With contract, Jagr's options are open
NEW YORK -- It appears Jaromir Jagr has already made plans for a lockout.
The All-Star right wing of the New York Rangers told the New York Daily News that he has a conditional contract in place that will enable him to play in Russia next fall should the opening of the 2004-05 NHL season be delayed by a lockout.
"There's a big chance I might be going to Moscow," Jagr said, naming Dynamo Moscow and the famed CSKA club as his likely teams.
Asked if he had a deal in place, Jagr said: "Yeah. It might be the best league in the world besides the NHL."
The NHL's collective bargaining agreement expires in September and many believe a lockout for the 2004-05 season is looming. Jagr's decision to play in Russia may become a growing trend among players, who have the option of playing for numerous European leagues.
Jagr had 15 goals and 14 assists in 31 games with the Rangers after being acquired Jan. 23 from the Washington Capitals. But his addition did not prevent the Rangers from missing the playoffs for the seventh straight year. Overall, he had 31 goals and 43 assists in 77 games.
Jagr was bothered by a strained hip flexor in the final month of the season, but is expected to return to his native Czech Republic for the World Cup next fall.
Jagr, 32, has four years remaining on a seven-year, $77 million contract.
A five-time NHL scoring champion, Jagr has 537 goals and 772 assists in 1,027 games. He had 62 goals and 87 assists for a career-best 149 points in 1995-96 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and added seasons of 127, 121 and 102 points.