What began as deadline day for the Pittsburgh Penguins and their pursuit of 39-year-old forward Jaromir Jagr has instead been filled with lingering questions about Jagr's potential return to the NHL, his actual whereabouts late Wednesday and the interest of his former team in securing his services for the 2011-12 season.
Jagr was supposed to arrive in New York on Wednesday with a definitive decision on whether he would accept the Penguins' reported offer of one year and $2 million, or if he wanted to sign elsewhere, be it in the NHL or back in Russia, where he played the last three seasons. He has also reportedly received interest from Detroit and Montreal.
Jagr can't sign a contract with an NHL team until noon ET on Friday.
However, Jagr's agent, Petr Svoboda, told the Detroit Free Press that he could not confirm his client's whereabouts Wednesday night.
"I don't know if he missed a connection," Svoboda told the newspaper after 8 p.m. ET. "I have no clue."
Red Wings GM Ken Holland told NHL.com late Wednesday he had not heard from Jagr's camp and was not aware of the player's whereabouts.
Penguins GM Ray Shero told NHL.com in a text message late Wednesday that he had not yet heard from Jagr's camp, either.
"No word from them," he wrote. "We are working on signing our own players. (Craig) Adams and (Pascal) Dupuis are done. Working on (Tyler) Kennedy and (Arron) Asham." (The Penguins announced a one-year deal with Asham shortly thereafter.)
Svoboda did deny reports out of Europe that said Jagr had agreed to sign with the Penguins.
"None of the rumors are true," Svoboda told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "He hasn't signed with anyone yet."
Jagr spent the past three seasons playing in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. He last played in the NHL in 2007-08 with the New York Rangers.
Jagr is ninth all-time in the NHL in scoring with 1,599 points, just 42 behind Joe Sakic. He has played in 1,273 NHL games over 17 seasons, including the first 11 in Pittsburgh, where he won the Stanley Cup twice, the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross Trophy five times and the Lester B. Pearson Award four times.
He was also a finalist for the Hart Trophy five times, including in 2006 with the Rangers. The last time Jagr played in North America was at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where he was the flag bearer for the Czech Republic. He won gold at the 1998 Olympics and bronze at the 2006 Games.
"He was an icon in Pittsburgh," Shero told the Tribune-Review. "We'd like to see him finish his career here."
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