Jagr storyline adds to Pens-Flyers rivalry
Rob Longley, QMI AGENCY
|Philadelphia Flyers Jaromir Jagr and Pittsburgh Penguins Craig Adams get tangled up in the first period of their NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania April 1, 2012. (REUTERS/Jason Cohn)
PITTSBURGH - They haven't even dropped the puck yet and there's plenty of hate to go around in the Battle of Pennsylvania.
Flyers assistant coach Craig Berube was among the chorus to criticize Penguins star Sidney Crosby in recent weeks and threw in a shot at Evgeni Malkin for good measure.
There was the brawling late in the regular season, when Flyers rookie Brayden Schenn clocked Sid the Kid from behind. And there's the overall disdain from being intra-state rivals.
But what about Philly sniper Jaromir Jagr, who will kick off the playoffs by returning to where he won five scoring titles?
Though he has been back in the regular season, Jagr's presence in the Flyers lineup is sure to generate some negative response at the Consol Energy Center.
"In my opinion, I didn't do anything wrong to hurt anybody," Jagr told reporters in Philly Tuesday, when asked about the perception in Pittsburgh that he snubbed his old home when he decided to return to the NHL. "I've answered the question a million times. This is the last time I'm going to answer this.
"I felt (going to the Flyers) was going to be my best choice because this was a brand new team with a lot of new pieces and I was going to have a fair chance."
Reading between the lines, Jagr's point was that going back to Pittsburgh would have put him well down the star list, behind both Malkin and Crosby.
"I might have been playing on a third or fourth line and I didn't come back to play on a third or fourth line," said Jagr, who had 19 goals and 35 assists in 73 games. "I'm no good there."