November 17, 2009
"One more year" is a chant you commonly hear when a star athlete is at the end of his time with a given team or near the end of his career. It's something we've chanted in our minds whenever Brendan Shanahan's(notes) name would be linked with retirement. Today, Shanny silenced it, announcing the end of his 21-year NHL career.
During his time with the New Jersey Devils (twice), St. Louis Blues, Hartford Whalers, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers, there were always bigger stars than Shanahan -- but few were embraced by die-hard puckheads like he was.
He had that blend of skill, smarts and brute force that made him a prototypical power forward in the NHL as his career progressed. As of last April, he led all active players in Gordie Howe Hat Tricks -- a goal, an assist and a fight in the same night -- with 17 in his career. Rare is the NHL player with 656 career goals and close to 100 entries on HockeyFights.com. But that's why we appreciated him.
Shanahan wasn't infallible off the ice. There was his chasing of the money as a young player that resulted in Scott Stevens arriving in New Jersey from St. Louis; there were trade demands, like the one that caused his departure from Hartford; there was the unpleasantness at that Florida bar back in 1995; and his abrupt divorce from the Devils this preseason.
Some of the good and the bad of NHL 2.0/post-lockout rules changes can be traced back to Shanahan's leadership and his 2004 "summit," where the shootout was arguably born. His vision for the game was sometimes too radical; 4-on-4 hockey in playoff overtime was nearly pushed through based on his strong support.
But his charisma, especially as one of the NHL's better quotes, would always win us over in the end, because we understood he was a bit of a rogue. His respect for what makes hockey fundamentally appealing for fans and players alike had some touting him for NHLPA boss and others hoping he'd take over for Gary Bettman.
With his stats, a gold medal and three Stanley Cups, he's a prime candidate for the Hall of Fame; but Brendan Shanahan's contributions to the NHL were more intangible than any stat or trophy. After the jump, a full bio, tribute from the NHL and words from the man himself.
From the NHL:
NEW YORK (November 17, 2009) -- One of the National Hockey League's all-time greatest snipers and one of its fiercest competitors, Brendan Shanahan, announced his retirement today, bringing an end to his 21-year career.
"I would like to thank my family and all of the friends who have helped me achieve and maintain my childhood dream of playing in the National Hockey League", said Shanahan. "I am enormously grateful to all of my coaches and teammates I've had the privilege of learning from and playing along side of, throughout my career. While I always dreamed of playing in the NHL, I can't honestly say that I would have ever imagined that I'd be this fortunate and blessed. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has helped me fulfill this dream."
Shanahan finishes his career in 11th place on the NHL's all-time goal scoring list with 656 goals. He stands 11th in games played with 1,524, 22nd in penalty minutes with 2,489, 23rd in points with 1,354 and 49th in assists with 698. He is the only player in NHL history to amass more than 2,000 penalty minutes and 600 goals and leads all NHL players with 17 "Gordie Howe" hat tricks. One of the game's all-time clutch performers, Shanahan ranks fifth all-time with 109 game-winning goals. He tallied 237 goals on the power play, also fifth in NHL history, including a League-leading and career-best 20 in 1996-97.
The eight-time NHL All-Star recorded at least 40 goals in six of his 21 seasons and is one of only 11 players in NHL history to have 12 seasons of at least 30 goals. Shanahan's 19 consecutive 20-goal seasons rank second to only Gordie Howe's 21. He eclipsed the 50-goal mark on two occasions, tallying 51 in 71 games with St. Louis in 1992-93 and then reached a career high with 52 in 1993-94, when he also led the League with seven shorthanded tallies. Shanahan was voted to the NHL First All-Star Team twice (1994, 2000) and the NHL Second All-Star Team once (2002). Throughout his career, Shanahan was always one of the League's top ambassadors. He was awarded the King Clancy Trophy in 2003 for his exemplary work in the community. Shanahan enjoyed his finest offensive season in 1993-94, when he established career-highs in goals (52), assists (50), points (102), penalty minutes (211) and shots (397).
Appearing in the post-season in 19 of his 21 seasons, Shanahan ranks 35th on the NHL's playoff scoring list with 134 points in 184 games. He ranks seventh with a plus 31 rating, tied for 19th with 12 game-winning goals and is tied for 27th with 60 goals. In 1997, Shanahan placed second on the Red Wings in playoff scoring with 9 goals and 8 assists for 17 points, while helping lead Detroit to their first Stanley Cup in 42 years. In 2002, he ranked second on the team and tied for third in the NHL with 19 points in 23 games, helping lead the Red Wings to their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
Shanahan began his National Hockey League career with New Jersey, helping a young Devils team reach the post-season for the first time in team history in 1988. He signed with St. Louis prior to the 1991-92 season, led the Blues in scoring in 1993-94 with 102 points and still holds the franchise records for goals and points by a left winger in a single season. After a one-year stint with the Hartford Whalers, Shanahan was traded to the Detroit Red Wings early in the 1996-97 season. He was a key member of the leadership core that guided the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup championships. Shanahan led the Wings in goals or points in seven of his nine seasons in Detroit. He registered his 600th career NHL goal on October 5, 2006, as a member of the New York Rangers and spent two seasons on Broadway after signing with the team on July 9, 2006. He concluded his NHL career with the team that originally drafted him, the New Jersey Devils, during the 2008-09 season.
Internationally, Shanahan has represented Canada in several tournaments. He is one of only 22 players -- one of only four Canadians -- in the exclusive "triple gold" club, which includes those who have won the Stanley Cup and captured gold at the Olympics and IIHF World Championships. Shanahan led Team Canada to its first World Championship in 33 years in 1994, placing second on the team in scoring with seven points in six games. He was a member of the 1991 Canada Cup Championship team, Canada's fifth and final Canada Cup title team. The two-time Olympian represented Canada in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, and then helped Canada capture its first Olympic gold medal in 50 years in 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shanahan then became only the third player in NHL history to win an Olympic gold medal and Stanley Cup championship in the same year when the Red Wings captured the Stanley Cup in June of 2002. Additionally, Shanahan represented Canada in the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996.
The native of Mimico, Ontario was originally New Jersey's first round selection, second overall, in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. He amassed 656 goals, 698 assists for 1,354 points in 1,524 NHL matches with New Jersey, St. Louis, Hartford, Detroit, and New York.
Finally, the wit of Shanahan, from an ESPN broadcast in the 1990s:
Best of luck to a fan favorite.