Thursday, May 26, 2011
Rafalski and Weight Retire from NHL
Hail and farewell to former Wisconsin All-America defenseman Brian Rafalski, who retired on Wednesday after 11 NHL seasons and three Stanley Cup rings between the New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings. He registered 79 goals and 515 points in 833 regular-season outings, and added another 29-71--100 points in 165 post-season contests that included four trips to the Stanley Cup Final. He also made three appearances for the U.S. in the Olympic Winter Games, earning silver medals in both 2002 and 2010.
So long also to former Lake Superior State star Doug Weight, who hung up his own skates Thursday after 19 NHL campaigns with the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues , Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders. He posted 278 goals and 1,033 points in 1,238 regular-season games, and collected another 23-49--72 points in 97 playoff contests while claiming a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006. He also earned an Olympic silver medal with the U.S. in 2002 in Salt Lake City, plus he was a member of America's 1996 World Cup title team.
Rafalski wasn't drafted, and followed up four years at Wisconsin with four seasons in Europe before breaking into the NHL with New Jersey in 1999. Weight was claimed in the second round in 1990 by the Rangers, and made his NHL debut the following spring after two high-scoring NCAA seasons with the Lakers. Both were ultimately undone, at least partially, by injuries; but both also made their mark as American-born, college-trained players who competed - and competed well - at the highest levels of hockey.
Best of luck to them in their retirements, and to today's young guns who can hopefully achieve similar success in their own careers.