Jaromir Jagr

There is still no word on where Jaromir Jagr will land

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As the countdown to the Friday’s noon ET kickoff to free agency continues, “Jagr Watch” remains in limbo. There was the hope that Jaromir Jagr would choose between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens or some other team as early as last night, but he hasn’t made a decision as of this afternoon.

While reports indicate that Jagr and/or his agent Petr Svboda spoke with members of the Penguins, Red Wings and other camps today, it seems like we won’t find an answer much earlier than the beginning of the free-agent frenzy. One must note that he cannot sign a contract until noon Saturday anyway, but there was the hope that he would provide an answer to satiate the masses.

Will he be worth the hype?

On one hand, he’s 39 years old and hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2007-08 season with the New York Rangers. There’s an obvious risk involved with adding an aging player who probably lost a few steps but must have at least some ego considering his Hall of Fame resume.

But what a Hall of Fame resume it is. Jagr has 1,599 points in his regular season career in the NHL, which ranks him ninth all-time in league history. He scored an solid- but relatively weak for his standards – 71 points in that 07-08 season. Jagr impressed much more in his last two playoff runs with the Rangers, though, scoring 11 points in 10 playoff games in 06-07 and 15 in 10 postseason contests in 07-08.

His numbers haven’t slowed down much in the KHL over the last few years (and during international competition), but it’s hard to say how that will translate to the NHL. Then again, with the kind of linemates he would skate with if he chose the Red Wings or Penguins, he might be in a great position to succeed.

If nothing else, his agent implies that he has his heart set on making a return to the NHL.

“There is an outside chance of KHL, but something would have to go terribly bad for that,” Svoboda said.

As exciting, odd and occasionally excruciating as #Jagrwatch must be for some fans, they’re just going to need to wait. Jagr might even end up being worth dealing with all of the anxiety, too.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist
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DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.