Jagr Signs With Flyers: Why Do Pens Fans Think It's Such A Big Deal?

Yesterday, Penguins legend Jaromir Jagr signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, the team who Pens fans see as their biggest rival. I get why that would sting. A beloved player, who was a part of great success and now he's wearing the jersey of your rivals. I can see how, in a vacuum, that would bug someone. In fact, The New York Times compared this to Brett Favre playing for the Vikings or Roger Clemens becoming a Yankee.

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The signing of Jagr and Talbot by Philadelphia is comparable in shock value, and perhaps as an act of betrayal in the eyes of fans, to Brett Favre’s signing with the Minnesota Vikings after spending most of his career with the Green Bay Packers, and with the Red Sox icons Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon becoming Yankees.

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However, this is Jaromir Jagr we're talking about, not Brett Favre. It's far from the first time he's signed with a rival. Jagr left the Penguins in 2001 when he signed the largest contract in NHL history with the Washington Capitals, who were Patrick division rivals of the Pens for over 10 years. Four years later, he would head to the Pens Atlantic division rival New York Rangers. He's really only ever played for rivals of the Penguins.

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So while I get the Flyers are a big rival and there is some extra annoyance because the reports were that he wanted to return to Pittsburgh, but this is really nothing new for Penguins fans. In fact, this is very much the norm. All he has to do is play for the Devils and he's got the old Patrick division pretty much wrapped up.

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So really, this isn't like Brett Favre playing for the Vikings. It's like Brett Favre playing for the Lions, then the Bears, then leaving the NFL for the CFL, then coming back and playing for the Vikings. Sure, he's playing for a rival, but what does it matter anymore?

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