way I felt. I didn’t know how I was going to play. I have some confidence in [myself] that I’m not going to be that bad. And in Philly there was a totally different team. There was a new team with a lot of young guys. Nobody had anything guaranteed. Here, that’s a different story. Everybody’s been together for probably five, six years, they won the [Stanley] Cup together. The lines are set up. I don’t think I would have had a chance to play – at least, the way I wanted to play.

Q: Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said that you would have played on the powerplay.

A: When did he say that?

Q: One time was yesterday.

A: Oh, yesterday. Oh. I had to make a decision three months ago.

Q: Bylsma also said that about a month ago.

A: A month ago. Yeah. But what about four months ago?

Jagr’s trying to be an open book about the whole spurning-Pittsburgh-for-Philly thing, which is admirable. Most players wouldn’t go into such detail explaining the choices they’ve made…but then again, most players don’t find themselves in Jagr’s situation.

That said — does anybody really think Jagr wouldn’t have (or believed he wouldn’t have) been on Pittsburgh’s power play?

  1. har21441 - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    all of these Jagr comments are reinforcing the belief that he is still all about his ego and nothing about team.

    I would have signed but I would not be on the power play.
    I would have signed but they wanted to sign a third liner first.
    I would have signed but I would not have played on Crosby’s line.

    Typical Me First Jagr attitude. Also – I can understand why Pittsburgh would not commit to any of the above until he’s signed and practiced given his propensity to tantrum.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:32 PM

      So… you a Caps fan, or a Pens fan?

  2. cakrywyj - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Ehh… Since he signed here in Philly.. He’s been anything but me first.. He’s also produced more than I expected… Can’t wait for this game to be over so maybe we can stop hearing about why he didn’t go to Pitt… But we prob won’t

  3. govtminion - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Jagr is 100% right- he wouldn’t have been in on the power play. I’m not a Pens fan, but I can at least admit (much as he did here) that he wouldn’t have muscled his way onto a setup that featured players like what they already are putting out on the power play. Unless the Penguins suffer injury bugs the way they did last year (Crosby aside), he’d have to work his ass off to get put in on the power play unit. Philly? Not that their team was BAD, mind you, but having traded away Richards and Carter, there were holes in the 5-on-5 and PP units for him to plug.

    From THIS standpoint, yeah, I think he made the right choice. It’s some of the other stuff he’s pulling out- like saying he doesn’t understand Pens fans being angry- that I take issue with.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:35 PM

      In fairness, given the injuries they’ve had and the at-times-dicey PP production, he almost certainly could have played his way onto it in short order. But nobody knew that back then. All they knew was that the Penguins were an absurdly deep roster and Jagr was a 39-year old who hadn’t played NHL hockey in three years. Fair enough for him to expect them not to run him on the power play.

  4. lsxphotog - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Jagr plays at a certain level that warrants some special treatment. You know he’s not going to be on the bump for the minors. You know he’s going to put up numbers and make plays, and you know he will make at least his line better. Jagr had all the options he could ever want when he returned to the league so why would he sell himself short and choose a team – like he said- is already established and didn’t need a shake-up in the lines. The Flyers shook their entire roster up over the summer so they were expecting a fresh start this season and now he’s playing first line with Giroux and Hartnell. Giroux is arguable the best player in the league next to Stamkos and Towes IMO.

    I am quite pleased he didn’t go there, honestly. I haven’t liked the Penguins since he left and I look to keep it that way. :-) haha jk My family is from Philly, so I don’t feel too bad when I root for Jags and G to score.

  5. Stiller43 - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Who would he knock out from the top line (when healthy)?

    Malkin? No
    Croz? No
    James neal who’s been on fire? No
    Kunitz who provides net front presence? No
    Letang as the only defender on the unit? No…

    Maybe he’s okay on the flyers where they don’t have as much talent…

    • bjg5091 - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:54 PM

      You make it sound like the Flyers power play sucks. It is 0.9% worse than Penguins. And just like how they are without Crosby, the Flyers are without Pronger who is their main PP player also.

    • danphipps01 - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:07 PM

      Why would he have to knock Crosby off? Crosby seems to have done a fine job of it himself.

  6. har21441 - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Remember, when jagr watch was on, there was specific talk in media interviews that jagr would help improve the power play that out right sucked last season. Neal, who also sucked last season was not a definite spot on the PP. and jagr on the half wall on the PP is his specialty. Sid, geno, jagr, letang and Kunitz/Neal? Again – typical jagr. And maybe he has not yet acted out in Philly, but they are winning. Jagr was no problem when we were winning championships – it was the rough years when he really started the act

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