Tag Archives: pittsburgh penguins

Return for Jagr?

Jaromir Jagr of the Czech Rebuplic takes the puck up ice during the 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver.

Ever since the Winter Olympics have started people have been wondering if future Hall of Fame player Jaromir Jagr will return to the NHL.

Currently Jagr is playing in Russia for Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and is also playing for the Czech Republic in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

A popular question that Jagr has been asked is about whether or not he will be returning to the NHL next season.  He has proven so far at the Winter Olympics that he can still play with the NHL superstars.  Jagr has 3 points in 3 games for the Czech’s.  He is definitely thinking about playing in the NHL again.

“They treat me so well in Russia, but at the same, time I want to try to player here,” said Jagr. “When we get back to Russia we have to start the playoffs.  Then, I have to make a decision.  If it happens, it happens.”

No one knows what is going to happen except for Jagr himself but he is not ready to make his decision quite yet.  His contract with Omsk is a two year deal and an option for a third year if he decides to stay.  From what it seems like, Jagr is going to deny that option and attempt to make a return to the NHL.

Jagr is an 18-year veteran and began his NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  While there he won a Stanley Cup.  He has also played for the Washington Capitals and the New York Ranger, his last team before heading over seas.  He has 1,599 points in 1,273 NHL games, which are very impressive numbers.

Jaromir Jagr (left) sporting his famous mullet with legendary Pittsburgh Penguin teammate Mario Lemuiex (right).

While playing for the Rangers Jagr was slowed down by injuries, and said that “the rigors of the 82 game season had worn on him.”  Reports have been saying that Jagr is healthy again, which will be important since after all he will be a 39-year old free agent.

A return for Jagr in the NHL would be great.  The fans here love him and he has excelled in the league before.  He can help out any cup contender, that is if he is willing to take a pay cut.  A return to the Pittsburgh Penguins would be ideal so he could retire there and possibly playing with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.  The Edmonton Oilers were known to have made the best offer before Jagr went to Russia, and are most likely going to take a shot at obtaining him.  If Jagr did not want to play for them two years ago, I doubt he will now because they have not improved since then.

If Jagr continues his good play at the Winter Olympics then he could see a lot of offers knocking at his door.  Maybe even an earlier return than expected because the KHL season ends before the NHL season.  I would not be surprised if Jagr is back in an NHL sweater next season.

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Crosby or Ovechkin?

E.J. Hradek of ESPN brought to my attention the Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin debate.  Who is the better player?

Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin lineup on the ice next to each other.

Hradek was asked who he thought was better between the two superstars.  He believes that Ovechkin is the more dynamic player but thinks that Crosby is the more complete player.  Both players bring their own style to the game but if Hradek was building a team from scratch he says that he would take Crosby.

Over the years they have developed a competitive rivalry.  It was a rivalry that they did not really develop on their own.  They have been constantly compared to each other, especially when they both entered the league as rookies together. Ovechkin was drafted a year before Crosby but due to the lockout they played their rookie year during the same season.  The Calder cup went to Ovechkin that year.

When the two talk about their rivalry they do not believe it is a hate rivalry but a competitive one.

Here is what Crosby has to say about the topic:

“To say that we absolutely hate each other, I don’t think so,” Crosby said. “But

we’re competitive guys, and that’s the result of everything and the way it’s kind of built up. When you look at Canada-Russia [the players’ native countries], I mean, the list goes on and on. It’s made to be that way. We’re two different people. But you know what, I think he’s an amazing hockey player and I have a lot of respect for what he does out there for sure. I don’t think there’s any lack of respect there at all. We’re just different in a lot of ways.”

And this is Ovechkins view on the rivalry:

“I respect him like a player, like a person, but when I step on the ice, I respect only my teammates,” a jovial Ovechkin said at the team’s hotel in Pittsburgh. “Off the ice, I can shake hands and say hi like normal people, but on the ice, you don’t have friends.

“But I respect him as a player. He’s one of the best players in the league and he’s probably going to be even more unbelievable. But right now on the ice, he’s on my rival, just like everybody.”

Referee has to seperate Sidney Crosby(Left) and Alexander Ovechkin (Right)

They respect each other, but this is just what happens when you play a physical sport and compete against the same players throughout the season.

From a fans perspective they are very different.  Crosby usually tries to keep to himself while on the road.  He avoids huge group of fans but that does not mean he won’t sign autographs.  Crosby is willing to sign as long as it does not affect his teammates’ routines.  Ovechkin is a little more outgoing.  He has learned the English language pretty fast and does not shy away from meeting fans.

At this point I would say Ovechkin probably has more fans.  He is very charismatic and can finish on highlight reel plays.  Not that Crosby cannot, he just does not have that same presence that stands out like Ovechkin.

However, I think that Crosby is the better player.  He is always thinking outside of the box, plays a very good two way game, great skater, good hands, good leader, and is creative in tight situations.  Ovechkin on the other hand makes the ESPN highlight moves that fans tend to notice more.  He is a force out there on the ice, he is a very skilled power forward and posses many of the same qualities that Crosby does.  The main difference between the two superstars is that Crosby plays better at both ends of the rink.  This makes Crosby the complete player and giving him an edge over Ovechkin.  I would take Crosby over Ovechkin any day, but that is just my opinion.

When it comes to the debate they have a pretty even amount of supporters. Where do you stand? Well that is for you to decide.