Kukla's Korner

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Entries with the tag: retirement

Rafalski’s next stop may be Hall of Fame

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We’re very pleased to welcome Phil Coffey—well-known to many in the hockey world—as a guest blogger at Kukla’s Korner.

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Sight unseen, would you consider a player with three Stanley Cup championships and two Olympic medals worthy of a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame?

Perhaps, but you need more info to make the correct decision. After all, it is possible that a player with those credentials might well be a depth player who was truly fortunate to go along for the ride.

Brian Rafalski never was a bit player during what was a tremendous—if unlikely—NHL career. Rafalski ranks as one of the top American players ever to have laced on skates. A strong, puck-moving defenseman with uncanny instincts and a work ethic to match, In a word, Rafalski was great to watch.

But at age 37, Rafalski retired Tuesday after helping the Detroit Red Wings to the 2008 Stanley Cup and a return trip to the finals in 2009. He also appeared in three finals with the New Jersey Devils, winning in 2000 and 2003.

And let’s not forget the two silver medals earned at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics for Team USA.

Not bad for a player who was never drafted. Yep, 30 clubs could not find a reason to draft Rafalski back in the day, forcing the defenseman on a European vacation of sorts to prove himself worthy of a North American career.

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Filed in: NHL Talk, Phil_Coffey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brian+rafalski, hall+of+fame, hof, retirement

Foote Announces Retirement—Final Game on Sunday

DENVER – Colorado Avalanche captain Adam Foote announced today that he is retiring from the game of hockey at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season.  Foote is expected to play his final NHL game this Sunday afternoon against the Edmonton Oilers at Pepsi Center.

“Like every boy’s dream growing up in Canada, my goal was to play one game in the National Hockey League,” said Foote.  “After 20 years and over 1,000 games, I feel fortunate to be a part of this great game for so long.”

Foote, 39, is wrapping up his 19th season in the NHL, his 17th with the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise.  He was a member of Colorado’s 1996 and 2001 Stanley Cup championship teams and helped the franchise capture an NHL-record nine consecutive division titles from 1995 to 2003.  Originally selected by Quebec in the second round (22nd overall) of the 1989 Entry Draft, Foote has appeared in more regular season (966) and playoff games (170) than any other defenseman in franchise history.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Colorado Avalanche, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: adam+foote, retirement

Retirement is a Tough Decision

From Ted Wyman at the Winnipeg Sun,

[Brett Favre is] certainly not the first professional athlete to feel pangs of regret after leaving the sport they love behind. And he’s certainly not the first to start thinking about a comeback before his retirement even becomes official.

Many more athletes have proven that the fire still burns strong after a bit of time heals the wounds of the game.

Here’s a look at the top-10 unretirements in sports.

continued… with a brief look at three NHLers who had a tough time hanging up the skates

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: athletes, retirement

Life After Hockey

From Michael Rhode at Nanaimo’s Daily News,

The life of a professional hockey player is pretty routine. Sure, there’s the notoriety of playing at the top level of your sport, and it takes plenty of hard work and determination to get to the level they play at.

But aside from the so-called stardom it’s just a lot of repetition. Their days—from autumn to late spring—usually begin and end at the rink. Their summer months, save for a few weeks away from the rink, are usually spent training, at the gym and on ice, for their next season.

Vancouver Canucks’ forward Trevor Linden’s retirement announcement brings into focus the realization of life after hockey. After going to the rink on a regular basis for more than 20 years of professional and junior hockey, come September he’ll have to try and find something constructive to occupy his time.

continued… with words from a few ex-players

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, Hockey Related Stories, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: retirement, trevor+linden

Retiring the Stripes

From Mark Spector at the National Post,

Dumb like a fox, McGeough is deep into overtime now, with only about a month left in an 20-year National Hockey League career. The result, one might say, is like a flying tub of popcorn aimed at him from the stands: He left it all on the ice.

“He’s kind of a like the villain in All Star Wrestling. The kind of guy the fans love to hate,” said Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish, who was once fined $10,000 for describing McGeough’s work as “spastic” and “retarded.”

McGeough, 50, burned an indelible image into the memories of hockey fans: For much of his career he was the helmetless, portly zebra coming out from behind the net, waving his arms in a frantic negation of a goal. One foot is on the ice, the other - for some unknown reason - raised in the air in front of him.

more…

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Officiating, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mick+mcgeough, officiating, referees, retirement

Walz Announcing Retirement Today

from Russo’s Rants,

The Wild has called a 10:30 news conference for this morning at Xcel Energy Center where 37-year-old center Wes Walz, the Wild’s all-time leader with 438 games played, will announce his retirement from the NHL, two NHL sources confirmed Friday night.

Walz, one of two last Original Wild players along with Marian Gaborik, has been on indefinite leave from the team since Nov. 1. Walz’s 82 goals and 182 points rank second in franchise history behind Gaborik

continued

Update 12:27pm ET— Press Release from the Minnesota Wild:

  SAINT PAUL/MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Minnesota Wild veteran center Wes Walz, the franchise’s all-time leader in games played, announced his retirement Saturday morning at an Xcel Energy Center press conference.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Minnesota Wild, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: minnesota+wild, retirement, wes+walz

Lindros Retirement

[This post is temporarily ‘sticky’ to top of KK - updates in the comments]

From the CP via The Hockey News,

The 33-year-old Lindros, a free agent who has not played this season, is expected to announce his retirement in his hometown of London, Ont., on Thursday. 

The Big E made it through 13 seasons despite eight concussions - injuries that eroded his impact later in his career.  But he remains one of the most compelling impact players to skate in the NHL, and he wore Canada’s colours with distinction in earning gold and silver Olympic medals.

Bobby Clarke argues that Lindros should make it to the HHOF, but there’s likely to be a lot of debate. (updates: more articles on Lindros and his career will be added to the comments of this post)

Update 12:50pm ET: ESPN video discussing Lindros’ legacy is below.

Poll Question: Should Eric Lindros Make it into the Hall of Fame?

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Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: eric+lindros, hockey+hall+of+fame, retirement

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