Jaromir Jagr, Philadelphia Flyer

Jaromir Jagr, Philadelphia Flyer

Well, after rejecting an offer from the Pittsburgh Penguins, legendary Czech winger Jaromir Jagr has signed a 1-year, $3.3 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Jagr is a name that will conjure some pretty mixed emotions in some, and very specific emotions in others. He was one of the best scorers the NHL has ever seen, but you don't get to be "legendary" without also being old. His two Stanley Cup wins with the Penguins were almost 20 years ago. Based on the feedback many Flyers fans are giving to the signing though, it feels like yesterday.

After departing the NHL following the 2007-2008 season, Jagr has has been playing with Avangard Omsk of the KHL. It was widely believed his return landing in North America would be in Pittsburgh, where he spent his first 11 seasons. However, the Pens' offer for his services was said to be $2 million, far less than the $3.3 he got from the Flyers.

Fans may object to both that number and to Jagr the player, whom we've been trained to hate. In addition to playing with the Pens, he's also been a Washington Capital and a New York Ranger.

Throughout most of his NHL career, Jagr was an amazingly gifted goal scorer and playmaker. He's won a league MVP award and been a finalist five other times, and led the league in scoring five different times. The last of those was 2001, but even in 2007-2008, then with the Rangers, Jags scored 25 goals and tallied 46 assists. Two seasons earlier, his first with New York, he had 54 goals and 69 assists. Again though, we're talking about quite a few years ago. Jagr has been productive in Russia, but it remains to be seen how much he has left in the tank.

There's also no telling how he'll fit in here. (Hell, who knows what "here" even means right now. The Flyers look like a completely different team heading into next season.) Will he quickly subscribe to Peter Laviolette's demanding system, or will he be a lazy backchecker and this season's version of Nikolay Zherdev, only with a heftier price tag and a name that fans already hate? With talks stalling between the Flyers and Ville Leino, the Flyers are presumably hoping Jagr can adequately replace something approaching the production Ville contributed at a price less than the reported ~$4 million Leino's camp is looking for. Even at 39, Jagr could both outscore Leino and do more to help his linemates. There's no doubt he'll draw defenders' attention.

[UPDATE: Leino has signed with Buffalo on a huge 6-year, $27 million deal. Good for Ville and all, but it's pretty questionable he's worth that amount, and the signing makes the Jagr deal look a hell of a lot better. Rather than lock up a player with only a short track record of NHL success, all of which came after he came to Philadelphia, the Flyers made a low-risk (in that it's only one year) deal with a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. If you're mad that Jagr is a Flyer for the upcoming season, would you have preferred 6 years of $4.5 million?]

Last night, Anthony SanFilippo of the Daily Times referred to the Flyers' possible signing of Jagr as similar to the Phillies coming along and signing Cliff Lee last winter. While I agree with that from the surprise-attack-on-a-rival angle, the personnel angle really feels like the signing of Pedro Martinez.

We can only hope the results are the same, with Jagr winning over the fans that have loved to hate him for the past two decades. And, just as we wrapped up putting together this post, there's news that the Flyers have signed another former Penguin—center Max Talbot…

Anyone want to go on the record with some projections for Jagr's goals/assists/points this season?

Photo credit Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE.

Phillies can exhale after bullpen nearly blows 10-0 lead

Phillies can exhale after bullpen nearly blows 10-0 lead

BOX SCORE

The moment when the ball struck first baseman Tommy Joseph’s glove for the final out of the Phillies 10-8 win over the Mets — dealing a major blow to their rival’s wild card hopes in the process — felt more like a collective exhalation than a moment of celebration (see Instant Replay).
 
Two days earlier, the bullpen faltered suddenly. A game-tying two-run homer by Jose Reyes in the ninth was the first body blow. The game-winning three-run homer by Asdrubal Cabrera was the knockout.
 
Saturday, the collapse occurred over the course of five innings as the Phillies let a lead that was once 10-0 slip away, one drawn-out at-bat after another.
 
Missing, of course, was the moment of impact in the proverbial slow-motion car crash, thanks to well-placed sinkers and four-seamers from Michael Mariot.
 
“The bullpen’s been sputtering,” manager Pete Mackanin said in an understatement.
 
Joely Rodriguez entered in the sixth inning with a 10-4 lead to face a string of lefties and it quickly became apparent that he did not have his fastball. A middle-in four-seamer that caught too much of the plate was slapped for a double by Mets shortstop Gavin Cecchini, his first major-league hit and a run. A second run scored when a little dribbler by third baseman T.J. Rivera died on the third base line, leaving Rodriguez with no play.
 
“He just didn’t throw quality strikes,” Mackanin said.
 
Even the normally-reliable Hector Neris struggled on Saturday. In his 77th outing of the season, Neris walked two straight batters and then surrendered an RBI double to Cecchini of his own which narrowed the lead to 10-7 and thrust the uncertainty of a save situation onto Mackanin.
 
Mariot was given first crack at the ninth inning one day after Mackanin said he would give Jeanmar Gomez a break from closing duties.
 
Mariot’s audition got off to a rough start. He gave up a pinch-hit solo home run to Jay Bruce — who had been mired in an 0-15 slump — with one out in the ninth and then walked Eric Campbell and Michael Conforto after a pair of grueling at-bats that lasted a combined 18 pitches.
 
The two hitters fouled off eight of Mariot’s pitches and took several four-seamers that just missed the plate.
 
“I was pretty upset about that,” Mariot said of the four-seamers that missed. “I was hoping to get at least a swing or maybe a call on those. Talking to [catcher] A.J. [Ellis], I think he said that they missed but I was hoping at least one of them to get called a strike.”
 
Gomez was up in the Phillies’ bullpen but Mariot ensured that Mackanin wouldn’t need to throw the recently-struggling closer back into the fire in a high-stress situation.
 
Mariot was able to locate his fastball when he needed to most. He fooled Lucas Duda with a two-seamer that the slugger popped out to Freddy Galvis and got Travis D’Arnaud to ground a four-seamer outside right back to him.
 
“I just told myself: ‘keep throwing strikes and good things will happen,’” Mariot said.
 
He threw just enough strikes to ensure that the Phillies didn’t end up on the wrong end of what would have been the Mets’ biggest comeback in team history.

Find great deals on Philadelphia Phillies tickets with TicketIQ. Buy cheap Phillies tickets with no hidden fees for all games on their 2016 schedule. 

College football wrap: Auburn upsets No. 18 LSU with controversial finish

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College football wrap: Auburn upsets No. 18 LSU with controversial finish

AUBURN, Ala. -- Gus Malzahn was ready to try anything to get a win for his Auburn Tigers.

Malzahn relinquished offensive play-calling duties. Following his daughters' advice, he traded his usual game-day visor for a cap. And then, when the clock expired and LSU players were celebrating an apparent last-second win, the Auburn coach put all his faith in a ruling he couldn't control.

Daniel Carlson kicked six field goals and Auburn beat No. 18 LSU 18-13 on Saturday night after officials ruled Danny Etling's apparent last-gasp scoring pass came after time expired.

Malzahn said he knew there were only zeroes on the clock before the snap to Etling.

"I was pretty confident time had expired," Malzahn said. "It was just a matter of going to the booth and confirming it."

Etling rolled to his right and found D.J. Shark in the back of the end zone on a 15-yard pass, setting off a short-lived celebration by LSU players (see full recap).

Hornibrook proves he's ready in Badgers' win over Spartans
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- By the time Alex Hornibrook's first start was over, there wasn't much question about whether he could handle one of the toughest road tests in the Big Ten.

Hornibrook threw for 195 yards and a touchdown, and 11th-ranked Wisconsin turned its early-season showdown with No. 8 Michigan State into a rout, beating the Spartans 30-6 on Saturday.

"You've got to have respect for a guy whose first start is against a Michigan State defense," Wisconsin running back Corey Clement said.

"He's going to come out the next game and do even better. I think he's just getting his feet wet."

The freshman quarterback outplayed fifth-year senior Tyler O'Connor, his Michigan State counterpart. The Badgers (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) were the better team in the first half and then outscored the Spartans 17-0 in the third quarter (see full recap).

No. 23 Rebels find their rhythm, beat No. 12 Georgia 45-14
OXFORD, Miss. -- Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly faked the handoff and then took off running toward the end zone. A few seconds and 41 yards later, the quarterback had cruised through the middle of the Georgia defense and into the end zone untouched.

It was pretty much that easy for the Rebels all afternoon. Ole Miss finally built a lead it couldn't give away.

No. 23 Ole Miss rolled to a 45-14 victory over No. 12 Georgia on Saturday, building a 31-0 lead by halftime and a 45-0 advantage by midway through the fourth quarter.

Kelly threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns. Ole Miss (2-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) broke a 10-game losing streak in the series dating to 1996 (see full recap).

Dobbs rallies No. 14 Vols to 38-28 win over No. 19 Gators
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- This time, Tennessee delivered the comeback.

And in the process, the Volunteers took out 11 years' worth of frustration on Florida.

Joshua Dobbs accounted for five second-half touchdowns Saturday and No. 14 Tennessee erased a 21-point deficit to beat No. 19 Florida 38-28 and end their 11-game losing streak in the annual series.

"I didn't see anybody blink," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "Nobody flinched. They just kept playing."

This marks the first time Tennessee (4-0, 1-0 SEC) has beaten Florida (3-1, 1-1) since 2004. The Volunteers had lost to Florida by one point each of the last two years despite leading in the fourth quarter of both games (see full recap).