Slegr. Going once. Going twice….. any bidders?

If the Maple Leafs are as keen on defenceman Jiri Slegr as they’ve indicated, they’d better act fast.

Slegr’s agent, J.P. Barry, said yesterday he has been given a deadline by a Russian Hockey League team which also wants the unrestricted free agent to sign in the next few days for about $1 million US. “Of four or five teams, there has been interest from Toronto and Detroit in particular,” Barry said. “I’ve been able to extend (the unnamed Russian club’s) deadline for a day or two, but not much longer. I have been keeping the Leafs and other clubs informed every day.”

While many would doubt a Czech’s wisdom of skipping an entire National Hockey League season and salary for life in Russia, changes in that country’s economy have made a hockey career more lucrative this season.

Slegr, a former Pat Quinn draft pick with the Vancouver Canucks, has his name on the 2002 Stanley Cup after joining the Red Wings for eight regular season games and one playoff contest.

Bill Watters, the assistant to general manager/coach Quinn, said on Sunday that nothing was close with Slegr. The Leafs still have to see what Ric Jackman can do before finalizing plans on defence.