After a short stint with the heavily favored Vancouver Canucks, it looks like Own Nolan is in the tail end of his career. It all got started in the 1st Round of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. The Quebec Nordiques chose the Irish born Canadian with their 1st overall pick and once he slipped that sweet Nordiques jersey on he was beginning a storied NHL career.
The thing about long and storied sports careers is that they end three different ways:
- Horribly short due to injury (see Bobby Orr)
- On the player’s terms
- When they are no longer wanted by top level teams
Luckily for Nolan he never suffered any serious injuries that would jeopardize his career. The bad thing is though that he seems to be holding onto a belief that he will be back in the NHL for one more season. Unlike Bret Favre south of the border in the NFL teams are not knocking on his door to try and convince him to come back. Doors aren’t being knocked on, they are being closed.
It was said at the start of camp that Nolan still had plenty left in the tanks, but it was clear that he was closer to E than originally expected. Sure, last season former Canuck Brendan Morrison came into training camp on a tryout contract, was released and went on to find a new team (with the damn Flames of all places). This is not the likely sequence of events for Nolan. After playing lat season in the Swiss National League A it seems more likely that Nolan will pack up his skates and head back to Europe for another year or just hang em up for good.
Is Owen Nolan an eventual Hall of Famer? 1200 NHL Regular Season games, a 4 time All-Star, 422 Goals, 885 Points plus 40 points in 65 career playoff games. Let’s not forget the times he wore the Maple Leaf (the blue one and the red one). He was a member of the 2002 Men’s Hockey Team that took home the Gold Medal in the Olympics that year.
Having played for the Nordiques/Avalanche, the Sharks, The Maple Leafs, the Coyotes, the Flames and the Wild in his career you would be hard pressed to find a bad story about Nolan’s work ethic, dedication and determination as a pro athlete. He lead his teams on and off the ice. If it ends up that the preseason game on Sunday was the last time we see Nolan lace up the skates for an NHL game I can be proud to say I was a witness to his impact on the game. And if he goes into the Hall he will be doing it as a San Jose Shark.