Looks like any question of whether or not Philippe Boucher plans to return to the Penguins squad was answered today. Boucher announced that he is retiring from the league after 17 seasons. His career no doubt has a fair share of accolades but, more recently at least, had an apparent brush with injuries as well.
"I have always admired athletes that have retired as champions and I am humbled to have the chance to count myself among them. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my teammates, my coaches and the organizations I played with over the years. I am going to miss being with the boys."
Just last month rumor suggested that Boucher was considering retirement. Actually it wasn't rumor - it was suggested by Boucher himself. The Penguins may have made an offer at some point to bring him back, but Bouch knew the role would be limited and likely not significant in terms of pay or contributions to the team.
When Boucher came on board with the Penguins in November 2008 in a trade that sent Daryl Sydor back to Dallas, it was evident that the Pens wanted him on board for special teams duties. Unfortunately not even a month later Boucher missed six games with an undisclosed injury, the first of many stints that would leave him out of the lineup.
In January it became obvious that whatever injury plagued him in December was still bugging him, so much so that he was listed day-to-day and missed two games. It wouldn't take long though before we all knew what that undisclosed injury really was, when on February 11 Boucher opted for left foot surgery that would leave him out of the lineup for 25 games.
He returned in good enough shape to play nine games in the playoffs, contributed one goal and three assists along the way.
I give the guy credit for knowing when to hang em up. It's no secret that injuries were really starting to pile up at this stage in his career. His main concern was for just how long he would be able to get along without being in immense pain or re-injuring himself in the process of trying to win another championship, as likely or unlikely as it may be with whatever team showed interest in signing him.
It may not have been the ideal setting career/injury wise for him in Pittsburgh, but you can't knock his result. Staggering contributions aside, I think you have to tip your hat to a guy who fought through 17 years in the league.