Here’s a little column by Dejan Kovacevic for the Trib, who describes certain aspects of the Jaromir Jagr / Penguins / JFK airport / Petr Svoboda situation as “embarrassing”:
First, agent Petr Svoboda said Wednesday was going to be Decision Day. Ray Shero, the Penguins’ GM, openly stated that he, too, expected a decision on his one-year offer on that same day.
Then, the agent says Jagr will deliver his decision within an hour of landing at JFK.
Then, the turtles.
Then, Jagr’s whereabouts become unknown to the point that even Svoboda embarrassingly admits that he doesn’t know where his client is. But still, more promises come that the decision will be today.
And now, Svoboda casually declares that a couple other teams have poked their heads into the hole and that a decision might not come today.
I understand that the free agency deadline is coming but, but I can’t help but wonder if we’d be having responses like this to this situation 10 years ago, when the news cycle was much slower. Yes, Svoboda not knowing Jagr’s exact whereabouts is, I suppose, mildly embarrassing, given that Jagr was supposed to be making a decision.
But it’s not that embarrassing. Jagr is an athlete with a life and a mind of his own, and if he wants to delay making a major decision by, what, 24 hours, that’s really his prerogative, and 20 years ago, it’s likely that the only people who would have noticed or cared much are journalists like Kovacevic. His paper, the Trib, has been the one most on top of the Jagr situation – the number of links to the Trib’s coverage in this storystream is evidence of that – and though no fault of their own, they have little of consequence to show for it, because Jagr still hasn’t signed.
Meanwhile, certain quarters of the Pens' fanbase have all but gone nuts, spreading every imaginable rumor about Jagr and all but stalking him as he made his way to the United States Wednesday. If there’s anything that’s ridiculous about this situation, I would say it’s all the rumor-mongering, not the fact that a player who’s probably jet-lagged is taking 24 hours longer than expected to make a decision. If everyone relaxes a bit, this will be over soon enough.