Jagr won't be feeling the love from Pens fans

| Saturday, July 2, 2011

Trystan Laughrey's customized black-and-yellow braces were visible as she spoke, but the Franklin Park girl wasn't smiling.

"I'm very upset that he went to the Flyers because I hate the Flyers," the 9-year-old said. "I wanted him back here."

Penguins fans of all ages, including the Laughreys at lunch on the North Shore on Friday, had a mix of emotions after former NHL MVP Jaromir Jagr signed with the reviled Flyers rather than return to the Penguins.

"Good riddance," said season-ticket holder John White, 30, of the North Hills.

Jagr's decision drew the fans' ire as much for his cross-state destination as his snubbing Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux and the team with which he won two Stanley Cup titles. Jagr, 39, signed a one-year $3.3 million deal with the Flyers; the Penguins had offered $2 million.

"It's horrible," said Trystan's mom, Karen. "It's a stab in the back to Mario."

Buddy Richard, 23, of Shaler admitted he wanted Jagr for the right price. But he shook his head at the news.

"How are you gonna sign with the Flyers?" he said. "That's bad. What do you even say about that?"

Not everyone held a grudge, including Ed Sanders, 42, of East Liberty, wearing a Pirates hat outside PNC Park.

"I would like him to be here, but that's his decision," he said. "I can't judge that. Only he can do that."

Fans railed against Jagr's untimely negotiating tactics — he originally was going to decide Wednesday — and the fact he shrugged off a chance to return to Pittsburgh and repair his tainted legacy.

"I'm glad the Flyers got him," said Joe Lang, 52, of Green Tree. "It will hurt Philly in the long-term."

Rick Michak, 49, of the South Hills was hopeful for Jagr's return. He believed the Czech native was unjustly criticized for leaving Pittsburgh for the rival Capitals after the 2000-01 season. Now, Jagr's fate is sealed.

"He will be hated when he comes back," Michak said. "If he would have gone to Detroit or Montreal, it wouldn't have been as bad. But the Flyers makes it even worse."

Sounding off

Penguins and Flyers fans took to online message boards to weigh in on Jaromir Jagr's and Max Talbot's decisions to spurn Pittsburgh and sign with Philadelphia.

A sampling from Penguins message boards, including from www.pittsburghpenguins.com :

How can you slap the Penguins organization in the face• We wanted you back and you turn your back on us. ... All for an extra $1.3 million• Wow! — Czack

Pens just released the promotional schedule. Dec. 29th against the Flyers is Battery Night. — Badger_Bob

I think that I shall burn my Talbot jersey and change my username now. — MaxTalbot25

We now know that the price of Jagr's soul is exactly $1.3 million. — Eightandahalf

All that talk of how great full (sic) he was to Pens and Mario and how he could never repay them for all the did for him and his career. was nothing more then (sic) lip service. — wsopstud

I needed this. Over the past couple of years, I found myself hating Washington more than the Flyers. This reminds me that the Flyers have always been and are still enemy #1. — dpk120

Today has been the strangest first day of free agency in a LONG time for the Pens. — pittsports87

What happened to all that "My heart is in Pittsburgh" and "I'd play for the league minimum in Pittsburgh" stuff• I guess things never really change. — Delta Agent

Not only do I not retire his number...I mandate that our 13th forward be forced to wear that number until it's trivialized to the point that (it) is barely remembered. — tonysoprano

A sampling from Flyers message boards, including from www.philadelphiaflyers.com :

Horrible move by Flyers. Jagr is worthless and should never be allowed to touch the orange and black... — Crossefire 01

Signing Jagr is just a gimmick to get fans to fill the seats ... 39 and no wheels! Booooooooooooooooo. — The Philly Shadow

Jagr is still awesome! Haters will eat their words once they see him kill it. — Lookyhere

Goes to show that it WAS all about the money. What ARE they thinking in the organization• — Philly PHAilure

YUCK. Jagr for 3.3 Million• He has been out the NHL for 3 years. He is pushing 40. This won't turn out well. — Ferrell31

Keep hating Pitt fans. Bitterness is an ugly emotion. — DigitalTD

Max Talbot• Who????• 8 goals and 13 assists last year• Please tell me he only played one quarter of the season. — aNutterInDgutter

What an embarrassment to our organization!!! I think I'm gonna be SICK!!!!! — Blakk73

5 years for a 3rd or 4th line player is insane. The money's OK but the term is too long. — Kopykat

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