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Jaromir Jagr backs NHL owners after Alex Ovechkin’s lockout condemnation

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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When the lockout ends, Jaromir Jagr's 19th NHL season will begin with the Dallas Stars. He's the kind of veteran player that's made his money, put in his time and isn't exactly on the front lines of the NHLPA's fight to preserve prosperity for subsequent generations.

If that makes him sound less sympathetic to his peers, there's also the fact that Jagr is actually an owner: Playing and operating HC Kladno in the Czech Extraliga.

So mark down Jaromir Jagr as one of the few NHL players that understands — and borderline empathizes — the owners' position in the lockout.

In an interview with hokej.idnes.cz, Jagr said he believes the NHL season will start before December and that the owners are OK with seeing early season games dropped from the schedule. Via Peter Adler and Cult of Hockey, Jagr said:

"Only a few make some money, they face huge competition in American football and baseball. The baseball competition is getting into its playoffs, so, one competitor is gone, and the interest will switch to something else. And that something else is hockey."

But his most interesting comments on NHL owners came when he was asked about Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin's recent tough talk.

Ovechkin, you'll recall, went as far as to threaten that he'll annul his contract if the owners attempt to skim any money off his deal.

From Cult of Hockey, Jagr addressed Ovechkin's comments:

His ownership status must have influenced his answer to the site's question about what he thinks of Alexander Ovechkin's round condemnation of the league. Ovechkin said the owners were trying to "cheat" the players out of paying their existing contracts.

"Cheating. I don't know what he meant by the word. When someone owns something and wants to make as much as possible, you can't call that cheating. You'd have to call a half of the world cheaters. It's simply business.

"True, they need us to do the business, but still, they own it. And another thing: hockey is not the main thing for most of the owners. They make their money elsewhere. Unlike us, hockey players. They set the rules, no doubt about that."

Realist? Defeatist?

Whatever the case, it's a message you've rarely heard from players in 2012. When he left in 2008, he lamented leaving the NHL in a way that a player like Ovechkin isn't during his recent threats.

But Jagr's never exactly marched to their drummer.

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