The Penguins' removal of Jaromir Jagr's name and likeness from the Ring of Honor above the team's dressing room at Consol Energy Center is petty beyond description and says a lot about the insecurities of the current hockey staff.
Jagr is the second-greatest player in club history. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin haven't caught Jagr yet.
Sure, Jagr is still active. Yeah, he eliminated the Penguins in each of the last two playoffs. So what? The Ring of Honor is about what Jagr accomplished as a Penguin.
Jagr did plenty: 439 goals, 640 assists, 1,079 points. Each figure ranks second all-time among Penguins players, trailing only Mario Lemieux.
No knock on Mark Recchi, who has replaced Jagr in the Ring of Honor. Recchi probably should have been so honored in the first place.
But it's hard to imagine how Jagr's peripheral presence so flustered somebody in the Penguins' organization that the need was felt to excise his legacy in this most picayune of fashions. That Ring of Honor, regardless of its membership, doesn't affect the current Penguins' on-ice performance in any remote way.
Somebody should own up to this. Nobody will.
But I don't mind speaking bluntly: These Penguins have a long way to go to catch Jagr's Penguins. At the very least, they trail two Cups to one.
And these Penguins have to accomplish a lot more before anyone joins Craig Patrick, Badger Bob Johnson and Scotty Bowman in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
One would think the achievements of the Jagr era would provide inspiration. But who needs inspiration when you've got conceit? Who needs Cups when you've got narcissism?
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