November 18, 1997 in Sports

Lemieux Takes Place Among Elite

Associated Press
 

Mario Lemieux, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday night, has ended any hope he might lace on the skates for Canada at the Winter Olympics in Japan in February.

“I will not play in the Olympics,” Lemieux said before an induction ceremony for himself, Bryan Trottier and Glen Sather.

“It would be very difficult for me to attempt to come back and get back in world-class shape, and I don’t think it would be fair to the rest of the players who are trying to play the whole year to get a spot at the Olympics.

“I’m retired and I’m going to stay retired.”

At 32, the six-time NHL scoring champion, who helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992, has no regrets about his decision last spring to walk away from hockey.

“I don’t miss the game at all,” said Lemieux, one of the few players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame without the usual three-year waiting period. “I’ve watched a few games (on TV) and just the way the game is being played right now is not much fun for the players and not much fun for me to watch.

“I’m enjoying my life quite a bit right now with my (four) kids, playing a lot of golf in Florida. There’s not much pressure. It’s been great. I’ve been relaxing and traveling. I don’t see myself coming back any time soon. I think I’m retired for good.”

Trottier, who led the New York Islanders to four championships in the early 1980s, was the only other inductee in the player category.

Sather, the coach and president of the five-time Stanley Cup-champion Edmonton Oilers, was inducted in the builders category.

Seeing red

The Russian Ice Hockey Federation named 19 players to its Olympic team, leaving out several top NHL players who criticized the federation and said they won’t compete for their country.

Detroit’s Slava Fetisov, Slava Kozlov, Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov along with Phoenix goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin were left off the team.

Vancouver Canucks All-Star right wing Pavel Bure heads the list of Russian Olympians.

Other forwards are Chicago’s Alexei Zhamnov, Colorado’s Valeri Kamensky, Ottawa’s Alexei Yashin, Alexei Kovalev of the New York Rangers, Edmonton’s Andrei Kovalenko, New Jersey’s Valeri Zelepukin, Calgary’s German Titov and Sergei Nemchinov of the New York Islanders.

Defensemen are Pittsburgh’s Darius Kasparaitis, Edmonton’s Boris Mironov, Colorado’s Alexei Gusarov, Alexander Karpovtsev of the Rangers, Ottawa’s Igor Kravchuk, Anaheim’s Dmitri Mironov, Toronto’s Dmitri Yushkevich and Buffalo’s Alexei Zhitnik.

Goaltenders are Anaheim’s Mikhail Shtalenkov and Chicago’s Andrei Trefilov.

The Utah Grizzlies of the International League announced the retirement of left wing Tony Horacek, a member of the original Spokane Chiefs in 1985.

On the ice

Al MacInnis scored from his side of the red line - a shot of nearly 100 feet - beating Felix Potvin with 1.8 seconds left to give the visiting St. Louis Blues a 3-2 victory Monday night over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

At Montreal, Mark Recchi scored two goals as the Montreal Canadiens extended Tampa Bay’s winless streak to 16 games with a 4-1 victory.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email