Treason (noun) – The betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery; Jaromir Jagr and Maxime Talbot in Philadelphia.
To cap a week of bizarre twists and turns in a #JagrWatch saga for the ages, Benedict Jaromir spurned the Pittsburgh Penguins organIzation forever on the first day of NHL free agency 2011.
Benedict Talbot soon followed, with his finger to his pursed lips and a "Shhhhhh" sound echoing across the state.
It was enough to make the most forgiving Penguins fan sick to their stomachs.
For Talbot, at least it was understandable in the growing clarity that Max wasn't featured prominently in Pittsburgh's future plans. Injuries and young players in the system had pushed the 2009 Game 7 hero to the brink of usefulness. The Penguins will miss his spunk, charisma, leadership, penalty killing, and his toughness. But, a five year contract for an injury-risk an a borderline NHL-offensive-skill-talent is just ridiculous. The sound of Tampa goaltender Dwayne Roloson's pads engulfing Talbot's Game 6-3rd period breakaway echoes just as loudly across the east coast today.
Perhaps three years from now when Philly GM Ed Snyder is paying $2 million dollar annual checks to a guy who is out of the league, he'll think back to the treacherous summer of 2011 and wonder whether the Sidney Crosby intel that Mad Max brought was worth a Maxed-out Salary Cap.
As for Jagr and his Super Agent, SPECTRE leader Petr Blofeld Svoboda, how sleazy can you get?
After years of staying beyond of the reach of Penguins Celebrity Golf invites while playing in Prague and Siberia, Jaromir races back into the arms of his founding fathers just to shake the financial trees of the NHL's desperate? As all the while Blofeld declares it's not about the money, and that Jagr's heart belongs to Mario and Upper St. Clair? Jags, were you insulted by the $2 million offer and a free ticket to 30 goals while playing alongside either Sid or Geno? Aghast at the guarantee of adoring sentimental fans, a Stanley Cup run, a retired #68 jersey in the Consol Energy Center rafters, and a direct retirement link to millionaire Ron Burkle?
Philadelphia has the largest Pennsylvania Casino. They are closer to the ocean, and Atlantic City for that matter. Manhattan is a hop and skip away. The Flyers have fewer stars to rob a man of his spotlight. The town is not without perks. But the best chance to win?
Have a ball playing with fellow Kladno native Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds.
And welcome your new crown handed over from Barry Lamar Bonds: Most Hated Athlete To Ever Have Once Played In Pittsburgh.