Jagr says he wants to give Russia a shot

Updated: November 8, 2004, 8:31 PM ET
Associated Press

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Jaromir Jagr is leaving the Czech league to play in Russia during the NHL lockout.

The New York Rangers forward signed with Omsk Avangard of the Russian league early Sunday and is to leave for Russia by the end of the week, the daily newspaper Sport said Monday.

"I want to try it," said Jagr, who has been playing for his native town Kladno. "Maybe I'll be back within a month."

The Canadian Press also reported Jagr's signing Monday.

More than 50 Czech players, including stars Milan Hejduk, Patrik Elias and Tomas Vokoun, returned home during the lockout.

The Rangers told The Associated Press they did not know about the switch. A call to Avangard's offices was not answered.

A competing Russian club, AK Bars Kazan, reached deals with Brad Richards and Nikolai Khabibulin of the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning as well as wing Alexei Kovalev of the Montreal Canadiens.

They join a star-studded lineup at Kazan that also includes Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers, Vincent Lecavalier of the Lightning, Nik Antropov of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Darius Kasparaitis of the Rangers, Ruslan Salei of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Fred Brathwaite of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Denis Arkhipov of the Predators and Alexei Morozov of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press