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Bruins GM says free agent Jagr, two others will not return for next season

The SportsXchange

While the Chicago Blackhawks are celebrating their second Stanley Cup championship, the team they beat has begun to make a number of changes.

The Boston Bruins announced Wednesday, two days after losing to the Blackhawks, that they will not bring back at least three and potentially more players from this past season's team.

The biggest name that won't be returning is Jaromir Jagr, who was acquired early in the season as insurance and back-up support.

But with Jagr set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 5 and seeking a contract equal to his most current $6 million per season pact, the Bruins have decided to bid adieu to him -- and whatever money he might ask for.

"I don't think I will (return)," Jagr told reporters following the team's final meeting before breaking for the off-season on Wednesday. "Maybe if I would score 20 goals in the playoffs, it would be a different story. I was 20 short."

Jagr, who scored just two goals and 17 assists in his 33-game tenure with the Bruins, told reporters that he hopes to return for another season with a different team, but the Czech native will be 42 next season.

"I want to do it [play in the NHL again], I love this game so much that's for sure," Jagr said. "So I don't want to go back to Czech yet."

Two other Bruins who will also be free agents, Andrew Ference and Jay Pandolfo, won't be returning to the team, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said.

"We'll find the right mix," Chiarelli told the media. "But we do have some hard decisions to make, including deciding on re-signing players and deciding on retaining players."

Chiarelli told reporters he still hopes to re-sign forward Nathan Horton, an unrestricted free agent, and goalie and restricted free agent Tuukka Rask, invariably using some of the money that he will likely save from not resigning Jagr and the other two players.

Horton, who is due to have upcoming surgery to repair a separated shoulder, has said he wants to return to the Bruins.

"I have enjoyed my time here," Horton said. "Two out of the three years I've been here we've been in the Stanley Cup and we won one time. I've said a million times the guys in the room are amazing and it's been a lot of fun. I really enjoy every player on the team."

Having Horton return would make Chiarelli happy.

"I've told him that I'd like him to come back," Chiarelli said. "We'll see how it goes."

Although the NHL salary cap is due to decrease heading into the 2013-14 season, Chiarelli said he will not pursue any buyouts of existing contracts, either.

"When you make a decision to try and bring back guys that are on the eve of free agency, you'd like to think that you can make the right decision before the last possible moment," Chiarelli said. "Usually, that's what I try and do.

"There are so many balls in the air this year, and then with the cap going down. I try to be proactive on stuff and I try to get ahead of stuff, and this year it was too hard. It's not the ideal way, but I'm going to try to push through it now."

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