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Friday, July 1, 2011
Jagr Watch may hurt veteran's NHL rep

By Scott Burnside

After days of courting, Jaromir Jagr landed in ... Philadelphia.

It's hard to believe Jagr and his agent Petr Svoboda could have made more of a hash of the veteran forward's professed desire to return to the NHL than they have over the past few days.

Jagr and his camp made noise that he wanted to close out his professional career by returning to Pittsburgh, where he won two Stanley Cups with now owner Mario Lemieux. Jagr even received a call from the reclusive Lemieux welcoming Jagr back to the fold. Instead, Jagr and Svoboda strung them along for several days without ever coming close to accepting the Penguins' one-year, $2 million offer.

With Detroit and Montreal in the mix for his services, Jagr first appeared to go AWOL when he arrived in New York, with Svoboda telling a couple of media outlets he wasn't sure of Jagr's whereabouts.

Then, after insisting Jagr would make his decision before free agency opened at noon ET on Friday, Svoboda told ESPN.com late Thursday evening there were more teams interested in Jagr and he wouldn't be forced into a timeline on a decision.

We are told Svoboda tried to distance himself from those comments Friday morning, but the Penguins and Red Wings said they had enough and announced publicly they were out of the Jagr sweepstakes.

See ya.

Jagr ended up signing a one-year deal with the Flyers, the Penguins' cross-state rivals. Is that going to be his legacy, being the new Nikolay Zherdev?

In the end, Jagr's behavior, and the behavior of his agent over the past few days, merely reinforces Jagr does what Jagr wants, not necessarily what he says -- no matter the cost to whatever remains of his reputation in the NHL.