After the video — set to AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock We Salute You” — finished, Jagr tapped his heart with his glove and saluted the crowd in return.
“The truth always comes up,” Jagr said. “It’s just a matter of time. Sometimes you just have to suffer for a long time.”
Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux said during the NHL All-Star weekend that he envisioned a scenario where Jagr’s No. 68 would eventually hang from the rafters at PPG Paints Arena.
Asked for his reaction to those comments, Jagr paused for more than 40 seconds, searching for the appropriate words.
“What happened was a long time ago,” Jagr started. “It was one-sided. I never really felt anything bad about the organization or the fans, even though they were booing me all the time, every time I touched the puck.
“I think there was a lot of mis-leads when I left. Nobody knew what really happened. You have to understand, the media is a very powerful thing. It’s not about me. Social media is so big. People reading it started believing it.”
As he did during an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in October 2016, Jagr conveyed a ton of gratitude to the organization that drafted him, for the chance they gave to how the Penguins shaped his game.
That remains to this day, as relations between the Penguins, their fan base and one of the city’s most iconic athletes have seemingly warmed.
“There became such a huge hole between me and the organization,” Jagr said. “I felt bad for the organization. They did everything they could. They gave me a chance to play hockey in the NHL. They made me the player I am.
"It doesn’t matter how [the Penguins or their fans] felt about me. I never felt bad about them.”
Jason Mackey: email@example.com and Twitter @JMackeyPG.
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