Russian team says it has signed Jagr

July 4, 2008 9:03:23 AM PDT
Jaromir Jagr signed with a Russian team a day after his split with the New York Rangers, returning to the club he joined during the NHL's 2004-05 lockout. The Russian League team Avangard Omsk announced the signing of the 36-year-old Czech winger on its Web site Friday, but did not disclose contract terms. A call to Jagr's agent, Pat Brisson, was not immediately returned.

Jagr had long been reported to be considering lucrative offers from Russia. Rangers general manager Glen Sather grew impatient waiting for serious negotiations with Jagr's side and went in another direction Thursday, signing former Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund and making Jagr's return unlikely.

If Jagr had reached 84 points or won a major NHL award this season, his expiring contract would have been automatically extended for one year.

He just missed being league MVP two years ago when he was the runner-up after breaking Rangers records for goals (54) and points (123) in a season.

Though Jagr finished with 71 points this past season, his inspired play over the final weeks of the regular season and his five-goal, 10-assist outburst in 10 postseason games showed he has plenty of game left.

Jagr began his NHL career in 1990 and played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and the Rangers. In 1,273 NHL games, he had 1,599 points on 646 goals and 953 assists.

The Rangers reached the playoffs each of the last three seasons - the past two with Jagr as captain - but didn't get past the second round.

After the Rangers' season ended, Jagr indicated he planned to eventually return to the Czech Republic to play for his hometown club in Kladno.

"I don't think I would sign longer than two years, just because of my dad," Jagr said in May. "He asked me to come home in two years. He's helping to build a new arena there and he wants me to be there."


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