Retirement Watch 2011

On the most recent Houses of the Hockey podcast we played a fun game called “Play, Go Away or Russia.” We sent a surprisingly large number of players to Russia or out to pasture. With the recent retirement of Kris Draper, we’re left speculating who will be the next to hang up the skates.

First on the list is the Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne. If it was up to us, Selanne would never retire. He’d be the Ric Flair or Terry Funk of hockey, except he’d still be really good.

Selanne had 80 points last year at age 41. Unfortunately, he recently had knee surgery and thus he has put his future plans on hold. We definitely want to see him back.

For the record, if he comes back it will be to play in Anaheim. Please put all of those misguided thoughts about him playing in Winnipeg away for good. Thanks.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Mike Modano. If there was a way for us to actually force someone to retire, we’d use that power on Modano. Well, if we actually had special powers we’d use them to go back in time and force Modano to retire at the end of the 2010 season. That would allow us to just forget that the whole “signing with Detroit” thing ever happened.

Back on July 8th it was reported than Modano would make a decision on his future in “two-to-three weeks.” It’s been almost three weeks, so we assume the decision is coming soon.

Michael Nylander hasn’t played an NHL game since 2009. He suffered a serious broken neck while playing for the Rochester Americans in October 2010 and he hasn’t played professional hockey since. He’s 38 years old. All of those factors add up to a player who should seriously consider retirement.

Okay, we’ll admit it. This one is here mostly for shock value. Everything we know tells us that Sidney Crosby will be back in the NHL next season. However, there’s a terrible thought in the back of our minds that comes out every once in a while. It tells us that it would be better for Crosby to sit out as long as he possibly needs to in order to avoid further injury that could ruin his life.

We honestly think Crosby will be back, and there is nothing at all that has told us that he won’t be back, but even the thought of him suffering another concussion scares us. It has to scare him as well.

We’re going to put Marc Savard into the same boat as Sidney Crosby. We truly believe that he’ll be back in the NHL one day, but we really don’t know when. It’s scary to think about how much concussions can damage lives, and extending an NHL career by a few more seasons isn’t worth the lifelong pain that can come from a series of concussions. Marc Savard must have at least thought about retirement recently.

Sorry for all of the doom and gloom on a sunny summer afternoon.

There have been a lot of retirements recently, from Mark Recchi and Chris Osgood to Paul Kariya and Patrick Lalime. Who will be next?