July 29, 2003

Theo Fleury just vowed to return to the NHL. Mario’s almost definitely playing for the Pens next year. And now there’s talk of Mark Messier playing out the rest of his days in Edmonton. Sort of reads like a "Where are they Now?" list for former all-stars, except for some reason they’re still here. For God’s sake guys, just hang ‘em up!

posted by Samsonov14 to hockey at 11:01 AM - 14 comments

Lemieux was eighth in the NHL in scoring last year. I know you hate him and think he's a whiny bastard, Samsonov, but anyone scoring a point a game shouldn't have to justify continuing to play.

posted by Mookieproof at 11:33 AM on July 29, 2003

I don't really hate the guy (but I do admit to thinking he's a whiner), I just think he's about done. In the last three seasons he's played 43, 24, and 67 games a year. He's always in pain. Even Mario-hataz like me have grudging respect for the guy, but it woud be nice to see him go out before he become the punch line to a joke about IR. If he plays this year, I don't think he'll be able to play more than half the season.

posted by Samsonov14 at 12:32 PM on July 29, 2003

I also think Mario is a whiner but I think a Penguins team with him is at least worth watching, whereas without him they're a bore. But, I think he will inevitably get hurt and miss half the season, which sort of makes all his effort a waste... As for Messier, he hasn't been productive in a while, he really ought to hang em up.

posted by Bernreuther at 12:41 PM on July 29, 2003

Good God, I thought the Oil had learned their lesson. $3 million for Messier? We don't have it. Trading Markkanen and keeping Salo? Oy. While I admit the publicity value would be there, and it couldn't hurt to have Messier in the dressing room, that vast experience and all, at some point you have to play him, and at that point I'd rather have Todd Marchant back if we're just going to get a 45-point player. But hey, I'd have Magic Mario on the club for as many games as he could stand. I was always a fan of Little Theo, though. I can recall a time in the mid-80s at the height of the "Battle of Alberta" when one of my friends was reading an article about some young guy the Flames had in the minors who was racking up tons of penalty minutes. Oh no, we thought, another huge goon. Nope, just Theo Fleury.

posted by alex_reno at 12:57 PM on July 29, 2003

I am pulling for all of those guys to put in one last good season. Fleury has been such a waste case since leaving the Flames. sad. he is/was talented. Messier obviously still wants to play so hopefully he can do so and not make a fool of himself. Mario can still play when he is healthy. I can get behind those guys.

posted by gspm at 01:02 PM on July 29, 2003

Mark Messier's productivity has been fine. Sure, he isn't going to score the points he did in the past, but the man had nearly twenty goals last year, trailing only Nedved, Bure and Lindros for the team (very crappy one, yes) lead. And unlike the the other two old-timers in this post, he played for the full season. (78 games). He's durable, tough enough and capable of playing at a very solid NHL level. The problem is that he gets way too much ice time (18 min/game and often more). If he comes back, he needs to take a less active role on the team. He can kill a penalty from time to time, and rotate between 3rd and 4th line center, but by Lord in Heaven if I see that man on the power play again, I'll roll over and wait until next year. That should not be happening. There is also no way the Oilers should spend that kind of money on Messier, even if they think he can draw large crowds. It just should not happen. If the Rangers do it, it means little to them, but for Edmonton to go bust their small bank on a guy like Mess would be terrible. Theo: I could care less. I'm done caring. He used to be fun. Now he's annoying. Mario: He owns the team, he can do whatever he wants. I reserve the right not to like his choice, his team and him.

posted by 86 at 01:05 PM on July 29, 2003

So what is Theo's status? He's on contract, but he cleared waivers. Does that mean he will play with the farm team?

posted by garfield at 01:55 PM on July 29, 2003

Hockey talk! beautiful... Messier is a shadow of his former glory - but the Moose hasn't been in the playoffs in a few years, and I think until I see him in that I'll withhold judgement. I would still have him on my team. Totally a 'go to war' player. Oil are better with him. Mario is head and shoulders above everyone in the L. He can still play - it just sucks that he's going to be stuck in Pitt. They are right now the worst team in the L. I see Hotlanta doing better. Theo. Man, I love Theo - best video game hockey player bar none - Sega '95. I really like his game, but he is too high strung and hurts his team in ways that even Wade Belak can't relate to. I think he deserves one more shot - because he still has wheels, has a shot and plays the game hard. Oooo - I haven't sounded that much like a canuck in three months. Feels good.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:56 PM on July 29, 2003

Oh yeah, Mess can still play, but only in certain situations is he a real asset. Mario, well, he can go scratch. I didn't think egos came in ginormous.

posted by garfield at 02:00 PM on July 29, 2003

Lemieux will play for his own financial reasons. If he plays, the team has more value and a better chance at securing a new arena from the city of Pittsburgh. Plus, the man can still play when healthy. Theo needs a change of scenery, he's burned his bridges in Chicago. He can still be a vital part of a team, especially if he doesn't have to shoulder the burden of being the "go to" guy. Mess needs only a couple of points to pass Gordie Howe for second on the NHL points list, I'd love to see him do it in Edmonton then hang up the skates. Even with his diminished skills he's a powerful force in the locker room and could teach a young team much.

posted by kickerofelves at 04:58 PM on July 29, 2003

I don't understand the sentiment that players should quit at the top of their game. Michael Jordan at 80 percent was still a star player and 100 times more entertaining to watch than most of his peers. If I was a pro, I'd stick around 'til they kicked me out, a la Rickey Henderson, rather than being a Barry Sanders who left with plenty of gas in the tank and the all-time rushing record within reach.

posted by rcade at 08:44 AM on July 30, 2003

Well, this signing of one of the best small forwards in hockey should not go unnoticed. Whitney has been a point-a-game guy on a sub-par team for a couple of years. He's a fantasy steal, and reality should treat him nicely as well. The reason to chide Mario and others that don't know when to quit: If at the top of their game, this discussion doesn't even occur. However, Mario is not, and hasn't been at the top of his game in quite a while. Playing half the season does not a star make, and in actuality it detracts from the team he is supposed to be playing for. His salary could be put to more consistent use. He could be coaching and be on the bench every game. Enter your own insightful idea here. Admittedly, his frequent time-off does allow for other young talent to develop with the youngsters getting choice ice team and the like. But at the same time, do you really want to be 'brought along' by a guy who has summerly press conferences to annouce that he maybe, possibly, if he feels up to it, play again this year and grace the NHL with his prescence. Sure he was amazing, and shows glimpses of that, but when I tune in to watch entertaining hockey, witnessing a lumbering cherry picker mope as he goes to the bench after the play breaks down is not what I sign on for. Oh yeah, the smugness ain't to cool neither.

posted by garfield at 09:05 AM on July 30, 2003

I agree with rcade - if you like your job, you don't quit. As long as they're asking me to play, I'd play. This hang em up before your prime is over is for the same people who want their plug pulled out if they ever get sick. Fuck that. Leave my plug alone! kickerofelves - a good nick and a good point - Moose is probably more than aware that he has some history to record. It would be sweet for him to get it in an Edmonton uni.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:11 AM on July 30, 2003

I believe Mario has referred to the NHL as a 'garage league' in the past, and annually he bitches about how the refs do their job, so I guess I'm with weedy and rcade as well...but Mario doesn't like his job and is past his prime.

posted by garfield at 09:26 AM on July 30, 2003

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