As I said in an earlier post, the older hockey players are finding they can't get back into NHL game-shape. 44-Year old Mark Messier called it quits today, meaning that five of the six most experienced players in terms of games played through 2004 will not be back.
Net savings to the owners? 20+ million. Maybe baseball can take a hint and shut down for a year, so some of these 43-year old relievers can finally go away. But then, of course, Tony LaRussa wouldn't know what to do with himself.
Monday, 14-year vet Trent Klatt, never a star but a veteran of nearly 800 NHL games, also called it quits.
Expect more retirements once camps open and 35+ year old players find out how much they lost sitting out almost 18 months. Add to that the list of European players who will decided not to return to North America, and many roster spots will be wide open this year. Good for AHL'ers from last year, and good for ECHL'ers from last year to move up to the AHL.