Just as the other two NHL lockouts brought about sudden or not-exactly-as-planned ends to the careers of many older players, this third lockout may spell the end for some players who have had great careers but are getting up there in age.
Brian Rolston, who is 39 years old, is among those players. Mulling over the idea of hanging up the skates and calling it a career, Rolston said it’s more than likely that he will take the plunge and begin his second chapter.
Over his NHL career, Rolston played for the New Jersey Devils (twice), Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins (twice), Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders. Rolston still holds some team records for the Wild, played for America at three separate Olympics and won silver in 2002, won bronze at the 1992 World Junior and 1996 World Championship, captained the Wild and won the Stanley Cup in his first NHL season with New Jersey.
He’s played just a little more than 1,200 total regular-season games as well as 77 playoff contests. His return to the Bruins at the end of the 2011-12 regular season was short-lived, but he still made an impact to the tune of three goals and 12 assists in 21 games playing on the third line.
He’s also known for a slap shot so booming that J.S. Giguere once ducked instead of trying to stop it:
Roberto Luongo once toppled from it:
Luongo was also stunned by it during a penalty shot:
Other older players who may decide it’s time to say goodbye this season–or before the season really starts–include Andrew Brunette, Mike Knuble, Dwayne Roloson and Jason Arnott.
Brunette said he could make a decision very quickly because he doesn’t know how many teams are “looking for a 39 1/2-year-old guy who can’t skate,” though he said that last part with a laugh. Roloson backstopped the Tampa Bay Lightning all the way to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Final in 2011, despite already having passed his 40th birthday at that time.
But they may choose to retire quietly. Some guys may go out with one last press conference, like Nicklas Lidstrom. Others may just kind of disappear into the ether until they resurface in a new role, whether within a team’s front office, in a broadcasting booth or elsewhere.