Does Canada ever lose a major tournament with Mario Lemieux playing in all of them?
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11-03-2012, 02:58 AM
Czech Your Math
Join Date: Jan 2006
Originally Posted by
Surely you know more about Mario's retirement than that.
He was an art ross winner in 1997, and a strong candidate for one in 2001 if he had played a full season. In between - I have no doubt he was that good. The retirement had nothing to do with his tank.
It's not his ability I'm talking about, it's his durability. Playing most (70 games?) of an NHL schedule, Olympics and playoffs after playing most of two full seasons + playoffs may just have been too much for Mario at that point, that's probably why he retired again. Remember, there's also a long flight to/from Japan for the Olympics, a compressed NHL schedule, etc.
He played more in '96 & '97 combined than in any two consecutive seasons since '88 & '89. After his '97 retirement, the most NHL games he played in two consecutive seasons was 91.
Maybe he could have made it through another season, it's difficult to say with any certainty that he couldn't have, but it's also nothing close to given that he could have. Why wouldn't he hang on for one more season if he felt he could? Wouldn't playing in his first Olympics and trying to help Canada win its first gold medal in Olympic hockey in decades be enough incentive? I just tend to think that if he knew he could have, he would have, but that may be wrong. I'm sure he could have just practiced here and there until the Olympics... or even not and just rolled out of bed and headed for Japan... and still been about the best in the world, so it's obviously not an issue of ability.
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