Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Nieuwendyk retires

Some unfortunate news out of Florida this evening:
Center Joe Nieuwendyk, one of the most accomplished players ever to wear a Florida Panthers uniform, announced his retirement today.

Nieuwendyk, 40, had missed 14 of 29 games this season because of back problems.

He said he made the decision after being advised to retire by a back specialist he visited last week at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

"It's always very hard to walk away, but I was told that this is the best thing for my future," he said before the team's practice at Incredible Ice.

Very quietly, Nieuwendyk had an outstanding career, and was sitting in 10th among active players with 1,257 career games played before calling it quits — no small feat given how chronically injured he was. Nieuwendyk ended up playing 70 games or more just three times in his last 13 seasons.

Internationally, he was a key defensive cog as part of Canada's Olympic entries in 1998 and 2002 (as seen above), and he won a silver medal with the 1986 world junior tournament.

He finishes his career 19th in NHL goal scoring with 564, and tied with Mike Bossy for 49th with 1,126 points. He has a career points-per-game percentage of .896 and would have easily hit the 600-goal mark with more games played in his prime.

Nieuwendyk won the Calder Trophy in 1988 with a 51 goal, 92 point rookie season, and then captured the Conn Smythe 11 years later with the Dallas Stars at the age of 32. He's also won the Stanley Cup three times with three different teams.

And now he's off to the Hall of Fame.


At 6:51 p.m., December 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame to see such a great guy have to hang them up.

He'll always be remembered in Toronto for his two goal performance in game 7 against the sens in 2004.

Somehow those highlights have disappeared from YouTube. Damn NHL.

At 8:34 p.m., December 06, 2006, Blogger Matt said...

There's 9 active NHLers with more GP than Nieuwendyk?

At 8:43 p.m., December 06, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...


From memory: Chelios, Shanahan, Numminen, Linden, Mellanby, Richardson, Recchi, Sakic...

I'm not sure who the last one is; brownie points for whoever goes and looks it up.

At 8:58 p.m., December 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glen Wesley would be the ninth guy on the list.

I'll donate my brownie points to charity.

At 9:37 p.m., December 06, 2006, Blogger Matt said...

One must be wrong, cause I had already checked on Pierre Turgeon and he has 1277.

At 10:11 p.m., December 06, 2006, Blogger Unknown said...

I always liked the guy, even though he kept signing with teams I dislike.

At 10:23 p.m., December 06, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

You're right — I'd forgotten Turgeon, which means Nieuwendyk is 11th.

At 12:14 p.m., December 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that Nieuwendyk is done, I wonder how long it takes for the Flames to retire his jersey.


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