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07-07-2008, 05:46 AM
  #1
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The Jagr Precedent

I'm sad to see Jagr go, unlike some Rangers fans (which imho boggles my mind -- but that's not my point in this post. I have a new topic here). In the playoffs, and I don't think this is my homerism talking here, Jagr was often the BEST PLAYER on the ice. The best player and not amidst a bunch of scrubs: more of a game breaker and, I argue, better in some games than Malkin, Crosby, Broduer, Drury, Gomez, etc. I truly believe he still has every ability to dominate games in the NHL, at the highest level. As a Rangers fan, I was really looking forward to him coming back because I thought he was very far from done. A generational talent who could still play. Let's see: Shanahan is effective into his late 30s; Chelios into his 40s; Gary Roberts into his 40s. Jagr is 36 and in my estimation fully capable of at least 2 more seasons of elite hockey ability as a top 5 winger. Last season was an aberration and, Rangers fans know, his decline in points had more to do with lack of team chemistry and proper line mates than in any real decline due to age. Can any fans on this message board say with full confidence that he is incapable of returning to 100 point form? I can't. I personally think we should have held onto him -- how often can you find that 100 point winger even though, on this team, which is no longer built to Jagr, he's like fitting a circle in a square peg, but that's not what I'm talking about here. We can debate the virtues of keeping Jagr on this team, as has been done in previous threads, but I'd like to take a broader view. It makes me really sad to lose one of our premiere talents, and somehow who at his age can VERY well still dominate games, to another league. Jaromir Jagr, who can very well still play NHL hockey, will likely never be seen in the NHL again. Am I the only fan who feels like Jagr still has greatness in him? Do any other Rangers fans think it sets a dangerous precedent to lose one of our best players to another league? Am I the only one with a great feeling of loss?

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07-07-2008, 06:03 AM
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Jagr was far from done. He deserved a 2 year contract - I am not sure I would have given him a 3 year deal.

The argument here (and I am solid Jagr endorser) is that the whole team turns around him and that would be a detriment in the long run. He would have needed to accept a lesser role, maybe not immediately but eventually.

I don't think Messier on his second stint felt diminished not being a front liner.

We would have gotten more out of him if he is playing time was managed.

But we shall never know.

Will he return to play offs. Frankly I now doubt it!

I am in a state of disbelief.

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07-07-2008, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy London Ranger View Post
Jagr was far from done. He deserved a 2 year contract - I am not sure I would have given him a 3 year deal.

The argument here (and I am solid Jagr endorser) is that the whole team turns around him and that would be a detriment in the long run. He would have needed to accept a lesser role, maybe not immediately but eventually.

I don't think Messier on his second stint felt diminished not being a front liner.

We would have gotten more out of him if he is playing time was managed.

But we shall never know.

Will he return to play offs. Frankly I now doubt it!

I am in a state of disbelief.
Diminished role? Really?

OK he played on the 2nd line, but when you are on the 1st PP unit and you kill penalties and are stilll one of the team leaders in average time on ice, that really doesn't equate to a limited or reduced role.

I wish Jagr was back as well, but the fact is that this team was easy to defend against. Stop Jagr and you stop the Rangers. That's more os an indictment on the rest of the team than on Jagr, but where they needed to make hay was on the PP and when you have Jagr playing 1:00 - 1:20 of every man advantage and everything funnels through him again, you stop Jagr and you stop the Rangers.

They needed to become a more and better balanced club and that's what they did. The elite teams in the NHL allow players to leave and in some cases trade players away and still succeed. The Rangers were getting old, stale and very predictable. It was time to cut ties with Shanny, Straka and Jagr.

Now it's time for the remaining and new faces to justify the decision.

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07-07-2008, 07:21 AM
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very upsetting, i truly felt with Jagr + a couple solid D, we would have the cup. But, now its like were back to square one...which is fine, were moving forward. whole new team! which is exciting as well tho.

BUT Jagr deserved the money and the multi year contract. and if not...why did Naslund get it? same age (year younger im sorry)...and he is NO JAGR.

I will truly miss not having the pleasure to watch this man play hockey, One of the greatest hockey players in this game.

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07-07-2008, 07:31 AM
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I think everyone here realized that we would need to turn the team in a new direction in another year or two...but at the same time it feels like we came pretty close, and we still have unfinished business. It's sad that Jagr is no longer a part of that. I would have loved to have him back for at least the option year, if not two years. I'm still pissed that the NHL robbed him of the MVP two years ago. I would have gladly taken one more run with #68.

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07-07-2008, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Ranger86 View Post
very upsetting, i truly felt with Jagr + a couple solid D, we would have the cup. But, now its like were back to square one...which is fine, were moving forward. whole new team! which is exciting as well tho.

BUT Jagr deserved the money and the multi year contract. and if not...why did Naslund get it? same age (year younger im sorry)...and he is NO JAGR.

I will truly miss not having the pleasure to watch this man play hockey, One of the greatest hockey players in this game.
The reality is that Jagr wasn't coming back on a 2 year 8MM contract. I'm sure he wanted nearly twice that. Maybe not twice, but there's no way he was coming back for less than 2 years 14 or 15MM.

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07-07-2008, 07:39 AM
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I'm still pissed that the NHL robbed him of the MVP two years ago
i hear that

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07-07-2008, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by NY Ranger86 View Post
very upsetting, i truly felt with Jagr + a couple solid D, we would have the cup. But, now its like were back to square one...which is fine, were moving forward. whole new team! which is exciting as well tho.

BUT Jagr deserved the money and the multi year contract. and if not...why did Naslund get it? same age (year younger im sorry)...and he is NO JAGR.

I will truly miss not having the pleasure to watch this man play hockey, One of the greatest hockey players in this game.
That's a question to not just the Rangers, but Pitt and Edmonton as none of them offered a multi-year deal.

All offers were of the 1 year variety which is why he signed in Russia.

Lets say we do give him a 2-3 year deal and after this season his heart is set on going to play in the RSL, his cap figure is assessed against out books and we do not have the player. Yes he's said all the right things with regards to playing out a contract, but things change and we would have been royally screwed had we invested a multi year deal with him.

Naslund is under the age of 35 when he signed this contract and if he retires....oh well. No harm, no foul.

I just didn't see this team, as it was constructed, winning the cup any time soon. To reliant on Jagr, no secondary scoring and the D was questionable (team D no, actual Defence? yeah, there were a few players that really needed to be gone last summer)

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07-07-2008, 07:46 AM
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Considering the billionaires in Russia combined with the weak dollar and lack of taxation, I'm surprised Russia didn't steal more talent. If I was a top 5 pick, I'd go play there 3 yrs before the NHL. I think if the dollar says down we will see a lot more European players choosing Russia. Why sign a rookie contract for under $1 mill/yr when you can get $3 or $4 mill tax free? Why not play closer to home and live like a king? If I'm Cherepanov, I'm learning from Jagr and taking the money. I wouldn't be surprised at all if in 10-15years hockey is similar to soccer in that there isn't one clear cut dominate global league. This is a serious problem for the NHL and Gary Bettman should be remembered as the guy who opened the door.

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07-07-2008, 07:58 AM
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I don't feel any great sense of loss. Jagr helped return this franchise to respectability, and for that, I'm grateful. With that in mind, still, it was time to turn the page and move on.

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07-07-2008, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darrenturcotte#8 View Post
Considering the billionaires in Russia combined with the weak dollar and lack of taxation, I'm surprised Russia didn't steal more talent. If I was a top 5 pick, I'd go play there 3 yrs before the NHL. I think if the dollar says down we will see a lot more European players choosing Russia. Why sign a rookie contract for under $1 mill/yr when you can get $3 or $4 mill tax free? Why not play closer to home and live like a king? If I'm Cherepanov, I'm learning from Jagr and taking the money. I wouldn't be surprised at all if in 10-15years hockey is similar to soccer in that there isn't one clear cut dominate global league. This is a serious problem for the NHL and Gary Bettman should be remembered as the guy who opened the door.
How long do you really believe that the government is going to sit and watch as millions and millions of potential taxable dollars are paid out to superstar players?

How long before the poor folks are up in arms as their taxes increase while the Hockey players are not taxed at all? Imagine what could be done to local infrastructure in certain parts of that country is the players were taxed even 10% of their annual income?

Are there enough willing billionaires in Russia (I would bet yes) to really get a league off the ground and continue it for the long haul? And do they really want to get into a business endeavour that has the potential for massive losses written all over it?

I'm not sure this as viable a threat as some are making it out to be. And even if it is, do you really believe that Bettman could have done a damn thing to stop it or prevent it from happening? Bettman didn't open the door to this. The Door has been ajar for years and years, but it's such a large task that no one has attempted to pull it off before and As much as the odds are that it will succeed, there are equal odds that it will also fail aswell.

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07-07-2008, 08:41 AM
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Last season was an aberration and, Rangers fans know, his decline in points had more to do with lack of team chemistry and proper line mates than in any real decline due to age
Why would that have changed this season? He basically would have the same teammates surrounding him and less Straka who is someone he needed.

Quote:
how often can you find that 100 point winger even though, on this team, which is no longer built to Jagr, he's like fitting a circle in a square peg, but that's not what I'm talking about here.
Why aren't you talking about that if its incredibly relevant to the decision the Rangers made? You cannot dismiss the fact that this team went out and bought 2 centers for over 5 years each that needed a different syle of play to succeed. Why put that off another 2 years and delay the inevitable?
You couldnt continue surrounding Jagr, a guy who was scheduled to turn 38 in his two year contract and hinge his performance on the belief that he might get it together with the current lineup?

This was the right move IMO.

And its really not about Jagr and what he can and cannot do at his age. It was more of risk resigning him and wondering if he would get back to form (because lets face it, it took him 70 games to start playing at the level the Rangers needed him to). Three years in a row the Rangers had to bust ass to make the playoffs and wore themselves out in the process. If Jagr would have been going full bore the entire season the Rangers might have claimed the division. Thats a whole different argument.

What you can't argue is what this team wanted to do, which was to get younger and play a certain brand of hockey. Its evident with the moves they made and are making that thats what they want to do. Jagr's style of play, and the teams reaction to his wants and needs as a star player is the issue.

Quote:
Am I the only fan who feels like Jagr still has greatness in him? Do any other Rangers fans think it sets a dangerous precedent to lose one of our best players to another league? Am I the only one with a great feeling of loss?
No, you are not. I still believe he can play at a very high level. And despite all Ive said, I am going to miss the big guy as well. Its tough to take a step back and look at the team perspective as a fan, but thats what we have to do here. I believe it was the correct decision. Time will tell.

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07-07-2008, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Ranger86 View Post
very upsetting, i truly felt with Jagr + a couple solid D, we would have the cup. But, now its like were back to square one...which is fine, were moving forward. whole new team! which is exciting as well tho.

BUT Jagr deserved the money and the multi year contract. and if not...why did Naslund get it? same age (year younger im sorry)...and he is NO JAGR.

I will truly miss not having the pleasure to watch this man play hockey, One of the greatest hockey players in this game.
agree with you....

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07-07-2008, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by NY Ranger86 View Post
very upsetting, i truly felt with Jagr + a couple solid D, we would have the cup. But, now its like were back to square one...which is fine, were moving forward. whole new team! which is exciting as well tho.

BUT Jagr deserved the money and the multi year contract. and if not...why did Naslund get it? same age (year younger im sorry)...and he is NO JAGR.

I will truly miss not having the pleasure to watch this man play hockey, One of the greatest hockey players in this game.
I just dont get how people can say that so easily. Like its a given. Do you know how hard it is to win it all? Do you know how much luck has to be on your side as well?




Jagr or no Jagr, its incredibly difficult to win the cup.

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07-07-2008, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadwayblue View Post
The reality is that Jagr wasn't coming back on a 2 year 8MM contract. I'm sure he wanted nearly twice that. Maybe not twice, but there's no way he was coming back for less than 2 years 14 or 15MM.
In the czech papers he said ....and I believe that....: (Jagr) I hate the contract negotiations. I can't imagine having have to go through this again next year....

If Slats would have been offering him 2 yrs I reckon Jags would have taken it.

Yes we needed a trade and the one for Zherdev, we probably need another guy like him....but I can't understand why giving up on the majority of our horse half way will benefit the team. For the past two year we felt we were not that far away.

Replace Shanny, Straks with two prime wingers. Add a one stud for the D and
keep Jags around as leader is what I believed this club needed.

Instead we are going back to redraw everything.

I rather have Jagr than Naslund any day!


Last edited by Sad London Ranger: 07-07-2008 at 10:46 AM.
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07-07-2008, 09:06 AM
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Watching this team play last season, I think it was fairly evident that we were a lot more than "a couple of solid D" away from the Cup. We were at the bare minimum a couple of solid defenseman AND a PPG forward or two away from the Cup - our main problem was scoring goals not stopping them.

While I will always respect him for 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, turning the page on Jagr was unquestionably the right decision. Let's be honest; until the playoffs last year, Jagr looked done as dinner. Whether you want to attribute that to injury, age, lack of "good" linemates, moping, etc. - it was an undeniable fact. Personally, I think that from the moment that Drury/Gomez were inked, Jagr had already given up - and as a fan and former player that absolutely sickens me. A true Ranger would not make the comments he made last week (needs to be highest paid player to feel respected, needs offense to be run his way/through him) and as far as I'm concerned I think the decision to sacrifice a little talent to become a better TEAM is the right move in the long run (plus as I wrote earlier, bringing Jagr back would make us no more of a contender than our current roster).

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07-07-2008, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by nyr2k2 View Post
I don't feel any great sense of loss. Jagr helped return this franchise to respectability, and for that, I'm grateful. With that in mind, still, it was time to turn the page and move on.
I agree. Also, while I do still feel Jagr could have been productive for 2 more years, something was different about him this past year. I don't know if he still had a nagging injury or what, but he just was not shooting the puck the same way we know he could. In fact if I recall he was often times NOT shooting and looking for the pass. It just seemed odd. Maybe it was a confidence thing, I'm not sure.

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07-07-2008, 11:10 AM
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The only people who are going to make a Jagr precedent are the fans. The Team has moved on from Jagr and are building a whole new system around the team. There should be no precedent and no one should think that Naslund or Zherdev is here to replace Jagr because they aren't. They are here to make their own place on the Rangers and to be Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev, not Jaromir Jagr. He is gone. No Precedent because then everyone on this board will begin complaining when the team hits its annual losing stretch in December and everyone will want Jagr back. NO PRECEDENT! MOVE ON!

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07-07-2008, 11:20 AM
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ESPN Scott Burnside - IMO great article that sums it up rather nicely.

And so, we bid adieu to No. 68, the five-time NHL scoring champ, the whip-smart contrarian with a surprising sense of humor and a pretty darn good hockey player even now at age 36.
The alarmists in the hockey media -- and there is no shortage of them -- will suggest Jaromir Jagr's decision to turn his back on the NHL and return to Avangard Omsk, the Russian elite league team he played for during the 2004-05 lockout, will signal a flood of NHL talent jumping to the cash-soaked league.

Ha.

If there's something Jagr is not, it's a trendsetter. He marches to his own beat and the beat told him when it became clear the New York Rangers had chosen a different path, his own path would take him to Omsk, not Edmonton or anywhere else in North America.

As anyone who has ever been to Russia in the dead of winter or even spoken to anyone who's ever been there when the sun disappears for days on end could attest, there will no more be a cavalcade of stars heading east than there will be a Stanley Cup parade in Toronto next spring. Unless you lament the absence of Alexander Perezhogin and Alexei Kaigorodov playing third- and fourth-line minutes for an NHL club near you, the eastward exodus is all fantasy, just like recent reports ofEvgeni Malkin preparing to head back to Russia for a mountain of cash.

There may be money in Russia (just don't ask where it came from and don't complain if it doesn't get to you in an orderly fashion), but the hockey is hit-and-miss, even with Jagr creating headlines.

Have we seen the end of Jagr outside international competition? Who knows. Sources told ESPN.com on Friday that Jagr has a "no-out" clause, locking him into staying in Russia for the length of the deal -- at least two years with a third possible at Jagr's discretion. If that's the way it shakes down, we have likely seen the last of the big winger and there is a feeling of melancholy at seeing Jagr go.

Statistically, Jagr had one of his worst seasons ever with just 25 goals and 71 points in 2007-08, totals that prevented him from meeting triggers in his contract that would have kept him in New York for at least one more season. Yet, as the playoffs neared, Jagr became a force and was the team's best player down the stretch and through the two rounds of the playoffs.

Even when the Rangers fell behind the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 in the second round, we remember Jagr sitting in his dressing room stall at the team's practice facility, speaking passionately about believing in the Rangers' chances of defeating the Penguins and his desire to be part of history.

Even as the Jagr era in New York closed with the Rangers' signing of free-agent forward Markus Naslund on Thursday, there remained a number of interesting possibilities for Jagr. Edmonton was hungry for his experience and talent as part of a revamped Oilers offense. The Penguins, despite signing Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko on Thursday, presumably could have found room for the former Pittsburgh star.

But if it wasn't New York, it wasn't going to be anywhere for Jagr. If he stays with Omsk for the full three years, a source told ESPN.com that Jagr could collect $35 million (U.S.) over the life of the deal.

In an interview with Larry Brooks of the New York Post on Thursday, Jagr ended his conversation by saying: "And I also want to say to the people like Mike Milbury, who made their living by criticizing me all the time, that they can kiss my [butt]."

It was vintage Jagr.

The Rangers and their fans saw Jagr at his best. When few gave the Rangers any chance of being close to the postseason coming out of the lockout, Jagr guaranteed a playoff berth. Jagr turned in a virtuoso 123-point performance that saw him finish second to San Jose's Joe Thornton in NHL scoring and Hart Trophy voting.



It was great fun.

But last summer, as the Rangers tried to find the pieces that would propel them from playoff lock to Cup contender, they inadvertently altered the chemistry in their dressing room as it related to Jagr.

By signing Scott Gomez and Chris Drury to long-term deals, they shifted the balance of power and it never was quite right again at Madison Square Garden. This isn't about egos -- Jagr having to share the stage with the two talented and personable centers -- but about dynamics.

Jagr worked in almost perfect harmony with center Michael Nylander the first two years after the lockout. The understated Nylander was a casualty of the Gomez/Drury signings and Jagr never found his rhythm with either center, finishing the season playing mostly with Brandon Dubinsky.

The Rangers were somewhere between Jagr's team and the future, and while they advanced to the second round for the second straight season, they were no match for Pittsburgh and its clearly defined pecking order of Sidney Crosby, Malkin, Marian Hossa and the rest.

With Jagr gone, the page has been turned in New York.

Gomez and Drury will become the faces of the franchise and the rest of the newcomers, Nikolai Zherdev, Dan Fritsche, Wade Redden and Naslund, will fall into line.

Will it work? Zherdev is unpredictable and Naslund over the past few seasons has shown little resemblance to the player he was. But the makings are there.

We suggested at the trade deadline that the Rangers might be further ahead by trading Jagr, bound for unrestricted free agency, in an effort to speed up this evolutionary process. Although the Rangers and their fans will miss Jagr by the time next spring rolls around, they may be a much better team despite his absence.

After all, that's what letting Jagr walk away was all about, right?

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07-07-2008, 11:21 AM
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I'm sad to see Jagr go, unlike some Rangers fans (which imho boggles my mind -- but that's not my point in this post. I have a new topic here). In the playoffs, and I don't think this is my homerism talking here, Jagr was often the BEST PLAYER on the ice. The best player and not amidst a bunch of scrubs: more of a game breaker and, I argue, better in some games than Malkin, Crosby, Broduer, Drury, Gomez, etc. I truly believe he still has every ability to dominate games in the NHL, at the highest level. As a Rangers fan, I was really looking forward to him coming back because I thought he was very far from done. A generational talent who could still play. Let's see: Shanahan is effective into his late 30s; Chelios into his 40s; Gary Roberts into his 40s. Jagr is 36 and in my estimation fully capable of at least 2 more seasons of elite hockey ability as a top 5 winger. Last season was an aberration and, Rangers fans know, his decline in points had more to do with lack of team chemistry and proper line mates than in any real decline due to age. Can any fans on this message board say with full confidence that he is incapable of returning to 100 point form? I can't. I personally think we should have held onto him -- how often can you find that 100 point winger even though, on this team, which is no longer built to Jagr, he's like fitting a circle in a square peg, but that's not what I'm talking about here. We can debate the virtues of keeping Jagr on this team, as has been done in previous threads, but I'd like to take a broader view. It makes me really sad to lose one of our premiere talents, and somehow who at his age can VERY well still dominate games, to another league. Jaromir Jagr, who can very well still play NHL hockey, will likely never be seen in the NHL again. Am I the only fan who feels like Jagr still has greatness in him? Do any other Rangers fans think it sets a dangerous precedent to lose one of our best players to another league? Am I the only one with a great feeling of loss?
no you are not the only one. when i found out, i was so mad, i kicked a hole in the wall of my living room!

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07-07-2008, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by broadwayblue View Post
The reality is that Jagr wasn't coming back on a 2 year 8MM contract. I'm sure he wanted nearly twice that. Maybe not twice, but there's no way he was coming back for less than 2 years 14 or 15MM.
Jagr said on TSN what many have suspected all along, that the numbers reported were complete fabrication. Omsk is paying Jagr 5 million a year for 2 years according to what he said on TSN's video about him leaving for Russia, so 2 years 8 million might have been enough to get it done.

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07-07-2008, 11:22 AM
  #22
Yellot00tr
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Originally Posted by FutureGM97 View Post
The only people who are going to make a Jagr precedent are the fans. The Team has moved on from Jagr and are building a whole new system around the team. There should be no precedent and no one should think that Naslund or Zherdev is here to replace Jagr because they aren't. They are here to make their own place on the Rangers and to be Markus Naslund and Nikolai Zherdev, not Jaromir Jagr. He is gone. No Precedent because then everyone on this board will begin complaining when the team hits its annual losing stretch in December and everyone will want Jagr back. NO PRECEDENT! MOVE ON!
exactly!
we enjoyed having him and watching him play. when he was at his best, he'd take over a game. the problem is that he wasn't always at his best and admittedly took shifts/games off. it was undoubtedly the right move to go forward without him unless he would've taken a 1 year deal. the problem with keeping him is that u're gonna want to sign guys who can help the rangers make a push for the cup this year and go for broke. it appears that sather and renney were willing to do so for jagr, but only for this year, but once it became clear that jagr wasn't going to sign for just 1 year, they correctly decided to cut the cord, move on, and get younger. i'm not so sure that resigning jagr and then adding a guy like sundin would've put the rangers over the top. not only that, but sundin still hasnt even decided to play yet. i doubt they would've traded for zherdev if jagr had stayed. i'd much rather go into next season with our current team.

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07-07-2008, 11:23 AM
  #23
Vitto79
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Originally Posted by Happy London Ranger View Post
Jagr was far from done. He deserved a 2 year contract - I am not sure I would have given him a 3 year deal.

The argument here (and I am solid Jagr endorser) is that the whole team turns around him and that would be a detriment in the long run. He would have needed to accept a lesser role, maybe not immediately but eventually.

I don't think Messier on his second stint felt diminished not being a front liner.

We would have gotten more out of him if he is playing time was managed.

But we shall never know.

Will he return to play offs. Frankly I now doubt it!

I am in a state of disbelief.
BOTTOM LINE IS JAGR TOOK THE MONEY!

I don't blame him

Sather said he left messages for him to call and never did for 2 days so they signed Naslund for only 4 million over 2 yrs which is a good deal

I am fine and rather happy with the moves made...I think they are a better TEAM w/o Jagr

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07-07-2008, 11:41 AM
  #24
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The problem is Jagr needs to play the whole season the way he plays in the playoffs, he doesn't anymore. I loved him being a Ranger, but we need everyone to play from the drop of the puck till the end of the game like their butts on fire to compete for a SC. Jagr didn't and it does affect the others who do play hard every shift, JMO.

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07-07-2008, 12:08 PM
  #25
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Originally Posted by Happy London Ranger View Post
As anyone who has ever been to Russia in the dead of winter or even spoken to anyone who's ever been there when the sun disappears for days on end could attest, there will no more be a cavalcade of stars heading east than there will be a Stanley Cup parade in Toronto next spring. Unless you lament the absence of Alexander Perezhogin and Alexei Kaigorodov playing third- and fourth-line minutes for an NHL club near you, the eastward exodus is all fantasy, just like recent reports ofEvgeni Malkin preparing to head back to Russia for a mountain of cash.
I think you're underestimating how difficult it is for a young Eastern European player to leave his home, friends and family in his teens. They're not doing it for the nightlife of Columbus, OH or the hot Southern women in Atlanta, GA. They're doing because they want to play in the best hockey league in the world. Currently, that's the NHL.

I think you're also underestimating the power of deep pockets and long term plan. To say that the NHL could never be knocked off as the premier hockey league in the world is shortsighted. If Jagr's departure to the KHL creates the kind of buzz that league officials are banking on, then it's money well spent. The more well known, top talent they lure away, the more credibility it lends to the new league and the better the product gets.

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