PITTSBURGH - The young Jaromir Jagr used to talk about his admiration for Ronald Reagan.
He was a fan of other U.S. Presidents, too, especially those whose faces appear on currency.
Jagr is about the money. In that context, it's no surprise that he liked the Philadelphia Flyers' offer of $3.3 million much better than the $2 million the Penguins were willing to pay.
The sentimental value of finishing his career where it started and having his idol, Mario Lemieux, as his boss?
You find the casino that accepts sentiment chips, and maybe there's a deal.
Penguins fans spent weeks debating whether they wanted Jagr; they apparently never considered that he might not want the Penguins.
So the announcement of his one-year deal with the Flyers prompted an early round of fireworks.
In all likelihood, this is Jagr's last NHL deal. He's 39, and he's been out of the league for three years, playing a shorter season overseas.
Before Penguins fans fire up the "aw, who needs him anyway" rationalization, he could have helped a power play that needs it.
That's why coach Dan Bylsma wanted him and GM Ray Shero budgeted for him.
Jagr listened. He found an offer he liked better, and he took it.
That's the American way.
The kid from the Czech Republic learned that early.
He got how much?
Congratulations to Max Talbot, who got crazy money from the Flyers.
The Penguins were never going to commit five years or $9 million to him. He found that deal in Philadelphia.
He's a part of Penguins history for his two goals in Game Seven of the 2009 Stanley Cup final, but he really didn't do much after that. He had 10 goals and 28 points in his last 127 regular season games.
There was a stretch last year when Talbot had one goal in 37 games, and that was into an empty net.
You can argue that he was always more of a defensive specialist, but a forward who averages almost 14 minutes per game has to do more.
Living up to the catch phrase in one of his commercials, Talbot got "superstar treatment" from the Flyers.
What a re-Ward!
The turnout for the city's rally to recognize Hines Ward for winning "Dancing With The Stars" proves one thing: You could have a Steeler blowing up balloons and it will draw a crowd.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org