Just when we thought we were out, he keeps pulling us back in.

Jaromir Jagr is drumming up interest in his services as teams prepare to open their coffers to the unrestricted free agent class of 2011, and he's doing it in a way that is keeping the entire hockey world on the edge of its seats.

OK, that might be pushing it.

But as far as the Canadiens involvement is concerned, I can't help but feel that my original concern of using their interest as collateral in negotiations with other teams may be a factor here.

On the other hand, it's also possible that when Jagr's agent Petr Svoboda said Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier wasn't interested from the very start, it should have been a sign that the level of interest was higher than ever.

Hear me out. As soon as Jagr told Dan Barnes at the world championships that Montreal would be one of three teams he'd be interested in playing for, Gauthier was asked about his interest by reporters in Slovakia the very next day.

A rumour was out there percolating, and Gauthier was involved. That's not how he operates.

Is it not possible, then, that he asked Svoboda to remove him from this burgeoning sea of rumours that would only escalate leading up to this day?

Then, after Jagr arrived in New York on Wednesday – seemingly on his way to Pittsburgh – he disappeared. The Penguins didn't know where he was, the Detroit Red Wings didn't know where he was. The one team we didn't hear from, because they never say anything, was the Canadiens.

It may be a stretch, but I'm just throwing it out there.

By Thursday night, however, Svoboda was telling ESPN.com's Scott Burnside that his client was in New York and that there were even more teams interested in Jagr's services, one of them seemingly being the Philadelphia Flyers.

Then, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review's Rob Rossi quoted Svoboda saying that Jagr's "heart is in Pittsburgh." Then, Anthony SanFilippo of the Delaware County Daily Times reported on his blog late Thursday night that a source told him Jagr was going to sign with Pittsburgh. And finally, there's the fact the Penguins website already has a series of mock-ups ready to go to announce the Jagr signing (props to @RDTHockey on Twitter for the link).

So, as it turns out, in all likelihood the Canadiens will not be announcing Friday that Jaromir Jagr will be joining his protégé Tomas Plekanec in Montreal.

Unless, of course, he is.