Jagr mulls Olympics if NHL talks fail

Prague (AFP) –


Czech ice hockey legend Jaromir Jagr said Tuesday he would consider playing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea if his talks on an NHL future failed.

"I would have to be ready and be good, but if I were and the coaches asked me, I would say yes, of course," the 45-year-old right wing told Czech Television.

"I don't feel like it right now, but... on the other hand I would have a lot of time to get ready," said Jagr, who is now in talks on his next season in the NHL.

Jagr, who announced his international retirement after the world championships in Prague in 2015, led the Czech Republic to world titles in 2005 and 2010, and to a surprise win at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

Those were the first Games for which the NHL released its players -- something it is reluctant to do next year.

"That would boost my chances of making the national team," Jagr said.

Second in the NHL's all-time points statistics behind Canadian legend Wayne Gretzky, Jagr spent the last two seasons with the Florida Panthers, who made him available after failing to reach the NHL playoffs this year.

Having won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in his first two seasons in 1991 and 1992, Jagr has played for Washington, the New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston and New Jersey in his 23 NHL seasons.

He also spent three seasons in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League in 2008-2011.

Media linked him with the Calgary Flames earlier this summer, but Jagr refused to say which club was the closest.

"I still have a few days before the camp starts, but even if we don't make it before the camp, I hope I will get a chance somewhere," Jagr said.

"There are many teams which don't have a complete roster."

"I love NHL hockey, that's why I'm willing to wait," added Jagr, who has collected 1,914 points for 765 goals and 1,149 assists in 1,711 NHL games.

He is fourth overall in NHL games played, only 56 games behind leader Gordie Howe.

"The most important thing for me is to have fun, to extend my NHL career," said Jagr, five-time winner of the Art Ross trophy for the regular-season points leader.

"But if I'm close to someone in the statistics, it would be a shame to miss the opportunity."