As the lockout continues to drag on, some pessimistic fans have already started wondering which players may not return if the 2012-13 season is cancelled. If the NHL and NHLPA can't figure out a way to make a deal and save the season, we may have seen the last of popular veterans like Teemu Selanne, Martin Brodeur, and Daniel Alfredsson.
Hockey fans have been through this before. When the 2004-05 season was cancelled, it cost fans the chance to see one more year from several hockey legends. Here's a look back at some of star players whose careers were cut short the last time the NHL scrapped an entire season.
Adam Oates - Retired after the lockout but attempted a brief comeback in 2009, we assume, since that's the only logical way to explain a guy with 1,400 career points not making the Hall of Fame until this year.
Al MacInnis - Decided to use some downtime during the last lockout to try out his slapshot with one of those fancy modern superfelx sticks, at which point he was immediately kidnapped by government scientists who used him to power the Large Hadron Collider.
Ron Francis - Was so well-respected during his long career with the Whalers, Penguins and Hurricanes that some fans paid tribute to him upon retirement by creating bizarre Photoshops of him wearing a Maple Leafs uniform for some reason.
Peter Forsberg - The lockout was almost an entire year long, so let's face it he probably retired at least a half dozen times when nobody was paying attention.
Mark Messier - Is perhaps best remembered for flashing a huge grin as he was being handed the 1994 Stanley Cup, since it was the last time in history that an NHL player would ever smile near Gary Bettman.
Steve Thomas – Retired as arguably one the greatest NHL players ever produced by Stockport, England, according to sportswriters who really need to work on taking a more definitive stance on things.
Brett Hull - Actually attempted a brief post-lockout comeback with the Phoenix Coyotes that lasted just five games, during which he recorded zero goals and showed he was clearly no longer capable of playing at a professional level without embarrassing himself - or, as it was known until last year, "The biggest success story in Phoenix Coyotes history".
Cliff Ronning - Retired after a 17-year career that was almost but not quite long enough for you to stop constantly mixing him up with Craig Janney.
Adrian Aucoin - The classy veteran refuses to allow himself to be included with the other legends whose careers ended during the lockout, modestly saying things like "I actually didn't retire in 2004" and "No seriously, I'm still playing today, why do you keep patting me on the head when I say that?"
Felix Potvin - Retired in order to spend more time with his family beating up members of Ron Hextall's family.
Arturs Irbe - At 37 years old and after nearly 1,000 NHL and international games, Irbe's original set of goaltending equipment disintegrated so he figured he might as well retire too.
Scott Stevens - Announced his retirement at a press conference that consisted entirely of him saying "Soooo, it's 2005 and we all still agree that blindside hits to the head that cause concussions are awesome, right? OK, super, I'll just be leaving now, no need to ever mention any of this again."
Roman Hamrlik - Oh wait, that's the guy who's never going to be seen again after this lockout, according to the group of player ominously cracking their knuckles right now in his driveway.
Patented strategy: Would keep the mood light at practice by having underperforming players take part in a fun drill called "Why don't you skate towards me as fast as you can and we'll pretend you’re Bobby Orr."
From The ten greatest coaches in NHL history, one of 24 chapters of brand new material available exclusively in The Best of Down Goes Brown.Buy today: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Nook | Chapters/Indigo | Kobo | iBooks