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Alexei Yashin in talks with Islanders

Four years ago, the New York Islanders decided to pay Alexei Yashin to go away. Now they are in talks with their former captain to bring him back to Long Island.

But after four years in the C
ontinental Hockey League, Yashin remains pragmatic about the possibility of returning to the NHL.

"I don't want to run in front of the situation," Yashin told ESPN.com Tuesday.

"Teams make decisions. Players make decisions," he said. "Now maybe they're looking for a different approach. It might happen, but it might not happen. I can't really prepare for what might be ahead."

As part of the Islanders' buyout, the team paid him $4.75 million this past season and will continue pay him $2.2 million annually against the salary cap through the 2014-15 season.

Yashin will turn 38 in early November, but he doesn't believe his age will be a problem. He cited Mark Recchi (43), Daniel Alfredsson (38) and Nicklas Lidstrom (41) as examples of older players who still contributed to their teams this past season.

"If you're talking about age, I think it's more important that it's the right situation and the right environment so you can perform," Yashin said. "I feel confident about myself.

"I always liked it here on Long Island. If I can help, why not?"

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.