Numminen to retire

A reader over in Finland offers a rough translation of the following article:

Teppo Numminen has decided to hang up his skates. He told Finnish newspaper Suomen Kuvalehti that the 82 game season was starting to feel too onerous for him during the 2008-09 season. He had some restrictions from doctors after the heart operation he went through (e.g. he wasn't allow to lift weights normally) and it has affected his game. He has to take blood pressure medicines as well.

"I had to take a mental step backwards when the medicines remind me all the time about the condition," Numminen said. "The level of my game decreased and my skating speed slowed down. Sometimes I was very tired.

"If somebody had told me [in the beginning] that I would be playing in the NHL at the age of 40 and have a total of 1,454 games in my pocket, I wouldn't have believed it. What can you do but just wonder and be grateful of it?"

Jari Kurri of the Finnish Olympic team has asked Numminen to work as a scout during the NHL season.

Numminen's been around a long, long time, and despite missing all but one game the season before last, is 38th all-time in NHL games played. In a bit of a quirky stat, he's been on the ice for more goals against than all but 21 players.

Numminen broke into the league with the Winnipeg Jets 21 years ago and played eight seasons in Manitoba and another seven once the club moved to Phoenix. He leads that franchise, by far, in total games played, with 1,098 games as a Jet or Coyote.

Numminen was the last remaining active player of the 252 chosen in the 1986 draft and has played more regular season NHL games than any other European-trained player.

He's also well out in first in terms of NHL games played by a Finnish player (only three have ever played 1,000 games) and I've heard from more than one hockey fan over there today mourning the loss.

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