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.

Penn State blasted at home by red-hot George Mason

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Penn State blasted at home by red-hot George Mason

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The cheers reverberating from George Mason's locker room came from players experiencing their hottest streak in years. The quiet from Penn State's mirrored the whimper of the Nittany Lions in the second half as their run was snapped.

Marquise Moore scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Otis Livingston added 18 points and the Patriots beat Penn State 85-66 for their sixth straight win and best stretch since 2011-12 on Wednesday.

"It was a great win for our team, really proud of our guys," George Mason coach Dave Paulsen said. "We really, really competed with toughness in the second half, especially I think our second-half defense was really good."

Jalen Jenkins added 15 points for the Patriots (7-3) who snapped Penn State's four-game winning streak.

Penn State led 38-37 after a wild first half that featured 12 lead changes. But the Raiders took control starting with Livingston's 3-pointer that made it 42-40 early in the second. They dominated from there, leading for the remaining 18:58 and outrebounded the Nittany Lions 44-29, outscored them 44-16 in the paint and held a speedy Penn State team to just two fastbreak points.

"We looked young tonight for whatever reason," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We have to figure that out. We have to play much harder."

Payton Banks led Penn State (6-4) with 21 points. Shep Garner and Lamar Stevens chipped in 13 apiece for the Nittany Lions.

The big picture
George Mason: The Patriots are on a roll and keeping pace in a competitive Atlantic 10 conference that had five teams with six wins entering the night. They seem to have flipped a switch following a 93-65 loss to Houston on Nov. 21 and haven't lost since.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions had been winning despite deficiencies in a few areas while making up for them in others over the last four games. They weren't able to make up for their lack of production in the paint, however.

Guards on the glass
Paulsen was wary of the size advantage Penn State's forwards had heading in. The Patriots didn't start anyone over 6-foot-7 while Penn State boasted a trio of forwards at or taller than that. Paulsen was particularly concerned about 6-foot-9 Mike Watkins who was fresh off his best game where he blocked 12 shots against Wright State.

But the George Mason coach had faith in his guards' ability to attack the net and win those rebounds. Moore entered the game as the country's top rebounding guard with 10 per game and posted his sixth double-double of the season.

"We have some pretty good rebounding guards," Paulsen said. "So you can't do it unless you have really active, rebounding guards."

Veteran responsibility
Penn State's gotten big time contributions from a handful of freshmen and started three as usual. But it was one of the veterans who shouldered blame afterward.

Banks was dejected after the game and pointed the finger at himself. Despite leading the team in points, he wasn't able to help on the glass.

"A lot of it just starts with me right here," Banks said. "I had zero rebounds. We can't rely on Lamar (Miller) and Mike for the scoring load and Julian (Moore). Our guards have to rebound and that's what we lacked this game and it definitely showed on the scoreboard."

Up next
George Mason plays at Penn on Saturday and has three of their final five games in 2016 at home.

Penn State plays Pittsburgh in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday and has another on the road before closing out 2016 with a pair of games at home, including the Big Ten opener on Dec. 27.

Instant Replay: George Washington 66, Temple 63

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Instant Replay: George Washington 66, Temple 63

BOX SCORE

With one second on the shot clock, George Washington forward Tyler Cavanaugh let a three-point shot fly from the corner right in front of his bench.

Cavanaugh’s shot hit the bottom of the net to give the Colonials a three-point lead with 8.2 seconds left. Moments later, Temple redshirt senior swingman Daniel Dingle’s open look at a game-tying shot hit off the back of the rim, and George Washington handed the Owls a 66-63 loss on Wednesday at the Liacouras Center.

Temple (6-3) came into the game on a five-game winning streak but looked sluggish from the start. The Owls scored just five points in the game’s first six minutes, 34 seconds.

Temple went into halftime down, 31-25, and trailed George Washington (6-4) by as many as 15 points in the second half. Senior guard Josh Brown hit two threes late in the second half to bring Temple within six. Dingle hit two more to tie the game at 61-61 with 2:44 left. 

Two Cavanaugh free throws followed by a jumper from Temple sophomore guard Shizz Alston Jr. then tied the game at 63-63 with 39.1 seconds left.

The Owls played the game’s final moments without junior forward Obi Enechionyia, who fouled out with 3:41 left.

Enechionyia cooling off
Enechionyia was held in check for the second game in a row. He scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds but made only one basket in the second half.

The junior went 5 of 17 for 12 points against Penn on Saturday. He scored 20-plus points in five of Temple’s first seven games.

Inside the box score
• Colonials guard Jordan Roland came into the game averaging 4.3 points per game. Roland scored 14 points on Wednesday.

• Brown, who played his first game of the season last Wednesday against St. Joe’s, played a season-high 24 minutes. He played a combined 25 minutes in his first two contests.

• George Washington outrebounded Temple, 37-23. The Colonials had 18 turnovers compared to nine for Temple.

Up next
Temple plays DePaul in the Miami Hoophall Invitational on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.