The recent return of Chris Chelios to the NHL, and the season ending injury to Doug Weight got me thinking - when's the appropriate time for a player to retire from the league? The answer they (and a lot of you) would say is "when they damn well feel like it." Others believe that when they finally hit the point where they can realize that their abilities are waning past the point of usefulness, well, they hang them up. Some guys hang around like a lingering flu, other guys are forced to retire, and others end their careers with a bad season and fade into the sunset of the KHL. Which is appropriate?
Al MAcInnis and probably Doug Weight have had their careers cut short by injuries. Did Al have a few more years left? Maybe. Would any of you like to see him skating around on the ice, years past his prime, on the 3rd pairing or in the box? It's one thing for fans to remember a player in his prime, it's another thing for a player to wax all reflective and think he's still 25. Not saying Mac would do that (and I used him as an example because 99.999% of you - myself included - hate Chelios with a passion), but it's awkward to see. It's like your friend's mom. You know, the one who dresses like she's 25 because that's how she feels, yet all you see is sagging boobs, shellacked makeup, and just a sad old broad? That's Chris Chelios.
There are just some guys who need to know when to say when - the Blues only have one of those right now, and that's Darryl Sydor. It's hard to say goodbye to a game that you love so much, but there are other things you can do - management, coaching, running betting rings... there's growing old gracefully, and there's clinging to your youth. The latter's never attractive.