Ray to step away
Bourque to announce retirement Tuesday
ATLANTA (CNNSI.com) -- Sports Illustrated's Michael Farber reports that Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ray Bourque will retire after 22 seasons in the NHL. According to Farber, the 40-year-old veteran of more than 1,500 games will announce his retirement Tuesday at a news conference in Denver.
Bourque entered the league in 1979 and set a dubious record by playing more games in the NHL without winning the Stanley Cup than any player in history. Bourque played in 1,825 games in 22 seasons before winning the Cup with the Avs on June 9.
Bourque appeared in 19 All-Star games, won the Norris Trophy five times and finished as the runner-up for the Norris five other times. Bourque won the Calder Trophy in 1980 as the league's top rookie for the 1979-80 season when he tallied 65 points and a plus-52 as a 19-year-old in Boston.
Bourque played for 20 1/2 seasons in Boston, but he requested a trade to a contender in March 2000 in hopes of winning an NHL title. He finally got it when the Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils for the Stanley Cup earlier this month.
Bourque's 410 goals and 1,579 points in 1,612 regular-season games make him the highest-scoring defenseman in league history.
During the 2000-01 season, Bourque scored seven goals, had 52 assists, was a plus-25 in 80 games with the Avs and again was a Norris Trophy finalist, finishing second to Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom. In the playoffs he averaged nearly 30 minutes a game.
By retiring, Bourque will give up the option year on his contract, worth $6.5 million and will receive a $1 million buyout from the Avalanche. Bourque's retirement will save the Avs $5.5 million, helping their pursuit of their other marquee free agents: Joe Sakic, Rob Blake and Patrick Roy.
Bourque's Boston-based agent, Steve Freyer, said Bourque had made a decision about his future, but Freyer wouldn't reveal what it was.
Tears streaming down his face, he hoisted the Stanley Cup on the ice at Pepsi Center, the same facility where he will formalize his retirement on Tuesday at 2 p.m. EDT.
During a parade for the Avalanche through the streets of downtown Denver two days after capturing the cup June 9, Bourque said, "Do I really want to come back? I'm 40 years old. I could play, no doubt about that. I played Game 7 two days ago, and I played pretty well.
"It's not a matter of whether you can or can't play. You've got to look at it mentally, physically. It's not the easiest thing to play when you're 40 years old. It takes a lot of energy.
"It has been great. I've enjoyed it. I've got to see if the fire, the passion and everything you need to be successful playing this game is going to be there."
Although he parried questions about his future, saying he would announce his decision in a few weeks, he has talked recently about family concerns.
Bourque's wife, Christiane, and their children, aged 17, 15 and 10, stayed in Boston after he was traded.
His eldest son, Christopher, a promising 15-year-old hockey player, will start school at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass., in the fall, and Bourque wants to be closer to him when he starts school.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.