Waived by Cana­di­ens, Plekanec opts to re­tire

The Expositor (Brantford) - - SPORTS -

MON­TREAL — To­mas Plekanec says he’s re­tir­ing from the NHL af­ter the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens placed the vet­eran cen­tre on un­con­di­tional waivers for the pur­pose of ter­mi­nat­ing his con­tract.

Plekanec said at a Fri­day press con­fer­ence that while he still wants to play hockey, he’s not in­ter­ested in be­ing claimed by an­other NHL team.

“I al­ways wanted to re­tire as a Mon­treal Cana­dien,” Plekanec said. “It’s some­thing that I’m re­ally proud of.”

Plekanec suited up for his 1,000th NHL game on Oct. 15, scor­ing a goal against the Detroit Red Wings.

But he has had trou­ble find­ing play­ing time with the Cana­di­ens, who are prov­ing to be deeper down the mid­dle this sea­son than ex­pected. Eigh­teen-yearold Jes­peri Kotkaniemi made the team out of train­ing camp and Max Domi, ac­quired from Ari­zona in the off-sea­son, has found suc­cess af­ter mov­ing to cen­tre from the wing. The Cana­di­ens also have a wealth of young for­wards play­ing for the Amer­i­can Hockey League’s Laval Rocket.

Plekanec has suited up only three times this sea­son, and hasn’t played since Oct. 17.

“(Gen­eral man­ager Marc Bergevin) ap­proached me with the sit­u­a­tion with the team, and ob­vi­ously with JK do­ing so well, and Max do­ing so well and the guys in Laval, they’re knock­ing on the door as well,” Plekanec said. “We had a good dis­cus­sion about it, and I’ve been around for long enough to know that th­ese guys need to get the chance.”

The 36-year-old from Kladno, Czech Repub­lic, said he is open to re­turn­ing to his na­tive coun­try to play for a few more years.

Plekanec leaves the NHL with 233 goals and 375 as­sists over 1,001 games. Al­most all of his NHL ca­reer has been with the Cana­di­ens, other than a 17-game stint with Toronto at the end of the 2017-18 sea­son.

Plekanec has also played in 94 ca­reer play­off games, and reg­is­tered 53 points (18 goals, 35 as­sists). He had two goals and two as­sists in seven play­off games with Toronto last sea­son, and the rest of his post-sea­son pro­duc­tion came with the Habs.

The Cana­di­ens se­lected Plekanec in the third round (71st over­all) of the 2001 draft.

Bergevin called the move a “dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion.”

“To­mas Plekanec has al­ways been a true leader for this team, and an ex­am­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion and loy­alty,” Bergevin said.


To­mas Plekanec re­tired Fri­day af­ter be­ing placed on un­con­di­tional wa­vers by the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens.

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