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Wednesday April 7, 2010 10:37 pm

Tkachuk’s career to close Saturday night




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Keith TkachukThe latest in a long line of NHL greats has announced his pending retirement as of the end of the season. Keith Tkachuk will play his final game on the road against Nashville this coming Saturday, after which he’ll unlace his skates as a professional hockey player for the final time after a 19-year long career. In that time, Tkachuk has established himself as one of the greatest American-born hockey players with one of the most deceiving names to pronounce.

Tkachuk’s final home game will be Friday night against Anaheim, and the game itself will be followed by a ceremony held by the Blues organization to honor him and his career. That career began in Winnipeg when he was drafted 19th overall in 1990. He played with the Jets/Coyotes franchise until 2001 when he went to St. Louis. He had a brief stint with Atlanta in 2007 after being traded at the deadline, but rejoined the Blues following the season.

In 1,200 career games, Tkachuk has 538 goals and 525 assists. He also has 2,219 penalty minutes. His 89 playoff games consist of 28 goals and 28 assists with 176 penalty minutes. He is a four-time U.S. Olympian and won silver with the team in 2002. He is also a five-time All-Star. He is seventh on the all-time list of left wingers in goals, eighth with 1,063 points, and 10th in power-play goals at 212. His totals for goals and points have him second and fifth among U.S.-born players.

The NHL is losing a great, gritty player in Tkachuk; as well as one of the greatest Americans to lace them up. Unless he chooses the unceremonious un-retirement, this move also squashes the joking-rumors that if the Coyotes move back to Winnipeg next season, he’ll move back to Canada to finish things where they began. Regardless, Tkachuk’s loss anywhere is devastating, but it comes as the right time. He’s not nearly as impactful for the Blues as he once was, and walking away under his own power is a great sendoff for a great player.

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