Gilmour Set to Walk Away from Game


Doug Gilmour is 90 percent sure that this season, his 18th in the NHL, will be his last.

The 37-year-old forward is set to call it a career when the Buffalo Sabres season ends.

“I’m pretty sure, yeah,” Gilmour said Tuesday before the Sabres beat the New York Rangers. “To me it’s like 90 percent. It’s got to be something perfect for my family and I. There are so many things involved that will make my decision.

“The odds aren’t good, and that’s just from my personal side.”

Gilmour never played fewer than 72 games in a season until the 1997-98 campaign when he only suited up 63 times. He played 72 the following season for Chicago and 74 last season split between Chicago and Buffalo, where he was traded March 10.

Gilmour was sidelined for 10 games this season with a painful pelvic injury, that often woke him up.


“If I sat down and really thought about it, could I play another year . . . yeah, that’s not the issue,” said Gilmour, who on Tuesday became the 13th NHL player with 900 assists. “I’ve been very fortunate with injuries. I haven’t had that many except for the last four years. Previously I had never been hurt. When you start getting to that point, that’s where it starts bothering me.

“That’s where I’m like ‘Maybe I’ve got to give a hard look at what’s going on here.”’

Gilmour, who was a member of the 1989 Stanley Cup champion Calgary Flames, has averaged over a point per game in both the regular season and the playoffs.

“There’s a lot of options and a lot of things I want to do,” said Gilmour, who cited coaching his children in hockey and spending time with his family. “It’s not the money anymore it’s how healthy I am.

“When I do sit down and I think this is it, I’m going to speak to you like I’m speaking to you now. I’m not going to be sad whatsoever. I may be very proud with everything hockey has done for my family. How can I be upset about walking away from the game? It’s going to happen sooner or later.”

And when it does, Gilmour is not leaving it too far behind.

“I’ll be a fan,” he said. “I’ll enjoy watching the games, especially my old teammates when I’m sitting behind the net with a beer in my hand looking at them.”


PACKING UP?: With the NHL trade deadline coming up March 13, All-Star defenseman Rob Blake feels his days with the Los Angeles Kings are numbered.


Blake can become an unrestricted free agent after the season and it appears the Kings will deal him instead of meeting his price.

“I’ve always said I’d like to stay with Los Angeles but I think it’s pretty clear,” Blake said of the prospects of being traded. “They had some comments in the paper there last week that nothing’s really going to get done and time’s kind of running out that way.”

If dealt, Blake is not expected to sign a deal before testing the free-agent market.

“We’re going to listen,” Blake said. “We’ve always said we’d listen no matter what. Obviously if a team is interested, that’s one of the main hurdles to get over.”


SPEAKING STAR: Brett Hull, never at a loss for words, will serve as a color analyst for the Fort Worth Brahmas of the Western Professional Hockey League.

The Dallas Stars’ forward will join Saturday night’s telecast of the Brahmas home game against the Corpus Christi IceRays.

“Having Brett Hull on our broadcast is a tremendous coup for the Fort Worth Brahmas,” team general manager Mike Barack said. “Brett Hull is one of the most outspoken players in the National Hockey League and he will lend a great deal on insight and entertainment to the broadcast.”


Hull becomes the second big-name analyst in as many games for the Brahmas. Former Stanley Cup-winning goalie Andy Moog served in the role last week.


FINALLY: Rich Pilon recently got his first goal in nearly four years, then fellow defenseman Jay McKee ended his 52-game drought this week.

Another mark fell as Philadelphia forward Kent Manderville scored for the first time Wednesday night after 122 games without a goal.

Manderville finally put a puck in after several near misses this season. The most frustrating chance came in Game 100 of the streak when a goal was wiped off by an inadvertent whistle by referee Kerry Fraser.

His first goal since Oct. 2, 1999, in Carolina’s season-opener, came while Philadelphia was short-handed in a 9-4 loss at Pittsburgh.

“I was just relieved,” Manderville said. “That’s one word, and it’s overused, but it was a great relief.”


The 29-year-old Manderville scored his 28th career goal in his 499th NHL game.


NUMBER NEWS: John MacLean was quite recognizable during his 17 NHL seasons wearing No. 15. But after a stint in the minor leagues, MacLean adopted a new number upon his return to the major leagues.

MacLean was banished to the minors earlier this season by the New York Rangers, who felt the 36-year-old right wing couldn’t play anymore. The Dallas Stars took a chance and acquired MacLean during the week. But when he got to Dallas, 25-year-old forward Jamie Langenbrunner already had No. 15.

Not a problem.

MacLean just switched the numbers around and donned 51 for his debut Wednesday night at home against Edmonton. All went well as he scored a first-period goal in the Stars’ 3-2 victory.