PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — Jaromir Jagr has broken his silence. One day after infuriating Penguins fans when he signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Flyers, Jagr spoke with reporters.
Jagr, a former Penguins’ star who helped lead the team to two Stanley Cup championships in the 1990s, has spent the past three seasons playing in Russia.
For much of this week, he mulled over a one-year offer to rejoin the Penguins before deciding to play on the other end of Pennsylvania, with the Pens’ most fierce rival.
“I didn’t promise anybody anything, that I was going back,” said Jagr. “The Penguins seemed like I did something wrong or something bad, and I don’t think I did something bad. If they feel like that, I cannot change their minds. I was a free agent, and I had my chance to pick wherever I think is best for me.”
Jagr says he also spurned more lucrative offers to make his NHL comeback with Philadelphia. The Flyers’ deal is worth $3.3 million, and Jagr did not name the teams he said offered more money.
He also named some other reasons why he chose Philly over a return to Pittsburgh.
“When I looked, for me, a centerman, a good player like Briere or Giroux – who are right handed – have a right-handed shot. I like to play power play on the right side, and I think because they’re right-handed, they like to play on the other side,” he said.
“I think it would be a problem if I would play in Pittsburgh with Crosby or Malkin, left handed, and have to play on the other side, when I’ve played all my life on the right side. I don’t think I would be able to play there,” he continued.
Jagr also says he has an opportunity to play more with the Flyers and likes the moves general manager Paul Holmgren made over the last 10 days.
“I don’t think I would have a chance to play at all. If I’m going to play good, at least I have a chance to play,” Jagr. “That was the other thing I was thinking.”