Gary Suter hangs up skates

Gary Suter of the San Jose Sharks is skating into the NHL sunset.

Suter, 38, formally announced his retirement on Tuesday, concluding an impressive 17-year pro career.

Far from washed up, the native of Madison, Wisc., led all Sharks defencemen in scoring for the second straight season with six goals and 27 assists for 33 points.

"He played 82 games last season at over 20 minutes a game," Sharks head coach Darryl Sutter said. "You get to know him personally and it's disappointing to see him go, but he's going out on top."

Suter posted 844 points with 1,349 penalty minutes in 1,145 NHL games with the Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks and Sharks.

A power-play specialist, he scored 127 of his 203 career goals with the man advantage.

Suter tallied another 17 goals and 73 points with 120 penalty minutes in 108 playoff games.

"'Sutes' had a great career," Sutter said. "He won a Stanley Cup, he was an all-star and he has been a great role model for our younger players."

A gentlemanly player by reputation, Suter drew the ire of Canadians with questionable checks on Wayne Gretzky and Paul Kariya.

In the 1991 Canada Cup, he broadsided Gretzky into the boards, knocking the Great One out for the tournament.

Seven years later, Suter knocked Kariya unconscious with a cross-check to the jaw.

Kariya missed the Nagano Olympic Winter Games -- Canada finished out of the medals -- while Suter suited up for the U.S.

Suter was drafted in the ninth round -- 180th overall -- by the Flames in 1984, yet racked up 18 goals and 68 points in 80 games to capture the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1985-86.

The University of Wisconsin product spent the better part nine seasons with Calgary before being peddled, along with Paul Ranheim and Ted Drury, for James Patrick, Zarley Zalapski and Michael Nylander on Mar. 10, 1994.

The very next day, the Whalers wound up shipping Suter, Randy Cunneyworth and an eighth-round draft pick to Chicago for Krantisek Kucera and Jocelyn Lemieux.

Suter signed with San Jose as a free agent on July 1, 1998.

A four-time all-star and two-time Olympian, he hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1989 and earned a silver medal at the Salt Lake Games in February.

Suter was a member of the American squad which won the 1996 World Cup, too.