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Penguins

Shea-ved Ice: Money Still Matters To Jagr

By: Casey Shea
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(Photo credi: DAGMAR KIELHORN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credi: DAGMAR KIELHORN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Some things never change do they?

As part of his departure from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jaromir Jagr noted that it wasn’t about the money.

Whether the media blew his exodus from Pittsburgh out of proportion or not, the way Jagr left Pittsburgh left many fans with feelings of disdain.

Many of those same fans relentlessly booed him when he returned to the Igloo as a member of the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers.

After he left the NHL and went to Russia three years ago, the rumors had been running rampant that he would make his glorious return to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A funny thing happened at this point. It was as if his indication of a return to Pittsburgh was the closest thing to an apology that Pens fans would get.

People started to warm up to the idea of seeing No. 68 wearing the black and gold again and many either forgot or forgave him for what previously transpired.

Two years ago, he said he would come back to the Penguins and play for the league minimum as a favor to Mario Lemieux. Ill admit I was a little excited about that.

When it didn’t happen, I learned to not get my hopes up when it comes to Jagr.

Last week, I detailed out my reasons for not wanting Jagr to come back to this team and took a little heat for it.

That’s all well and good and everyone is entitled to their opinions. That is what makes being a fan so great. Everyone has different reasons for liking or disliking a certain player and the concept of right and wrong is in the eye of the beholder.

However, if we flash-forward to what transpired on Friday, I’m fairly certain we’ll all be in agreement.

The last two weeks or so have been nothing short of a media circus surrounding Jagr.

Where will he sign? Where in the world is he?

Seriously, in a few years no one will believe you when you tell them Jagr’s supposed decision day was delayed by turtles on the runway at JFK Airport in New York.

Everyone was on edge waiting for the news that the man who sported one of, if not the finest, mullets in sports historywas coming home.

But, the news didn’t come until Friday afternoon and no one could have expected what happened.

The crew on TSN state that Jaromir Jagr had signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers.

I didn’t think that my dislike of Jagr could rise beyond where it was, but he found a way to prove me wrong. Again.

My first reaction to seeing the news was outright laughter. After leading the Penguins and their fans on during Jagr Watch, he pulls the rug out and signs with the team’s top rival.

Over the past couple of seasons, much has been made about the Capitals and Penguins being fierce rivals. I’ve always felt the Caps were number two on the list behind Philly and now, there’s no debating it.

Words can’t even properly describe what Jagr just pulled off. This wasn’t just a low blow, it was almost heinous.

The announcement skyrocketed him up the ladder of most hated men in Pittsburgh sports at an alarming rate.

Throughout the process, he kept saying how he wanted to return to Pittsburgh and even reportedly got Mario Lemieux involved in the conversation.

His agent even said Jagr’s heart lies in Pittsburgh.

It looked like a lock. A one-year $2 million deal was on the table. All he had to do was pick up the pen and sign it.

“It’s not about the money.”

Once again, that statement proved to be false. His agent, Petr Svoboda, alleges that Jagr turned down a one-year $6 million deal from another team.

He uses this point as a way to prove that money wasn’t a motivating factor here. However, he fails to mention which team made such a ludicrous offer.

I’m going to assume that it was a team that Jagr felt was not a contender to win the Stanley Cup.

It sounds like he started a bidding war among Stanley Cup contending teams. While money may not have been the sole factor, you cannot tell me that it wasn’t very important to him.

It’s always been important to him.

Just when you thought the Penguins/Flyers rivalry couldn’t get more intense, Jagr happens.

However, this may be one of the few times in recorded history that fans of both teams are in agreement.

Flyers fans I know were in total disbelief over signing Jagr. Mainly because of the $3.3 million the club would be paying him.

I’m already looking forward to when he steps foot in Pittsburgh again on Dec. 29, when the Flyers make their first trip to town this season.

If he thought he got booed hard before, just wait until that night. If you don’t attend the game, you should still be able to hear the booing within a 10-mile radius of the arena.

The decision to sign in Philly has not only angered an entire fanbase again, but it’s tarnished the once-great legacy he had here.

The script was perfectly written for him.

He would come back to Pittsburgh, finish his NHL career where it all began and eventually his jersey would be retired.

Now, I don’t think we’ll ever see No. 68 raised to the rafters.

How must Lemieux feel right now? To be told that Jagr wants to come back out of respect to the greatest player to ever play the game, only to be snubbed for the Flyers? Are you kidding me?

He didn’t just burn every bridge he had left in this city, he nuked them.

Until yesterday, I was still mildly upset over the whole Marian Hossa fiasco during the summer of 2008.

What Jagr did yesterday has made me completely forget about that. Again, I didn’t even want Jagr back to begin with, but what he did doesn’t sit right with me on a variety of moral levels.

It’s almost as if he used the Pens as a pawn to garner a larger payout. Apparently Jagr doesn’t care about the past, he only cares about the here and now.

He’ll continually say that it wasn’t about money and rather the make-up of the roster and the team’s chances of winning.

However, I think he’s fully proven that his words hold no weight and he doesn’t fully mean anything that he says.

All this has shown is that he’s only loyal to himself…and the almighty dollar.

Nice to see you’ve changed Jagr. See you in December.

You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CaseySheaPens.

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