Comeback stalled: Rafalski released from ECHL club

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After just three games, it appears Brian Rafalski’s return to professional hockey may be over.

Rafalski was released by ECHL Florida on Tuesday, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The move was made to free up a roster spot as Rafalski, 40, hadn’t played since Jan. 18 with a back injury.

A three-time Stanley Cup winner, Rafalski signed with Florida on Jan. 9 and made his debut a day later against the South Carolina Stingrays. While the veteran blueliner wouldn’t commit to any set plans — “I wouldn’t say it’s a comeback yet,” he said — there was great speculation signing in Florida was the first step in Rafalski’s potential NHL comeback, after being forced to retire in 2011 due to knee and back ailments.

Rafalski was still performing at a high level upon walking away at age 37, scoring 48 points in 63 games in his final season with Detroit.