The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/28/14 at 07:01 PM ET
The Red Wings weren't particularly keen on talking to Brian Rafalski until he proved he could play at at least the AHL level at age 40, and MLive's Ansar Khan reports that Rafalski has decided to halt his comeback after his back issues flared up:
Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski has ended his comeback attempt with the EHCL’s Florida Everblades, retiring for good.
“I’m done,” Rafalski told the Fort Myers News-Press. “My back is no good. That was one of the hurdles.”
Rafalski, 40, played only three games with the Everblades, picking up one assist. He told the News-Press that his back acted up after his first game on Jan. 10 and experienced more back pain after playing on consecutive nights, Jan. 17-18.
“After playing two games, it inflamed the nerves in my back so I’m done,” Rafalski said. “I felt like I played pretty well the last game. I was getting my timing and the game seemed to slow down.”
Update: The Detroit Free Press reprinted the Ft. Myers News-Press's Craig Handel's article:
“After playing two games, it inflamed the nerves in my back, so I’m done,” he said. “I felt like I played pretty well the last game. I was getting my timing, and the game seemed to slow down.”
Rafalski told Everblades coach Greg Poss he wouldn’t be able to make last weekend’s trip for games at South Carolina and Orlando. Florida lost all three.
“I’m getting some mobility back,” he said as he bent down. “It feels pretty loose, but I can feel when I get down here (inches from his feet). There’s no reason to keep going. This is not something you can push or play through or goes away.”
Rafalski will continue to remain close to the team as a spiritual adviser who holds chapel for the players. And even though he played with the Everblades for only a short time, Poss said he made an impact.
“He did a really good job for us, and we’re grateful to have him for those games,” the coach said. “He’s a really good person to have around the team. He was battling back to get in shape but at the same time, when you get injured like that, it’s hard to get in shape. You’re fighting an uphill battle. It’s just hard to play pro sports at 40.”
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.