Jagr gets real; Retirement, regrets, & ‘If you’re satisfied, you’re done’

PITTSBURGH — This article originally appeared on PittsburghHockeyNOW.com.

Sunday afternoon, Jaromir Jagr will watch his No. 68 raised to the rafters at PPG Paints Arena, just the third number retired in the 56-year history of the Pittsburgh Penguins. His jersey will hang beside idol and teammate Mario Lemieux as the Penguins and Jagr bring a long relationship that has been all things loving, strained, and wistful to a proper celebration.

PHOTOS: Jaromir Jagr’s career with the Pittsburgh Penguins

In a sweeping press conference conducted first in English and then Czechian, Jagr didn’t hide some regrets or his relief at being welcomed back to what he called his hockey home.

There was the will he-won’t he saga of 2011 in which it appeared Jagr was ready to re-sign with the Penguins after a several-year stint in the KHL. However, Jagr eventually signed with the rival Philadelphia Flyers not out of spite for Pittsburgh fans booing him for years, but because the Penguins were too good and he wanted a primary role.

“The Penguins had such a great team. (Sidney Crosby) had his line … Geno had his line, and I felt like I would probably play the third and fourth line. I felt like I wouldn’t get to have a chance to show what I can do,” said Jagr. “The opportunity to come to Philadelphia … I felt this is the this is a perfect fit for me, you know? I wasn’t thinking about, ‘I’m coming home to Pittsburgh.’

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