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Comparing Jaromir Jagr to Evgeni Malkin

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By now most everyone has heard of the column by Ron Cook that's stirring up controversy: "Sulking won't cure Malkin's slump".  Puck Daddy and the Pensblog have great responses up.

Other than being from foreign lands, playing for the Penguins, and being superstars; Jaromir Jagr and Evgeni Malkin don't have too much in common.  Cook calls Malkin out today for not scoring goals and the "lame" way he's handling it.  Then he goes on to draw parallels to Jaromir Jagr, if the Penguins don't re-sign Sergei Gonchar.

Just in case, Mr. Cook's forgotten, here's a very small sample of some things that Jagr did after Mario Lemieux retired and Jagr was the Pens on the ice leader.  This isn't to knock Jagr (who did amazing things for the Penguins) but rather to highlight a couple of his decisions and behaviors, especially in comparision to how Malkin is acting.  Jagr:

  • Whined enough to get defensive minded and stern coach Kevin Constantine fired.
  • Lobbied to get the Penguins to acquire untold number of Czech friends on the team to appease him.
  • Lobbied to get Ivan Hlinka as a head coach.
  • Held meeting with linemates to design his own defensive systems to get around Hlinka's "left-wing lock" system.
  • Refused to take the ice when the Pens were on a power-play and the coach ordered him out.
  • Requested a trade no less than three times in his final season as a Penguin.

Isn't that a bit more toxic behavior than a guy who's handling a goal scoring slump a little too hard?  If anything, Malkin's putting pressure on himself and feeling bad for not playing at his best right now, and blaming no one but himself.

Pensblog is right to point out Malkin has 30 assists.  He's in a funk, but it's not like he's sulking all the way up and down the ice and being a dis-service to himself.  Cook needs to chill and go back to writing about how fighting in hockey sucks and why Steelers assistant coordinator Bruce Arians isn't at fault for anything.