Enough pixels have been spewed on Jaromir Jagr lately on his return to Pittsburgh- we all know the story of the #JagrWatch 2k11, ending in the aging star spurning the Pens to play for the hated Philadelphia Flyers. Pittsburgh fans were hurt, angry and shocked and will surely let Jagr know about it tonight when he steps on the ice in PIttsburgh for the first time in three plus years.
Jagr's commented seven ways from Sunday about why he did what he did, using excuses from Philly having right handed centers like he prefers, to Pittsburgh not seeming that interested in making a serious offer. To hear Jagr tell it, the Pens were never really a serious contender for him and he can't understand why the folks in PIttsburgh who booed him for all these years wanted him back so badly and then were so hurt when he decided a different path.
You know what? Let him have it with both barrels.
Professional athletes are used to receiving boos, playing on the road and most know how to block it out, or actually use the negativity to fuel them. But Jaromir Jagr is a rare case- the booing in PIttsburgh actually throws him off of his game. I was at the Caps/Pens game the first time Jagr came back to Pittsburgh and it rattled him then. In his first five games at Mellon Arena in a Washington Capitals jersey, Jagr scored just three points (one goal and two assists), quite off his usual paces.
And it'll rattle him now.
As a Penguins fan, I still have conflicting emotions. On one hand, I still remember and can enjoy the memories of 68 in the black and gold. The scoring titles. The MVP's. All the happy moments. Obviously he's tainted things by signing with the hated rival, but nothing can take away the impact he made for 11 seasons in PIttsburgh. To me, Jagr will always be a franchise legend, and still is the second best player the organization has ever seen.
Jaromir Jagr made his choice to go to Philadelphia, and that's over now. Pittsburgh fans should boo him tonight, because it'll affect his game tonight and probably give the Pens a better chance to win.