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Defenseman Brian Rafalski ends comeback bid

Tuesday, 01.28.2014 / 5:54 PM / News

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Defenseman Brian Rafalski ends comeback bid
Defenseman Brian Rafalski has ended his attempted comeback with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

Defenseman Brian Rafalski has ended his attempted comeback with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL.

"I'm done," Rafalski told the Ft. Myers (Fla.) News-Press on Tuesday. "My back is no good. That was one of the hurdles."

Rafalski joined the Everblades on Jan. 10 and played three games.

"There's no reason to keep going," the 40-year-old told the newspaper. "This is not something you can push or play through or goes away."

Rafalski retired from the NHL following the Detroit Red Wings' exit from the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs due to knee problems. He had one season remaining on his contract with Detroit.

He played for the Red Wings during the Alumni Showdown at Comerica Park last month.

Rafalski had 515 points in 830 regular-season games during 11 NHL seasons, split between the New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings.

The Dearborn, Mich., native won the Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2000 and 2003, and again in 2008 with the Red Wings. He won a silver medal in 2002 and 2010 as a member of the United States Olympic team.

Rafalski is a spiritual adviser for the Everblades who holds chapel for the players, the newspaper said.

"He did a really good job for us, and we're grateful to have him for those games," coach Greg Poss said. "He's a really good person to have around the team.

"He was battling back to get in shape, but at the same time, when you get injured like that, it's hard to get in shape. You're fighting an uphill battle. It's just hard to play pro sports at 40."

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I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

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