PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) – New York Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr said Tuesday that players’ initial refusal of a salary cap in talks with the NHL was a gamble that did not work out.

“We started the fight because we didn’t agree with the introduction of salary caps,” Jagr said. “Now, we’ll be happy to get them. We didn’t expect the owners to be so tough and persistent.”

Jagr was quoted, in Czech, on the Czech Ice Hockey Association’s Web site.

The NHL and the players’ association recently agreed that a salary cap model with an upper and lower limit will be the centerpiece of a new agreement.

The lockout started last September and wiped out the entire 2004-05 NHL season.

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