Jagr finds new opportunity with Devils
How many teams did you look at before you settled on the Devils?
Jagr: Don't forget, I'm 41 years old, so I don't have many options. There's not many teams looking for a forward that's 41 years old, especially with the salary cap going down … from the last year. There's a lot of teams that sign a lot of players, there's not many with salary cap room left. There were three, four teams with some kind of interest.
What appeals to you about the Devils?
Jagr: I think Lou [Lamoriello] contacted my agent, Petr Svoboda, and asked him if I would be willing to play for the New Jersey Devils. If I would be interested to play for the Devils, that was, I think, the first question. In my stage, because I love the game, I was looking for the team where I was going to have an opportunity to play. I was talking to Lou even before [Ilya] Kovalchuk retired. After he retired, I think there was even more opportunity for me to play on the Devils' roster.
You've played with so many different teams across North America and Europe, do you see yourself as kind of a hockey nomad? Do you like playing in different places?
Jagr: If I like it or not, is not the question. I'd rather play for one team, stay there through my whole hockey career. There's not many players lucky like that. Only a few play for one team their whole career. On the other side, you meet a lot of players, you meet a lot of people, you get to know a lot of other people. The way I take it is, I always take the positives.
What are your feelings going into an 82-game season as opposed to last year's shortened season?
On the one side I have to agree with you, but on the other side, I don't. I know it was a short [NHL] season, but for me personally, it was the longest season I've ever played. I played 105 games when I put together Europe (HC Kladno) and the NHL, plus the playoffs. It was my longest season ever. I played the most games I've ever played in one season. It's going to [feel like] a short season for me next year.
What was your desire to stay in the NHL. Did you think about maybe going back to Russia at any point?
There was only one thing on my mind this year: I wanted to stay in the NHL. I was happy there was at least three, four teams that were interested. But if there weren't [interested teams], I would probably have come to tryout or go back to my city in Czech Republic. I wasn't thinking of the KHL at all. Maybe the KHL in Prague, that would be a different story because I could play in the Czech. I don't think I would [have gone] to Russia.
Was it important to you to stay on the East Coast?
I told my agent I would rather stay in this conference, it's a lot easier for traveling. I didn't mind it at all in Dallas. It was no problem, but I think it's a lot easier to play in this conference. I'm used to it. I told my agent I would rather stay here, but if there's no team interested in this conference and one interested in the other conference, I would go there.