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Jagr: Canadiens were my first choice, but they weren’t interested

Jul 5, 2012, 12:57 PM EDT

Jaromir Jagr Getty Images

Newly acquired Dallas forward Jaromir Jagr conducted his introductory presser on Thursday and told reporters that coming to Texas wasn’t his first choice, surely thrilling the Stars in the process.

Dallas might not have even been his second choice.

As per’s Adam Kimelman, Jagr said his original goal was to play next season in Montreal, but the Canadiens weren’t interested in acquiring his services.

Not that this comes as a huge surprise. On Monday, TSN’s Darren Dreger first reported Jagr’s interest in Montreal, the same team that employs Czech countryman Tomas Plekanec. Jagr had also stated in the past his desire to play in Canada — especially in Montreal.

The Jagr-to-Habs development hit a snag, though, when it was learned the 4o-year-old wanted $4 million in salary, a price point apparently out of GM Marc Bergevin’s range (or comfort level.)

It turns out Montreal wasn’t the only team Jagr was looking at.

He also noted his former team, Philadelphia, could’ve been in the mix as well — but that possibility died when Flyers GM Paul Holmgren went silent after the season ended.

“If they really wanted me back I think they would probably make some kind of talk before free agency,” Jagr said. “Because they had a chance.”

Update: Here’s the full audio of Jagr’s conference call, if you feel like listening. The key quotes…

“I always wanted to play in Canada and I wanted to go to Montreal if I had a chance, but Montreal wasn’t interested. All of a sudden I got a phone call form Joe Nieuwendyk that Dallas was interested.

“After the season — even during the season — I thought I would re-sign in Philadelphia, but I guess they wanted to go in a different direction. They were waiting for Parise and Suter, and probably I would have to wait until right now to try to negotiate a new deal with the Flyers and I didn’t want to wait.”

  1. theawesomersfranchise - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Not shocking in the least that he would be so stupid to say this. The Dallas Cowboys of the NHL are so foolish to allow this guy into their locker room. But of course it’s not about wins in Dallas or building something that will be special in the future. It’s about selling tickets and making money.
    Some teams build a nice team, make smart moves, create a winning culture from top to bottom and watch the money eventually roll in. Others (The Stars) chase every dollar they can and hope somewhere along the way a good team and franchise magically happens during their quest for a better bottom line.

    I’d rather be a Blue Jacket fan than a Dallas Star.

    • michiganhockey11 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      With that being said, Columbus might be moving to Quebec or Hartford before you know it.

      Every Pitt fan I’ve talked to always said he was a cancer in that locker room.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        Doubtful Columbus is moving anywhere for the next decade

      • 81rebel - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        Every Pitt fan you talk to is a retard as well …. Pitt fans .. EST 2005

      • michiganhockey11 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        Too bad I know people that worked in the Penguins front office while he was there and will gladly give examples.

        Why do you think Mario didn’t want to go after him when he had the chance? He just didn’t want to bring in a guy that could give you 50-60 points a year?

      • eyeh8goodell - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        @81 rebel

        1) The whole “bandwagon fan” thing is a such a feeble, tired jab. I guess you never heard of that Mario guy that came around in the 80’s, won a couple of Cups, and is arguably the greatest player in history. Yep, the stands were always empty during that era.

        2) Go google the words “jagr dying alive” and then get back to me. Try getting your facts in order before making yourself look like an idiot on the worldwide web for all to see. Jagr whined his way out of Pittsburgh and that is an established fact.

    • cweez2 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      Possibly, but they need to sell tickets there. It is a valid reason to pursue the guy. Not sure the casual fan there cares, though.

    • mattryannolan - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:02 PM

      It’s not about wins in Dallas? Really? That makes a whole lot of sense….. Yeah the Dallas Cowboys of the NHL even though we have had some of the lowest payrolls in the NHL the last few years. I forgot where you know about the franchise that is anything but about selling tickets (As evidence by our low attendance) But yeah, shipping off old guys for young talent to rebuild and bringing in a few different older guys sounds like selling tickets because now that we shipped off Mike Ribiero for BIG names like Cody Eakin we will sell some tickets. But I see that I have gotten a bit heated but let us not say it’s about selling tickets when it’s about rebuilding. So what if we pay a guy 4.5 million when we are below the cap floor to play with our young guys so what. He was a world class player so why not let guys learn from that. And don’t say he was a cancer in that room because unless if you were IN there you have no idea.

      Raging done.

      Go Stars.

      • ewampus - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        Yeah total concur

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 5, 2012 at 9:37 PM

        And yet Philly let him walk, when a team has no interest in resigning a player it speaks volumes.

    • unholyprince - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      How does this post even make sense? Dallas hasn’t had an owner for the past 3 years until this season. How have they chased every dollar? When was their last big UFA signing? Are you sure you’re not talking about another team?

      This IS about creating a winning culture and making smart moves. Dallas is in a transition. We had an older core of leaders such as Morrow, Robidas, Riberio, Ott, etc that Joe gave the benefit of the doubt for 3 years in a row. The past 3 years we’ve been in playoff spots at the deadline, and Joe resisted trading any of them (despite taking significant offers) in faith that they’d lead us back to the post-season. All 3 years that core dropped the ball in the last few weeks of the season and failed. After this past season of losing the last 5 games of the season, our new owner Gaglardi and GM Joe said there was going to be some changes to the leadership.

      The problem is our best prospects still need a year or two in the AHl. We have a good up and coming core of Nemeth, Glennie, Fraser, Oleksiak, Campbell, Dillon, R. Smith, etc. But they’re not ready to make the jump, and doing so would set this franchise back years by rushing them before their ready.

      So what Niewy’s plan is to use 1-2 year veteran stopgaps to rebuild but stay competitive this year. Instead of creating a LOSING culture in the room by just blowing it up Edmonto style, we’re staying competitive with veterans in our stop gap years. We’re rebuilding and focused on letting our prospects develop, but we’ve SIGNIFICANTLY upgraded our top 6 this year, all to short term contracts that won’t block our kids from moving up when they’re ready. Meanwhile guys like Jagr and Whitney mentor players like Benn and Larsen on how to be successful NHLers.

      Jagr is a perfect fit with all our young Czech forwards too.

      I really don’t think you have an understanding of the situation in Dallas, or Niewendyk’s plan.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 5, 2012 at 9:29 PM

        Jagr is garbage and the last person you want around young players.

        If Joe N had a good plan it would be the same as Marc B in Montreal. And it wouldn’t include adding a guy like Jagr

      • mattryannolan - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:52 PM

        THANK YOU!!!! I can’t thank you enough.

        This guy is stupid. He acts like he know who Jagr is yet has probably never been in the locker room on a consistant basis. And please do not tell me he said we should be more like Montreal…….. NOW that.. Is ridiculous.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    So he was aiming to get booed by his home fans and slandered in the media? That’s why players go to Montreal, isn’t it?

    • jpelle82 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      no they go there to get paid and stop playing….see scott gomez

    • habsman - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      At least he was interested in going to Montreal. Nobody want to play in Toronto. Wonder why?

  3. cweez2 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    “…but they weren’t interested”

    In paying a 40+ year old mercenary that kind of money. Sorry, but Habs fans see Gainey all over this one too and glad he’s there now.

  4. broadstbully33 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    not for 4.5 buddy but at 3.3 yea

  5. phillyfan98 - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    I would have loved to see him back in orange and back this year but not for that kind of money. He just seems to be chasing the $ now. I could’ve seen him going to a contender for one more cup run, he had a great season untill he ran out of steam towards the end.

  6. darksidecowboy - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Dallas Cowboys of the NHL? C’mon man, So we signed an aging hall of famer to a ONE year deal? We have new ownership that’s giving the team some wiggle room, and even after the Whitney/Jagr signings we’re still under the salary floor. Should we just sign a young no name for a 10 year 90 million dollar contract? The team is making moves to help a dismal power play,and getting our young studs (Benn,Eriksson) leadership and experience. If adding star power with Jagr helps with the stands that’s just a bonus. People are acting like this is all a publicity stunt. How about watching the Stars or at least get info right like checking capgeek.coom are and see the $$$ reasons we need to sign players. We’re not done yet either, GO STARS!!!

    • melonheadsdaddy - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      We? You play?

  7. eyeh8goodell - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    “Montreal was my first choice but they offered me one dollar less than Dallas did” – Jaromir Jagr (translated).

  8. benzoids - Jul 6, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    This is going to end badly…and I love it.

  9. billymc75 - Jul 7, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    They have Jaimie Benn that’s all they need

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