Jaromir Jagr listened to the question from his locker seat at the Devils practice rink, then sat in silence for a few seconds to think up a thoughtful response.

The 41-year-old right wing was asked after Thursday's practice how much he cares about his career scoring totals, which already are among the best in NHL history and would be even higher had he not left North America for three seasons to play in Russia.

The day after Jagr scored to pass Steve Yzerman for 8th all-time in goals and break Gordie Howe's all-time record for game-winning goals, No. 68 mentioned that this mark was special to him in one breath, then in the next talked about how it doesn't bother him that he could already be ranked second behind Wayne Gretzky in goals, assists and points instead of 8th to 11th in all three categories

Listening to Jagr share his reasoning, it's easy to walk away believing him when he says he has no regrets not playing in the NHL in the 2008-09, '09-10 and '10-11 seasons.

"I told myself I'm never going to look back and complain (about) whatever I did," said Jagr, whose club is home Friday against the Anaheim Ducks. "At that time I felt this is the right way to do it. Who knows if I would be playing hockey right now if I didn’t go to Russia? I played less games there. I had a chance to see my parents (in the Czech Republic more regularly). They’re getting pretty old, so I figured it was the right thing to do. When you play in Europe, you get those national-team breaks for two weeks, so I was home a lot and I played only 56 games. So …"

So Jagr's numbers aren't what they could be, yet they’re still way up there … and still climbing.

His third-period goal in the Devils’ 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night became an NHL record at the final buzzer because it was the 122nd game-winner of his great career … one more than Gordie Howe for first all-time.

Usually not the sentimental type, Jagr admits this record is extra special to him because it was Mr. Hockey's for so long.

"I've got some pucks," he said. "This one I kept."

Growing up in Czechoslakia, Jagr had never heard of Gordie, who played until he was 52 but would have finished with a lot more than 801 career goals if he hadn't retired for two years and then unretired to play six seasons in the World Hockey Association before spending one final NHL season.