Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Super Mario Retires

Super MarioOn January 24, 2006, Mario Lemieux announced his second and permanent retirement from professional hockey at the age of 40. This followed a half-season in which he struggled not only with the increased speed of the "new NHL" but also with yet another threatening physical ailment, a heart condition called atrial fibrillation that caused him to experience irregular heartbeats. Although he had put up points at a pace that most NHL forwards would be perfectly content with (22 points in 26 games) in his last season, Lemieux still remarked that "I can no longer play at a level I was accustomed to in the past"--a reflection of the fact that he was a player in a class of his own, for whom incredible performances were routine.

Many consider Lemieux to be the most talented hockey player ever. Lemieux frequently finds his name mentioned in lists of the top five hockey players of all time, and his numbers and resume certainly do not dispute that claim. He never played a full season in the NHL without missing a game; one can only speculate how much more impressive his offensive numbers would be had he not missed over 400 games due to injury and illness over the course of his very eventful career.

Super MarioAWARDS
1985 - Calder Memorial Trophy, NHL All-Rookie Team
1986 - Lester B. Pearson Award, NHL Second Team All-Star
1987 - NHL Second Team All-Star
1988 - Art Ross Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award, Hart Memorial Trophy, NHL First Team All-Star
1989 - Art Ross Trophy, NHL First Team All-Star
1991 - Conn Smythe Trophy
1992 - Art Ross Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy, NHL Second Team All-Star
1993 - Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, Lester B. Pearson Award, NHL Plus/Minus Award, Bill Masterton Trophy, NHL First Team All-Star
1996 - Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, NHL First Team All-Star, Lester B. Pearson Award
1997 - Art Ross Trophy, NHL First Team All-Star
1997 - Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame
2000 - Lester Patrick Trophy
2001 - NHL Second Team All-Star
2002 - Captain of Canadian Olympic Gold Medal Team
2004 - Captain of Canadian World Cup Championship Team
NHL All-Star Team - 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002.
His number 66 has been retired by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Song for the day - "Poses" - RUFUS WAINWRIGHT


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