After yesterday’s less-than-cordial press scrum, not many expected Jaromir Jagr to speak today following the pregame skate. But speak is exactly what Jagr did. And how!
No. 68 went into great detail about why he chose to sign in Philadelphia — or, more accurately, why he chose not to sign in Pittsburgh. He also talked about his relationship with Mario Lemieux and how his negotiations with the Penguins were put on hold so they could extend Tyler Kennedy (also, what he read into that.)
But the best part of today’s scrum was when Jagr talked about Pittsburgh’s powerplay.
Q: What about helping the Penguins’ power play?
A: I didn’t think I would get on the powerplay. That’s the way I felt. I didn’t know how I was going to play. I have some confidence in [myself] that I’m not going to be that bad. And in Philly there was a totally different team. There was a new team with a lot of young guys. Nobody had anything guaranteed. Here, that’s a different story. Everybody’s been together for probably five, six years, they won the [Stanley] Cup together. The lines are set up. I don’t think I would have had a chance to play – at least, the way I wanted to play.
Q: Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said that you would have played on the powerplay.
A: When did he say that?
Q: One time was yesterday.
A: Oh, yesterday. Oh. I had to make a decision three months ago.
Q: Bylsma also said that about a month ago.
A: A month ago. Yeah. But what about four months ago?
Jagr’s trying to be an open book about the whole spurning-Pittsburgh-for-Philly thing, which is admirable. Most players wouldn’t go into such detail explaining the choices they’ve made…but then again, most players don’t find themselves in Jagr’s situation.
That said — does anybody really think Jagr wouldn’t have (or believed he wouldn’t have) been on Pittsburgh’s power play?