retirement announcements

Mike Modano retires after 21 seasons, announces decision via Facebook

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Some might argue that he made the decision a year late – especially Dallas Stars fans – but Mike Modano announced his retirement from the NHL via his Facebook account today. He’ll hold a press conference to make it official on Friday.

Now that Modano chose to hang up his skates after a lengthy and prolific career, the debates about his legacy will begin. With seven All-Star nods and one Stanley Cup on his resume, he has the hardware to back up his impressive stats for a Hall of Fame bid.

An All-American career

The more lively debates will revolve around where he ranks among the best American born players in NHL history. As far as sheer quantity, Modano is unmatched (although Chris Chelios has the most games played, with 1,651). Modano tops all U.S.-born NHL players in points (1,374), goals (561), playoff points (145) and all forwards in games played (1,499).

Much like Steve Yzerman, Modano drew praise for becoming more defensively responsible in order to help the Stars win that Stanley Cup in 1999. He also compiled those staggering stats without many seasons alongside a high octane winger, which shows off just how special he was.

A tough end for Modano

On the other hand, the “quantity over quality” argument could hurt him against other American-born players who might have shined brighter for shorter periods of time. Aside from an impressive first season after the lockout (77 points in 2005-06), Modano’s production dropped off significantly beginning in the 2003-04 season. Last season was probably the worst campaign of Modano’s incredible career, as he managed just 15 points in an injury-marred 40 regular season games with the Detroit Red Wings, who often made him a healthy scratch during the playoffs.

It wasn’t a great ending for Modano, who opted against his storybook conclusion with the Stars to end the 2009-10 season. That shouldn’t take away from his outstanding career, which helped build the Dallas Stars into a successful team – and some might say a rebuttal to the claims that the NHL cannot work in “non-traditional” markets. Here’s Modano’s announcement via his Facebook page.

After a long summer of thinking about my future, I’ve come to the decision that it’s time to retire as a player from the NHL. There’s way too many people to thank here at this time and too much to say, so I have a press conference scheduled for early Friday afternoon. Check back Friday late afternoon for more. What a great ride it’s been!

What’s next for Modano?

Again, you can gripe all you want about his timing, but Modano should finish his playing days with the clarity that he maximized his potential. Now he can move on to whatever the next stage of his life will be – Modano discussed working in the front office for the Stars or doing some studio work – with his wife Willa Ford by his side. His future is enviable whichever way you slice it.

Some people are just gifted, but it’s nice (and rare) to see them make the most of their talents. Modano certainly fits into that category, regardless of where you rank him among the all-time best Americans.

Jesse Boulerice’s wife takes to Facebook to announce controversial hitter’s retirement

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Few players with as careers as undistinguished as Jesse Boulerice’s have generated as much attention as the troublesome hitter did during his limited hockey career. Then again, few managed to become repeat offenders for such ugly incidents in such a concentrated amount of time – and few retired in as strange a way as Boulerice did last week.

Puck Daddy shares his strange retirement announcement, which came through a Facebook message from his wife Jacqueline (who also advertised her new business in the process). Boulerice finished his career with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but most people will remember him for his suspension-filled career.

His final impression for many fans came when he received a 10-game suspension for landing a small hit on a referee during an AHL game. While that move was dumb enough, his worst moments of violence made him a notoriously bad apple. He was even charged with assault in 1998 after hitting Andrew Long in the face with his stick. That wasn’t the only time he used his stick in an ugly way, however, as he also received a 25-game suspension for cross-checking Ryan Kesler in the face on October 10, 2007.

Many in the hockey world will probably utter a sigh of relief that Boulerice is out of the picture, even if someone else will likely step into his place (though probably not with the same splashy results). Hopefully Boulerice will find a way to make a more positive impact with his next job, but if nothing else, he’ll leave his playing days behind in a memorable and odd way.

Despite signing two-way contract with Senators, Lee Sweatt decides to retire

For many, defenseman Lee Sweatt’s retirement is little more than the death of a few hundred sweat-related puns. It’s hard not to feel bad for the defenseman whose career shattered with the foot he used to block shots last season, though.

Jason Botchford’s hopeful late-July piece about Sweatt’s strange 2010-11 season now seems like a sad epitaph for Sweatt’s career. Some injuries opened the door for Sweatt to earn a bit of playing time with the Vancouver Canucks and he cashed in quickly, scoring a game-winning goal in his first-ever NHL game against the Nashville Predators on January 26. The goal was so unlikely that his teammates chanted “Rudy!” when he entered the locker room.

Everything started so well, but the ride wouldn’t last long. Right after scoring that goal, Sweatt blocked a howling shot by Predators defenseman Shea Weber.

“On my very next shift, Shea Weber took a slap shot and I blocked it with my foot. I finished the game but I could barely walk,” Sweatt said.

“Everyone knows he has basically the hardest shot in the league. What are the chances?”

The X-rays showed severe bruising hours later, but no break. It’s possible the foot was too swollen to detect a fracture. Sweatt rested his injured [foot] during the all-star break and was well enough to play two more games before the Canucks were set to send him down to the AHL.

But the morning before he was to be on a plane headed for Manitoba, he blocked another shot in practice with the Canucks and the foot was shattered. So was his season.

And now it’s clear that those two blocked shots probably claimed his career. Sweatt’s agents Norton Sports announced his retirement, which comes despite signing a two-year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators.

Maybe scoring one goal and one assist for two points in three career games constitutes overachieving for a player of Sweatt’s low profile, but it’s still sad that it all ended so quickly. Then again, his story reveals the dangers of blocking shots and how a little luck can make and break a non-star’s career.

Mark Recchi announces his retirement after getting his wish: one last Stanley Cup win

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There aren’t many professional athletes who can look back at the final game of their playing careers with the same amount of positivity as Mark Recchi will. The Boston Bruins forward confirmed the expectations of many by announcing his retirement shortly after his team won the Stanley Cup in Game 7.

He didn’t win the Cup as some lucky bystander, either; he scored seven points in the Stanley Cup finals series and 14 points in 25 playoff games overall. He earned an assist and an impressive +3 rating in Game 7 while skating alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Every player has his regrets, but Recchi enjoyed an outstanding 22-year career in the NHL. He won three Stanley Cups: one in his first playoff run in 1991 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, one after being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and this triumph with Boston. Recchi will finish his distinguished career with 1,533 points in 1,652 regular season games and 147 points in 189 career playoff contests.

Are those the numbers of a Hall of Fame player? Almost 86 percent of PHT readers think so, according to this poll.

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Whether he makes the Hockey Hall of Fame or not (I would bet that he does), Recchi produced a fantastic career. That’s something he can reflect on in retirement, though. Tonight, he’s simply going to spend one more night doing what’s likely one of his favorite things: celebrating a big win with his teammates.

Doug Weight officially retires, becomes Islanders assistant coach and assistant GM

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As we suspected earlier this week and many expected at least a season before, Doug Weight announced his retirement from the NHL. Well, let’s rephrase that: he retired as an NHL player, but will serve as an assistant coach and GM for the New York Islanders.

TSN’s Scott Cullen and others bring up an interesting question regarding Weight’s dual job titles, though. Would there be any confusion about who “answers” to whom: Weight to head coach Jack Capuano or Capuano to assistant GM Weight?

My guess is that GM Garth Snow and the rest of the Islanders front office either a) clarified the hiearchy to Weight and Capuano already or b) basically added titles to a system that was already in place last season. Weight was seen as a mentor to teammates (and maybe) a sounding board for Snow, so perhaps this just formalizes his duties. In other words, it would be more awkward if Weight came in with those two titles and no history with the team.

Either way, that’s an issue for the future. For now, the focus should be on Weight, who had a fantastic 19-year career before succumbing to an accumulation of injuries. We discussed his impressive NHL career in this post.

If Weight does indeed retire, he shouldn’t have many regrets. Winning his first (and only) Stanley Cup with the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes probably put a nice bow on his lengthy professional career even though he played in five more seasons.

Weight scored 278 goals and 755 assists for 1,033 points in 1,238 regular-season games in his 19-year career. He also was a solid playoff performer, notching 23 goals and 49 assists 72 points in 97 postseason games. Weight played for the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders, with his longest stays coming in Edmonton and St. Louis.