Bill Guerin's storied 18 year NHL career finally came to a close today as he announced his retirement in (seeming) conjunction with the Penguins and Devils game tonight, both places he won Stanley Cups. He will be honored at Console Energy Center before the game tonight.
Billy G rolled through New Jersey, Edmonton, Boston, Dallas, St. Louis, San Jose, New York (Islanders), and Pittsburgh on his way to today's announcement. He was invited to Flyers camp this fall but opted to hang the skates up for good instead of waiting for someone to call this spring for the stretch run.
Guerin might have only spent three seasons in Dallas, but he left his mark and made many fans with his easy going personality. When he won the Cup with the Penguins in '09 there were many in Dallas cheering hard for the lovable right wing.
His time with the Stars (two seasons before the lockout and one after) was somewhat marred by a frustrating trio of premature playoff exits and a final season in 2005-2006 in which he tallied only 13 goals and 40 points, prompting the Stars to buy out the remainder of his contract.
Those of us in DFW might best associate him with the relationship he had with the Bob and Dan radio show on The Ticket: One that continued for many years after his departure, including this afternoon as he took time out of his busy day to speaking with the Dallas station.
He spoke seriously about his decision to wait this long. "Some guys can't wait to get away from it. Some guys do hang on forever. I think most of us would keep playing forever. Then your body breaks down [...] and that's it. You can't do it any more."
Which isn't to say that Bill's body was broken down. He could have waited for the phone to ring in February. It would have, but this way he goes out on his own terms a little bit and he can spend more time with his family, and on Versus on Monday night's.
When asked if he was really done, and if he was still "working out" he replied:
"Well, when I walk, I try to walk really fast."
That's the Bill Guerin we know and love. It may not have worked out for the best in Dallas, but he made a fan out of me. Congratulations to him on a wonderful career.