Agent: Jagr 'loves that team, city... Mario'
By Rob Rossi
Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2011,
A longing to reconnect with the Penguins could be part of what brings back legendary forward Jaromir Jagr.
"He loves that team, that city," agent Petr Svoboda said Tuesday from the Czech Republic. "And he loves Mario (Lemieux), so that is all on his mind."
The opportunity to win the Stanley Cup — and return to the NHL after three years of playing professionally in Russia — has positioned the perennial contender Penguins and Detroit Red Wings as frontrunners to land Jagr, Svoboda said.
Svoboda said he was expecting a second conversation with Penguins general manager Ray Shero regarding Jagr on Tuesday.
"My (first) talk with Ray was wonderful," Svoboda said. "Jaromir obviously is fond of Pittsburgh, but he likes the current situation there, too."
Neither Jagr nor Shero could be reached for comment, but Jagr told ESPN.com :
"In Pittsburgh, I played there 10 years," he said. "I still have a house there. I was too lazy to sell it.
"Obviously (Lemieux) is the owner. The team they got — Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, plus other great players — if I went there, it would be a lot easier.
"But on the other side, Detroit has great players and plays closer to my style, a Euro style. That's a plus. And (Nicklas) Lidstrom is there, plus (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg - great, great players."
Jagr owns a house in Upper St. Clair, where his five miniature Art Ross trophies for winning NHL scoring titles are stored, according to former Penguin Petr Sykora.
The Penguins believe Jagr is asking for at least $2 million on a one-year deal. They are committed to $55.5 million against the salary cap for 17 players on guaranteed NHL contracts. The cap will be $64 million next season, according to Canada's TSN.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, speaking hypothetically about Jagr at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, described him as "intriguing" and cited his 75 points with the Rangers in his last NHL season.
"That's leading our team last year," Bylsma said. "That's an intriguing thing to think about -- a power-play guy; what you saw him do in the world championship against NHL-caliber players was nothing short of outstanding.
"Those are intriguing things to think about hypothetically, and it's tough not to think about adding 75 points to your roster if that's something you're capable of doing."
Svoboda did not identify a timetable for a deal with Jagr, who can sign with an NHL team at any time because his last contract was with Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.
Svoboda said Jagr's former Penguins teammate Robert Lang was trying to establish communication via phone between Jagr and Lemieux.
Jagr has often cited Lemieux as "the best player ever" and his "idol." They were teammates from 1990-97 and in 2000-01.
"We talked a lot about that (Monday), just Jaromir and I speaking about his days with the Penguins," Svoboda said. "Playing again in Pittsburgh is obviously something that's on Jaromir's mind, but I wouldn't say it's the main factor. The main factor for him is having a chance to win again."
Notes: Crosby and Malkin ranked first and fifth respectively in NHL jersey sales for last season, according to Sports Business Daily. Marc-Andre Fleury (10th) and Kris Letang (17th) also rated among the top 20. ... The Penguins are not close on a new deal with restricted free agent Tyler Kennedy.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins players are not out looking for fights
- Penguins’ Orpik out; Neal to have phone hearing
- Rossi: Penguins’ Orpik among select NHLers going without gluten
- Penguins have never been better on power play
- Penguins notebook: Malkin to miss 2nd straight game Saturday
- Baby Penguins notebook: Goaltenders find their places in system
- Penguins notebook: Malkin only No. 2 star for November