February 10, 2009
There's been a constant hum this season about Jaromir Jagr leaving the KHL (and why would anyone think to leave that paradise, what with its incredible health benefits?) and returning to North America. What made David Staples's report on Cult of Hockey today different than the usual Jagr rumors was its immediacy:
A source close to Czech hockey ace Jaromir Jagr says that Jagr is close to finalizing negotiations with the Edmonton Oilers, reports Euro-hockey expert Peter Adler.
The source would not say when Jagr would report to Edmonton, how much he would be paid, or how long he would sign for. Jagr is now playing with Omsk in the financially-troubled Kontinental Hockey League. With news that Lubomir Visnovsky will be out for the season with an injury, the Oilers now have several million dollars free to spend under the salary cap.
Oilers hockey ops boss Kevin Lowe is indicating that Czech hockey ace Jaromir Jagr, 37, isn't coming to Edmonton -- at least not this season, reports Euro-hockey expert Peter Adler. "Jaromir is under contract in the KHL," Lowe told Adler.
Jagr has also told Czech national team coach Vladimir Ruzicka he will be playing for the Czech team at the world championships in May.
It's been widely reported that Jagr signed a deal with Omsk with a "no-out clause" for the first two years of the contract. That obviously doesn't mean Jagr and Omsk couldn't find a way out of the deal by next season, if Jaromir's truly had enough of the 'K'.
You'll recall Jagr was linked to the Oilers last summer, so hearing a potential return to the NHL with the Oil isn't all that stunning. But if it does happen ... how, exactly, does the upstart KHL spin this one? Wouldn't this be like if Mia Hamm had bolted from that women's soccer league? You know, before it folded?