EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Devils defenceman Scott Stevens announced his retirement after more than two decades in the NHL on Tuesday, saying a year off showed him that he could live without hockey.
"I think the game is more mental than physical. You have to be in tremendous shape, but you have to want to do it in your head," the 41-year-old player said. "At this point in my career I didn't think I could put the mental parts there every day, and that's a big part of playing this game."
General manager Lou Lamoriello said Stevens, a 13-time all-star who won three Stanley Cups with the Devils and played more NHL games than any other defenceman during his 22 seasons, has "been an integral part of all the success we've had."
"He's been a leader on and off the ice as a hockey player and a person. He feels he's accomplished a lot of things and now wants to devote a lot of time to his family," Lamoriello said.
He added that Stevens, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2000 as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs, will stay with the organization in some capacity. Stevens said he would consider helping out new Devils coach Larry Robinson if asked.
Stevens, an unrestricted free agent, missed the final 44 games of the most recent NHL season, 2003-04, after sustaining a head injury against Pittsburgh on Jan. 7, 2004. He said Tuesday he is in good health and that the risk of another injury was not a major factor in his decision.
-thanks to www.tsn.ca