The St. Louis Blues knew they were going to be a little depleted going into the 2017-18 season. They tried one last effort to sign a high profile player and failed. Perhaps we were too hard on all involved.
When the St. Louis Blues were rumored to be interested in signing Jaromir Jagr prior to the 2017-18 season, there were widespread reactions on both sides of the fence. Some were ecstatic at the prospect of bringing in a future Hall of Fame player. Others were astounded the Blues would go after someone with his age at this point in his career.
One thing was fairly common among fans when the deal did not happen though. There was pretty widespread disappointment. The main difference was who the disappointment was aimed at.
There were those that were mad at the player. The perception, at the time, was that Jagr was spurning the city and the team in favor of a perceived younger, more athletic team.
The other side was mad at the Blues themselves. The perception there was they either low-balled Jagr or even potentially wanted him to sign a pro-tryout contract, which Jagr would have felt beneath him.
The reason some (including myself) thought that, was because he came out and said that people should know what kind of player they are getting without a tryout at this point in his career. Usually you don’t say that unless there was an offer of a PTO and most reports only had the Blues and Flames going after him, with a team here or there mixed in.
Now that the dust has settled and each team have gone their respective ways, there was a chance for Jagr to discuss the situation after the two teams clashed in Calgary. Apparently the Blues were pretty close to having a 68 sweater hang in their locker room.
“You know what, it was very close. Very close,” Jagr told the media and was reported by Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch. “It just didn’t happen. I had to make a decision in probably two, three hours, and I made this decision.”
As fans, we are perfectly entitled to be upset that he did not pick our team. However, speaking for myself alone, I feel a little bit bad that I reacted so heavily at the time.
When the signing with Calgary happened, I was one of the few that was upset with all parties. I felt Jagr only wanted to say he played in Canada – something he did admit to – and would have had a better chance at winning in St. Louis. I also felt the Blues probably put on a show for the public but probably did not get very close to actually signing Jagr.
If we are to believe what he says, and I’m not sure why he’d lie at this point, then I was wrong. The Blues did come close and he actually did consider the Note. Additionally, his reasoning for going to Calgary was not out of reason.
Jagr wanted to go somewhere he’d be comfortable and comfort usually comes with knowing someone. Calgary’s coach, Glen Gulutzan, was the coach in Dallas when Jagr was with the Stars.
“At my age, I felt very comfortable to go somewhere where at least I know somebody as a coach,” Jagr said in that same Post-Dispatch article. As much as we might have wanted to see him in St. Louis, can we really blame him for that?
Wouldn’t any one of us like to work with/for someone we already know instead of a foreign situation? Most of us would, if we are honest.
So, I apologize to the team and the player. I don’t think anyone else has to. Every person can feel what they want about the situation.
However, given the facts at hand, I think everyone did their best at the time. The Blues just did not get the benefit of the doubt is all.
The best revenge at this point is to simply keep on winning and go farther than the Flames do.