Tonight’s the night, and it’s not Santa coming to town. Jaromir Jagr will bring his orange sweater to Pittsburgh for the first time.
Jagr played 11 seasons with the Penguins before being traded to the Capitals, then the Rangers. After the ’08 season, he returned to the Czech Republic and played three years in their professional league. Over the summer, he announced his intention to return to the NHL. Cue the speculation. Would he come back to finish his Hall of Fame career in the city where he won two Stanley Cups? Did the bad taste left after his difficult post-Lemiuex captaincy still linger? Or was it about the money?
Jagr signed a 1-year contract with the Flyers in July, worth $3.3 million. He said other teams offered more money [link], but he thought Philly had what it takes to win. He may be right. So far he has 11 G/19 A playing on the top line.
Less than two hours after signing Jagr, while I was still laughing, the Flyers signed Max Talbot. No more laughing.
In 2009, Max scored both goals in Stanley Cup Final Game 7 to seal the Penguins first Cup win since Jagr left. On paper, that was his claim to fame. Pens fans know it was more than that – heart, soul and humor all lived in Max. But how much ice time, and how many more seasons? He wanted longevity and security; the Pens offered him a three year deal. He went to Philly for five years and $9 million [link]. Max already has more goals (9) this year than ever before, and his well on his way the scoring more points (15 now) than his career high (26). We’re glad to see him doing well even if we have to swallow back the bile to say that.
So, tonight. I’m sure Jagr will get the mega-boo. Max will get the initial cheer, because you always love your ex-boyfriends just a little even if they break your heart. After that, it’s the boo for Talbo too, I’m afraid. I doubt he’ll be telling anybody to “shhhh.”
Game day interviews with Jagr and Talbot here, thanks to PensTV.
The Penguins and Flyers are currently tied with 46 points, behind the Rangers 48 points in the Atlantic Division. Pittsburgh has so many injuries their locker room has moved to a triage tent in the parking lot. Philly is without Pronger, likely for the season, but Giroux’s concussion comeback seems to be legit – he leads the NHL with 44 points. (WAIT, CLAUDE GIROUX IS 23 YEARS OLD? What the eff?!?)
I’m skipping Sherlock Holmes for the fourth night in a row to be home for this one, I’m expecting a big game out of my boys. We’re having a few banner seasons of our own: Malkin has 42 points, Neal has 21 goals. It’s not the Two-Headed Monster but it’s still really freaking good.
The Flyers have hit a rough stretch, losing 4 of 5 and philosopher-goalie extraordinaire Ilya Bryzgalov has lost his last 4 starts with a GAA over 4.5 (seriously though, love this guy). Backup tender Bobrovsky has had the Pens number in past seasons. No word on who will start in Philly’s net tonight.
While these signs were meant for Caps fans back on 12/13, I think we can agree they apply here as well: