Friday, April 25, 2008

Jaromir Jagr

"He's not a [Soup] Nazi, he just happens to be eccentric....You know, most geniuses are" --Cosmo Kramer

The Globe has a pretty good article about Jaromir Jagr reflection on how he left the Penguins.

Jagr's tone seems saddened that it had to end like it did, and this editor was too. We have not, and short of him kicking our dog, would not ever boo Jagr. A true fan would remember that JJ battled through a badly injured groin and put the #8 seed Pittsburgh Penguins on his back and lead them past the NJ Devils in 1999; at the height of the Devils strong teams.

Jagr is a complex man, he's a European and he thinks and acts in a different way than most Americans. Does that make him weird? Maybe to us, but that's just him. His personality is somewhat mercurial to his logic, but that's the way he is.

Given Pittsburgh's recently out-of bankrupt financial situation, it was clear they wouldn't be able to keep the skill of their 2001 team (Jagr, Alexei Kovalev, Robert Lang, Martin Straka and Darius Kasparaitis) forever. Even though Jagr was the best individual offensive player in the game at that point, losing the others would have doomed him to a talent-less supporting cast and as we all know hockey is a team sport.

Fans used to boo because their feelings were hurt about how he left and wanted out, but now it's more of a tradition. The tradition was probably cemented when Jagr, in his first few attempts to Pittsburgh, didn't seem to have much success in production.

At the end of the day Jagr is still, in our eyes, the 2nd best player to ever give so much for this organ-eye-zation (though those Crosby and Malkin guys are building a body of work that one day may be up for debate). For a player that did so much for the Pens, he deserves to be remembered not solely in a bitter, negative way.

1 comment:

hattrick16 said...

I agree. I have secretly wondered if it would be at all possible for Shero to offer Jagr a simple one or two year deal at a bit of a hometown discount. He can finish in Pittsburgh, the fans will love him again and maybe win a few cups.

Do you think it's possible?