The bulk of 40-something former National Hockey League players are at least five years into retirement and pursuing other dreams.
Forty-seven-year-old Chris Chelios is the exception. The competitive fire continues to burn inside the six-foot, 190-pound defenceman.
Problem is, all 30 league general managers have yet to feel the need to sign a 25-year veteran who has won three Stanley Cup championships, but failed to collect a point in 28 regular-season games and another six in the playoffs a year ago.
'They become almost painful.' — HNIC's Scott Oake on Peter Forsberg's comeback attempts
"I really think that he does have another year left in him. I think he can play 10 to 15 minutes [a game]," Detroit manager Ken Holland said in June after he told Chelios he would not be offering the 10-year Red Wing a contract.
Former Tampa Bay Lightning forward Gary Roberts called it quits in March after more than 21 years of NHL service, while oft-injured Peter Forsberg, 36, has begun yet another comeback attempt from a nagging foot injury, suiting up for Modo of the Swedish Elite League.
Theoren Fleury, 41, survived a few rounds of cuts in his comeback bid before the Calgary Flames released the former captain on Friday.
2009-10 NHL predictions (the lighter side)
|Sept. 23||This season's quote machine|
|Sept. 24||Best-dressed NHL player|
|Today||NHL player who should retire|
|Sept. 28||Who will Alex Ovechkin engage in a war of words?|
|Sept. 29||Next recycled coach to return to an NHL bench|
With another season fast approaching, which NHL player should retire but is too stubborn to accept their best days are behind them?
Retired NHL player Jeremy Roenick, Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Oake, NHL player agent Kent Hughes and Canadian women's hockey player Jennifer Botterill offer their thoughts as part of CBCSports.ca's continuing five-part series of predictions on the lighter side of the game.
Roenick: I'm trying to think of guys that have been around [the league] since me. I think [New Jersey's] Brendan Shanahan is pushing the envelope. He can still score but … when you have guys that have been around since 1987, '88, it's getting close to that time [to retire].
Mike Modano [of the Dallas Stars] can still play with the best of them. His ability is far beyond most guys, in terms of his skating ability, his hands and his smarts.
I'd like to see Chelly [Chris Chelios] play until he's 50. I don't want to see him retire because he's a defenceman. He keeps the puck out of the net and he can do that very well.
I love the fact that Theo [Fleury tried] to play. It shows his passion for the game, but sometimes the game has passed you by.
Oake: I think of those watches, that we've had for what seems every year for about the last three or four, on Peter Forsberg. If he's able to play in the Olympics [next February] just wait, post-Olympics it [Forsberg watches] will start all over again.
They become almost painful, and I would imagine that Peter Forsberg is just as sick of them as we are. But give him his full due for trying everything possible to come back and play and go out the way he wants to go out. I can't imagine that he's not frustrated and probably should retire but is holding on with all his heart hoping he can go out the right way.
Hughes: It's a difficult question to answer. [Forward Mark] Recchi's 41 and he was really effective last year, especially when he came to Boston [in a late-season trade]. Clearly [Chris] Chelios's play has slipped dramatically from where he was but there are other reasons why he's doing it. He loves the camaraderie, the competition and the sport itself.
If [Peter Forsberg's] health issues are going to prevent him from playing then I think it's time to move on.
Botterill: I don't have anyone. If they still love playing the game and think they can make a difference then good for them. And teams wouldn't keep [some of these older players] if they didn't think they could still make a difference.