For the past two years the NHL has ridden the “history will be made” ad campaign during the playoffs. It’s a marketing scheme that’s at times been ridiculed because of its sheer frequency, with game-winning goals in Game 3 of the first round showcased as everlasting heroic achievements.
Overall the classic moments have been well received though. But now it seems the Pittsburgh Penguins are bent on tweaking the NHL’s mantra.
In Pittsburgh, history will come back.
The Penguins are planning to pave the way for Jaromir Jagr’s triumphant return to the team that drafted him fifth overall 21 years ago. But let’s not get carried away here, because this isn’t a return to the ice, or at least it maybe, probably, most likely isn’t.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review spelled out the efforts currently being made by the Penguins to re-open communication with Jagr and preserve his legacy with the franchise. Jagr is currently playing for the Czech Republic in the World Hockey Championships, and he doesn’t have a contract in the KHL for next season. He scored 66 goals and 146 points over 155 games during his three years with Omsk Avangard,
Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero plans to meet with Jagr in Slovakia where the World Championships are underway and invite him to the organization’s annual summer golf outing, which will serve as a reunion for Pittsburgh’s 1991 championship team. Waxing poetically about one of the city’s former hockey heroes, the Tribune compared Jagr’s potential homecoming–which is the tentative title given to this communication–to Terry Bradshaw symbolically rejoining the Steelers in 2002.
In other words, this will likely mean nothing to anyone outside of Pittsburgh. We all know that the only true symbolism in pro sports comes in the form of Michael Jordan-esque comebacks, in which the aging, perhaps faded former superstar laces ‘em up for one last season, only to get steamrolled by Alex Ovechkin.
Jagr, 39, has not committed to playing hockey next season. He has not ruled out that possibility.
Whatever the motivation, let’s see what a few of those 1991 Pittsburgh champions can offer.
We all know about some guy named Mario, and the likes of Kevin Stevens, Larry Murphy, and Tom Barrasso. But it’s the role players like Paek that will really make the difference. He only played three games for the Pens in ’91, but his rich fighting legacy lives on. Who else is going to tussle with Rob Ray if the Sabres hold a “golf tournament” too?
This Pittsburgh team needs some hjinx not only in the locker room, but especially on the ice during the dog days of a long season. Hrdina is original and creative, and he’s always willing to put in that extra effort for a truly rare moment.
Don Cherry doesn’t have nearly enough to talk about. Good ol’ Ulfie can fix that, but it’ll mean the Don will revert to wearing the suits of a normal human, and that’s not acceptable.
McEachern actually didn’t come to Pittsburgh until the following year, but we’ll make an exception because of his keen sense for NHL douchbaggery. In a league that abides by the gospel of Mike Richards, hunting and eradicating the weasels is of the utmost importance.
We have to bring Recchi out of retirement! That guy is the balls. The Penguins are just one of the eight teams he’s played for, and I’m sure he’d love to return for a fifth time.
Wait, he’s still playing?