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Jaromir Jagr was almost…an Edmonton Oiler?

Feb 22, 2012, 6:33 PM EDT

Jaromir Jagr Getty Images

With the Flyers in town to face the Oilers on Thursday, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal caught up with Jaromir Jagr to discuss how No. 68 once toyed with the idea of playing in Oil Country.

Shortly after Jagr left the New York Rangers in 2008, Edmonton came calling with the opportunity to play alongside good friend and Czech Republic teammate Ales Hemsky. But according to Jagr, he couldn’t break his word.

“When I got the offer from Edmonton I had already promised to go to [Avangard] Omsk,” said Jagr,who went on to play three years for the Siberian-based KHL team. “You know how it is, you don’t want to break a promise. Sometimes once you break something, it can hurt you later. It was only a matter of days, one or two, before I was going to be going to Russia.”

Jagr said he took Edmonton’s offer seriously and was intrigued by joining a team that featured youngsters like Hemsky (25 at the time), Andrew Cogliano (21), Ladislav Smid (22), Kyle Brodziak (24), Tom Gilbert (26) and Dustin Penner (26).

“I was interested. I talked to [GM] Kevin Lowe,” Jagr said. “They had a new owner. They had a young, good team. It just didn’t happen.

“I thought I was too old to change [NHL] teams after playing for the Rangers and I told the Omsk organization if I didn’t go back to New York, I would sign in Russia.”

As for Hemsky — who has been bandied about in plenty of trade talk recently — Jagr was highly complimentary of his good buddy.

“He’s got talent, if he goes to a different team, it would be like a new start,” he explained. “Maybe he could get 100 points. He’s that skilled.

“Sometimes staying in one place won’t help players. Maybe that’s what he needs.”

  1. murtdurt - Feb 22, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Wait this guy doesnt want to break promises yet he promised Lemieux when he was in Russia if he ever came back to the NHL it would be with the Penguins because he ‘owed’ it to Mario?? I smell a hypocrite…

    • stakex - Feb 22, 2012 at 11:04 PM

      Theres a pretty big difference between an off hand comment between friends, and actually agreeing to terms with a professional organization.

      No to mention Pittsburgh made it clear to Jagr he wasn’t all that important to them. It was looking like Jagr was going to be a 3rd or 4th line throw away with the Pens. The Flyers on the other hand offered him a spot on their top line along side one of the best young players in the league, three times the money, and a chance to play in the Winter Classic. I’m sure when Jagr made that “promis” to Lemieux he didn’t expect the Pens to make such a bad offer to him, and he probably didn’t expect such a great offer to come from another team.

  2. atwatercrushesokoye - Feb 22, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Edmonton wears orange and blue, they got rid of the copper….still ugly either way…and especially ugly when they’re hammering the Flames!

  3. blomfeld - Feb 22, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    EASTERN PROMISES …

    Yeah right … and in an unrelated story, Leonardo Da Vinci once “toyed” with the idea of signing on with AC Milan …

  4. mrskunitzdrippinlips - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    jagr is the worst player involved in the nhl. please retire you were a hack in the 90s and an even bigger one now. what an embarassment

    • dmacirish - Feb 23, 2012 at 8:06 AM

      trollin, trollin, trollin – just keep on trollin. i honestly cant read any article that is either about a flyers player or the flyers franchise (like that it was for you) without your douche bag comments appearing. you know i once heard that the more the guy complained about all the fat girls, the more he was actually in love with fat girls. wondering if the flyers are your dream team.

  5. mrskunitzdrippinlips - Feb 23, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    there might have been a chance of me liking the filthi flyers but they traded all of their talent away. they are terrible. couple of hack goalies mix well with that hack jagr. hackadelphia 2012

    • dmacirish - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      hey douche – “hack” jagr has more points then your boyfriend Kunitz even though he has played 10 less games then him. hmmm…. wierd. hope your boys are cleaning their golf clubs off, spring is coming and i kind of have a feeling pittsburgh is not going to be in this for the long run.

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