The Hockey News published this today:
Jaromir Jagr said he has no designs on returning to the NHL in the short term, but if he ever did return he would be happy to go back to the Pittsburgh Penguins to play for his former idol, Mario Lemieux.
“I was thinking about it and if Mario would call me and say, ‘I’d like you to play for our team,’ I would think about it a lot,” Jagr said in a telephone interview from Moscow where the Kontinental League will hold its inaugural All-Star Game outdoors at Red Square Saturday. “I would play for the minimum salary. I would play for $350,000 just for him because I owe him my hockey life. I want to pay him back because he has made me what I am... besides my parents.”
Jagr is playing for Avangard Omsk on a two-year deal that pays him $7 million per season and he said he is bound to the contract with Osmk until after the 2009-10 season, so any return to the NHL (or the Czech League) would have to wait until after his 38th birthday.
Speaking of Jagr’s contract, there have been reports circulating through North America that the KHL, which is heavily-subsidized by the partly state-owned company Gazprom, has fallen on extremely hard times because of the global economic crisis and a drop in oil prices and is on the verge of collapse. There are reports that players are taking a 40-percent pay cut across the board, something Jagr says is untrue.
Both The Pensblog and Pens Nation are speculating as well.
While Jaromir Jagr does have a contract in Russia, so did Evgeni Malkin, and we all know how that worked out.
I would love to see Jagr return to the Penguins and, if we was truly willing to play for minimum salary, the Penguins would be stupid not to sign him. I hope Mario Lemieux is on the phone RIGHT NOW calling Jaromir Jagr.
Personality flaws aside, and even though he is in the late stages of his career, Jagr is a great talent. He recorded 71 points last year on the New York Rangers. Having him alongside Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin would be amazing.
I would also love to see Jagr retire a Penguin for emotional reasons. Despite how fun it is to boo Jaromir Jagr when he comes to the Mellon Arena, he is the second greatest Penguins player of all time. His return to the Penguins would allow the team to retire his number without incident and he could complete his legacy in Pittsburgh.
Besides, the Pittsburgh Penguins power play needs help.
Come home Jaromir.
Friday, January 09, 2009
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