Published June 21, 2011
| National Hockey League
Could Jaromir Jagr be close to returning to the NHL?
"Sometimes it takes a few hours (to work out a deal), sometimes it takes a week," Jagr told ESPN.com. "I'm not sure how long it's going to take."
The five-time Art Ross Trophy winner hasn't played in the NHL since the end of the 2007-08 season, and has spent the last three seasons playing in Russia.
He won those five scoring titles with the Penguins, the team that drafted him with the fifth pick of the 1990 Entry Draft. He won a pair of Stanley Cups and the 1999 Hart Trophy during his 11 seasons with the Penguins.
Jagr still has ties to Pittsburgh -- "I still have a house there. I was too lazy to sell it," he said -- but said he likes what he sees in both the Penguins and Red Wings.
"Obviously Mario (Lemieux) is the owner. The team they got, (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin, plus other great players, if I went there it would be a lot easier," Jagr said. "But on the other side, Detroit has great players and play closer to my style, a Euro style. That's a plus. And (Nicklas) Lidstrom is there, plus (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg -- great, great players."
Pittsburgh, though, appears to be Jagr's first choice.
"We talked a lot about that (Monday), just Jaromir and I speaking about his days with the Penguins," Svoboda told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Playing again in Pittsburgh is obviously something that's on Jaromir's mind, but I wouldn't say it's the main factor. The main factor for him is having a chance to win again."
Jagr also played for the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers over 17 seasons, and left the NHL 12th all-time in goals with 646 and ninth in points with 1,599. He has more goals and points than any European-born and -trained player in NHL history.
He had 19 goals and 31 assists in 49 games for Avangard Omsk of the KHL this past season, and 9 points in nine games for the Czech Republic at the World Championship.
Only the Red Wings have confirmed their interest in Jagr. The Tribune-Review is reporting Svoboda was planning on speaking with Penguins GM Ray Shero Tuesday about a one-year contract for Jagr, but the Penguins have not spoken publicly about a potential Jagr return.
Svoboda would not reveal the third unnamed team expressing interest in Jagr. Earlier reports had the Capitals, Rangers and Montreal Canadiens showing interest in Jagr. Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier declined to comment when reached by ESPN.com.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK