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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

Players who tried to make a comeback... but didn't succeed?

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Old
07-28-2014, 02:02 PM
  #26
begbeee
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Zdeno Ciger left Edmonton after his breakout year (79 31-39-70) in 1996,
For a while he was considered one of the best, if not the best player in Europe.
During 2001/2002 he tried to come back as Rangers, later traded to Tampa, but didn't succeed with 56 12-13-25.

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07-28-2014, 02:23 PM
  #27
Killion
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From hockeys early days in Ontario & specifically Toronto, star player Bruce Ridpath who got caught in the crossfire of John Ross Robertsons Crusade to extinguish the rise of the professional game (and any player who had ever accepted $$$ to play not only hockey but any sport) in Southern Ontario circa 1890's through the 00's.... Ridpath the leader & star of the Holier than Thou totally amateur Toronto Marlboro's which the OHA had hoped would Challenge for & Win the Stanley Cup which had been co-opted by Professional Teams, much to the chagrin of Robertson and his Cabal of enthusiastic Amateurs. That professionalism had no business in sport & by God they were gunna clean it up. Bruce Ridpath held up as a shining example of the "ideal". Aspire to be Bruce Ridpath kiddies....

Ridpath however had other ideas, as in $Kaching, apparently in secret had taken off to play in the professional Temiskaming League for money & when it was discovered, Banned for Life from the OHA. Quite an embarrassment & shocking situation for the Prudes at OHA HQ, for the Marlboroughs. He then helped to form the Toronto Professionals in the newly minted OPHL, Team Captain (who also acted as the Coach, sometimes GM back then) and played for 3 seasons in Toronto. Then in 1909 he signed with the Ottawa Senators of the newly formed NHA, winning a Stanley Cup in 1911....

That same year in November however he was struck by a car in Toronto on Yonge Street, rushed to the hospital in grave condition not expected to survive, coma.... in 1913 he was appointed Manager of the Toronto Blueshirts & he tried to make a comeback as a player but his eyesight was completely fried. Died in 1925 at 40 having suffered a stroke very likely brought on by the accident of a decade earlier... quite the prolific goal scorer & early Superstar of the sport, scoring 17 goals in 8 games during the Toronto Professionals inaugural season; in one game in another season scoring 7 goals. In Ottawa played with the likes of Gordie Roberts, Marty Walsh & Hod Stuart.

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07-28-2014, 04:10 PM
  #28
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Jim peplinski made a comeback after 6 years away from the game.

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07-28-2014, 05:10 PM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crobro View Post
Rick vaive attempted a comeback at 43 after retiring at 31
Ya this is an interesting one. Not sure it was an actually serious comeback attempt to make it all the way back up to the NHL but was motivated by other reasons. That he was basically approached to be a Ringer for the OHA Sr.A Dundas Real McCoys back in 2002 when they were hosting the John Ross Robertson or Allan Cup (cant recall which), an event that was rather costly to stage. Like $250,000 or so.

A lot of $$$ for any Sr.A Team to come up with. Vaives name & ability to still play (and Coach) filling the building, helping with sponsorship sales. Either last year or the year before, again, Dundas hosting the Allan Cup. Vaive again signed but just as a Coach this time, replacing the regular Bench Bosses' halfway through that season. The owner, President & GM of the team seriously Old School, throwback, loves the game, signing a number of ex-NHL'r's over the years including Jay McKee, Mathew Barnaby, Scott Wild Thing Walker etc....

As for Vaive, since retiring from playing in the NHL, Coached at most levels. Hockey Lifer & Mercenary. Back in 2007/08 & thereabouts quite the brouhaha when it was revealed that a great number of GTHL (Greater Toronto Hockey League) AAA Coaches were in fact being paid, and not trifling amounts. One guy reputedly receiving close to $70,000, though the average seems to be somewhere in the $15,000-$25,000 range, others $5000-$12,000 & explained away as "covering expenses". Vaive was Coaching a Minor Midget AAA Team in Oakville, rumored that he was receiving well up into the 5 figure ranges in pay however denials all~round that that was the case.

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07-28-2014, 05:18 PM
  #30
Martin Riggs
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Al Iafrate tried out with the Preds and Hurricanes did he not?

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07-28-2014, 05:30 PM
  #31
Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy 17 View Post
Al Iafrate tried out with the Preds and Hurricanes did he not?
Ya, with Carolina as late 2001's Training Camp but knee problems, just no way.

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07-28-2014, 07:29 PM
  #32
crobro
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Craig Redmond also made a comeback after 6 years away from the game

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07-28-2014, 07:58 PM
  #33
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I'm not sure if this would fall into what we're looking for, but Rod Langway retired in 1993 and came back with the Richmond Renegades in 1995 and played in part of the playoffs. I don't think he was part of their coaching staff yet, as hockeydb.com shows him as an assistant coach starting in 1996-97.

He also had a stint as a player/assistant coach with the Spiders in 1995-96 and and P-Bruins in 1997-98.

Maybe somebody who was more familiar with the Spiders, P-Bruins, Renegades or Rod in general might be able to give a better description.

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07-28-2014, 08:17 PM
  #34
crobro
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Just noticed that Ron duguay played in 2008

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07-28-2014, 08:23 PM
  #35
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We had Brendan Morrison and Peter Schaefer try out for us in 2010-2011.

Schaefer made the team. Mo was let go, and went on to have a successful season in Calgary.

I wish it was reversed. We sure could've used the depth at forward during the 2011 SCF...

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07-28-2014, 10:49 PM
  #36
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Also Andy bathgate played for the Vancouver blazers in the WHL.

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07-28-2014, 11:07 PM
  #37
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A little-remembered minor comeback was done (and not very successfully) by Dr. Randy Gregg, a fine defenceman for Edmonton's 5 Cups:


He actually "retired" in 1986 after the loss to Calgary to focus on medicine, but came back shortly into 1986-87.

Finally, he retired for good (he thought) after the Canucks claimed him in the '90 Waiver draft. Left the game for a year.

Decided to come back with Vancouver after all in 1991-92. Failed. 21 games only.

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07-28-2014, 11:35 PM
  #38
aemoreira1981
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy 17 View Post
Would Mats Naslund count as an example? He left MTL to play in Europe for a few years before returning to the NHL for a brief stint with BOS.
He had been playing in each season in the then-Elitserien (and a season in the Swiss A) before that final half-year with Boston. But he played 21 consecutive seasons in the NHL or in Europe before retiring in 1996.

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07-28-2014, 11:37 PM
  #39
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Bobby Orr. After leaving the Bruins, he played in only 26 games over 3 seasons. His left knee was too injured to continue. He never recaptured that magic from the short ice at the old Boston Garden.

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07-28-2014, 11:39 PM
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adsfan View Post
Bobby Orr. After leaving the Bruins, he played in only 26 games over 3 seasons. His left knee was too injured to continue. He never recaptured that magic from the short ice at the old Boston Garden.
Obviously, his brief Chicago tenure was a 'failure' relative to Boston in legacy, but I think he was still quite productive in Chicago on a so-so team.

Maybe not so much a 'failure' as a "It should never have happened".

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07-29-2014, 05:34 AM
  #41
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Was a heartbreak that Fleury didnīt get a spot with that team. To the outside he sure seemed to have proved his worth. The publicity alone would have been great, and he didnīt look bad on the ice (of course not 90īs Fleury, but I tought he could have fit on the third line...).

Also, agree that Claude Lemieux even making it back to the NHL got to be seen as an success.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JetsAlternate View Post

Peter Forsberg (2011).
The strange thing when watching his two games back then is that he actually looked good and even great some shifts. Especially for someone that had trained for such a short time and had no pre-season to heat up. He had some nice plays and with a little better finishes from his linemates would have had a couple of assists to show. Heīs decision came as quite the chock, even if understandable when explained.

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08-16-2014, 05:07 PM
  #42
PelagicJoe
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Didn't Peter Forsberg have a "comeback" that lasted for about 1 or 2 games?

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08-16-2014, 05:58 PM
  #43
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Kent Nilsson

Played his last game with the oilers in 1987, then made a return to the NHL (oilers) for 6 games in the 1994-95 season. Scored 1 goal and was a -5. His son Robert picked up where he left off years later.

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08-16-2014, 07:11 PM
  #44
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About Peter Forsberg's two game (last) comeback:
Quote:
Originally Posted by feffan View Post
The strange thing when watching his two games back then is that he actually looked good and even great some shifts. Especially for someone that had trained for such a short time and had no pre-season to heat up. He had some nice plays and with a little better finishes from his linemates would have had a couple of assists to show. Heīs decision came as quite the chock, even if understandable when explained.
I watched them too, and my impressions are the same. I think he was probably Colorado's best forward in those games (except maybe during the end of the 2nd game), and remember thinking why his teammates didn't just give him the puck more often. Because when he got puck control, good things often happened. I agree he might very well had a couple of assists with a bit better "luck" regarding his teammates ability to shoot/score.
He was totalling -4 in those two games. But I think two of the goals were empty netters.
I too was a bit shocked about his decision. So sad his foot problems didn't work out.

I spent some time at a Avalanche hockey board during that time. Before the game, some (including me) were very excited and very hopeful, while some others were more skeptical.

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08-16-2014, 11:30 PM
  #45
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Sergei Makarov, Owen Nolan, Peter Forsberg, and Alexei Kovalev.

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08-18-2014, 08:10 AM
  #46
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I remember Al Secord's attempt at a comeback. For some reason, I recall it was with Ottawa (as opposed to Chicago). Definitely know that he was with the IHL Wolves for a couple of seasons.

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10-04-2014, 10:50 PM
  #47
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Is it feasible to put Jacques Lemaire on this list? He jokingly threatened to make a comeback as a player during the 2000-01 season. The Minnesota Wild beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 at the Xcel Energy Center on February 11, 2001. This happened to be Mario Lemieux's 19th game of the season after coming out of retirement. Lemieux was critical of the Wild's playing style, accusing them of clutching and grabbing. Lemaire said that Lemieux should have stayed retired if he expected that the NHL should be a no contact league. Lemaire then joked that he would make a comeback as a player if contact was ever outlawed.

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10-04-2014, 11:13 PM
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veggieoilerfan View Post
Is it feasible to put Jacques Lemaire on this list? He jokingly threatened to make a comeback as a player during the 2000-01 season. The Minnesota Wild beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 at the Xcel Energy Center on February 11, 2001. This happened to be Mario Lemieux's 19th game of the season after coming out of retirement. Lemieux was critical of the Wild's playing style, accusing them of clutching and grabbing. Lemaire said that Lemieux should have stayed retired if he expected that the NHL should be a no contact league. Lemaire then joked that he would make a comeback as a player if contact was ever outlawed.
Lemaire should be cannonized, ala Simpson's style.

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10-05-2014, 05:09 AM
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
A little-remembered minor comeback was done (and not very successfully) by Dr. Randy Gregg, a fine defenceman for Edmonton's 5 Cups:


He actually "retired" in 1986 after the loss to Calgary to focus on medicine, but came back shortly into 1986-87.

Finally, he retired for good (he thought) after the Canucks claimed him in the '90 Waiver draft. Left the game for a year.

Decided to come back with Vancouver after all in 1991-92. Failed. 21 games only.
'Failure' is harsh here.

Gregg was 35-36 and only brought in by Vancouver to be a veteran depth defender and provide leadership in the dressing room.

He only played 21 games as the 7th defender but the team had a hugely successful year and then Gregg played very well when Diduck and Murzyn were injured during the playoffs.

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Old
10-05-2014, 08:54 PM
  #50
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Eric Daze tried a few times and failed. Simon Gagne I believe tried as late as this past summer. I was surprised that John Vanbiesbrock actually made it to the Devils when he made a comeback.

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