The Pittsburgh Penguins look like they have made enormous strides. They have matched the Rangers in two heavy weight matches. In the first they were able to take three blows to the head and then come back with some cheap jabs and then one knockout punch. Yesterday, they held their own in their own corner playing defense until Staal roofed a shot past the King. As much as I think this team does get a massive amount of calls from the reffs and always have, I think that the games haven't been too far out of touch in the Zebra category. Compared to the Devils series were the Rangers had to play 6 on 8 hockey half the series,the Rangers were given a golden opportunity yesterday late and didn't finish. One thing is still clear,the Rangers never fixed their quarterback issue and miss that lethal point shot on the power play.
I have to admit growing up in NY I hated Jagr and the Penguins. I hated Mario and Crack pipe Stevens ( Ok he was on The Rangers) too. You had to hate Barrasso and his not stop crying to the reffs and the the quiet sniper Ron Francis on every face off win. In 1992 when Graves slashed Mario and broke his hand 18,000 Ranger fans booed #66 as he hit the ice. Looking back now I can't ever remember Mario falling to the ice besides that play. The same goes for Jagr, his play off the boards and quick wrist shot almost never involved a flop to the ice.You have to respect players that were that good in an era were the game was that tuff. Jagr would win 5 scoring titles ,two Stanley cups, two Lester B Pearsons,and a Hart trophy as well. He obtained all of these accomplishments while not only shielding off opposing forwards but media scrutiny too.
There is no doubt that Jagr should have won the Hart trophy again in NY,but the title went to Joe Thorton. As if scoring 123 points and putting the Rangers back on the map wasn't enough,he has evolved into a complete player that back checks tremendously. Not only could we have waited for him to sulk and cry when his # 1 center took blood money to play for the Oilers and Capitals ( you decide),but he has mentored a young center Brandon Dubinsky into a coming force in the NHL. Watching yesterdays game against the Pens I sat wondering at how I could ever hated this guy. My thoughts were only further enforced when I watched the Rangers captain stand up and go after Sid the Kid. How fitting "Stand Up" because everyone knows Sid has a problem with that. Not only is the 36 year old looking like the best Ranger on the ice,but is again getting no respect from Mike Millbury (Islanders Murderer). Jagr is hitting and still making plays on the ice as an ungrateful Pittsburgh crowd boos their former captain.
As much as I respect the 2008 Jagr is as much as I cant stand the Pittsburgh fan base. Are they still unhappy that they were handed a # 1 goalie, the best 1 or 2 forward in the game,and a Russian man boy named Malkin? That's no too mention Staal (another PR name) and all the other intangibles that allowed them to steal Marina Hossa at the deadline. Every time that Jagr touches the puck they boo the man who delivered for them twice. He and Peter Nedved winning some of the best classic OT games in NHL history on the way to a possible 3rd title . I could only imagine how many appearances in the Pittsburgh top 10 Games DVD series Jagr will make,and how many plays as well. For years all we heard was that the Penns couldn't afford popcorn at the carnival,and they had to deal players away. Boo Hoo Craig Patrick, as Kovalev was moved,Boo Hoo as Mario had to bail out the club again with his public comeback. Boo Hoo as other small market clubs watched Patrick cry his way to the podium only to take the biggest chop on the plate. But all before the league gave aid to the Penguins to keep them in the city, Patrick moved their captain to D.C. in another bleeding heart move. Patrick shopped the best player in the NHL to the Caps and Rangers and the team bit.That's the story! If he was angry the Pens were moving half their roster,who wouldn't be. Booing him would be like Ranger fans booing Messier after his Vancouver comeback or Oilers fans Booing Gretzky with the Kings.It just shouldn't happen,and we know the two cities who handled themselves appropriately. One day these turncoats with their constant hands out will watch # 68 raise to the roof of their new building. A new building that is in Pittsburgh only because the league kept them there and didn't let them move to KC or Ontario. So the next time you Boo Jagr, cry tears that you still have a team to root for. Cry that you are getting a new building while Islanders fans still sit and wait! But cry sorrows when your one time captain comes back to be treated like he should have been all along.