Brian Rafalski Retires After 11 NHL Seasons

Brian Rafalski, one of the best American defenseman to play in the NHL, called it a career on Wednesday morning. The 37-year-old leaves the Detroit Red Wings with one more year left on his contract and $6 million on the table. 

He noted injury woes as the reason for hanging up the skates before his contract was up, saying that "there wasn't a day when I wasn't on the training table" during the just-completed season. Rafalski had arthroscopic knee surgery in October and there were reports that he played in the postseason without an ACL, which is all sorts of insane.

Rafalski also mentioned the importance of spending time with his family. Healthy time.

"The decision was made about two months ago, with my wife, weighing different factors in our lives," he said. "With hockey not being at the top, it was time to move on."

$6 million dollars or a chance to spend time with his family -- time that he won't be able to get back? Yeah, commendable decision. And it's not like Rafalski should have any regrets about his career, either. He played 833 games and won three Stanley Cups, plus two Olympic silver medals. Hell of a career.

For more on Rafalski's retirement, check in with our Red Wings blog, Winging It In Motown.

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