(There's an update on December 29th, 2009-- FYI)
With Joe Sakic, Claude Lemieux, and evidently Mats Sundin all calling it a career this week (or will eventually....we're looking at you Mats), you can almost tell that the era of NHL '94 could be in its twillight. It's almost like the "Tecmo Bowl" in football, NHL '94 seems to be the gauge on how old we all are and why we won against the computer with the offsides turned off.
So, with those three big timers leaving-- who is left amongst those where were in NHL '94. And yes, I'm well aware that didn't make sense-- there were nouns and verbs, but all jumbled together. Deal with it.
Let's do this roster by roster, and if I miss anyone.....tell me (Thanks to NHL94.com with the Roster Info):
ANAHEIM: Sean Hill-- While Hill is buried over in Switzerland, he is still somewhat active and will be added to this list. Although his 44 rating was hurtful, he was great for an expansion team.
BOSTON: All Retired
BUFFALO: Brad May, Dominik Hasek-- May is a free agent and could be off this list soon, but odds are someone will take a chance. Way down the list due to skill, May was a scrapper and you only put him in if you had to make a line-change. Hasek was the second stringer behind Fuhr and with his unretirement to play in Czech Republic-- he's back on the list.
CALGARY: Robert Reichel-- Good catch by a reader (Comment #14), as Reichel is still over in the Czech Republic. He was never a flashy guy, but a solid contributor and a leader on the ice as well. Going back home has given him a shot in the arm and some certainty when it comes his role in the line-up.
CHICAGO: Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios-- Both of these guys could be gone in a second, but both were studs in NHL '94. Roenick was the top forward, Chelios the top defender on the Hawks and knew how to rip it up. It's not so much me as it is Roenick-- he's good.
DALLAS: Mike Modano-- Modano is back for another season and continues to be somewhat consistent, much like he was in the game itself. Along with Russ Courtnall and Dave Gagner, the Stars appeal was only up-front as the rest of the team was abysmal.
DETROIT: Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Slava Kozlov-- While Kozlov was still getting a taste for the NHL, Fedorov was a stud and Lidstrom was starting to get noticed. Though Feds is back in Russia, Lidstrom and Kozlov motor on in the NHL.
EDMONTON: Doug Weight-- Weight is still around on Long Island, but who knows how much time he will have left. A top guy for the Oilers, he could be the only guy who was a starter, but was not in the top three ratings for forwards.
FLORIDA: All Retired
HARTFORD: Michael Nylander-- Though many still hate him in DC, Nylander is the last Whale player from this game and it's almost sad to think really.
LOS ANGELES: Rob Blake, Alexei Zhitnik, Darryl Sydor-- All defenseman, but only Blake and Sydor remain in the NHL-- Zhitnik is in Russia.. For a team with great up-front presence, the back line wasn't too shabby either.
MONTREAL: Mike Keane, Mathieu Schneider, Sean Hill-- This was the thing with NHL '94, you had expansion teams, but they kept the player on their team from the year before-- like Hill. Keane is still toiling in the minors, while Schneider remains in limbo, as he is a UFA.
NEW JERSEY: Bill Guerin, Scott Niedermayer-- Both of these guys were deep in the depth chart because they were on the younger side, but now they have both flourished throughout. Niedermayer was being Bruce Driver, for pete's sake.
NY ISLANDERS: Darius Kasparaitis-- He's still around, folks-- albeit it in Russia, but it counts. A top d-man on a subpar team, his hitting was used to keep people away from Glenn Healy and his 47 rating.
NY RANGERS: Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Zubov-- Kovalev just signed a new deal in Ottawa, while Zubov has been sturdy at times, but fragile in others. Both young bucks in '94, somehow stuck around.
OTTAWA: All Retired
PHILADELPHIA: Mark Recchi, Rod Brind'Amour-- Recchi has one year left in him and will soon be off this list, while Rod "the Bod" could outlast everyone else because of his insane conditioning. It would be the great honor to be the last '94ers around.
PITTSBURGH: Jaromir Jagr-- Though he's in Russia, he has thought about coming back. It would be interesting to see if he still had it if he did-- but don't get your hopes up; looking at you, Edmonton.
QUEBEC: Adam Foote, Owen Nolan, Chris Simon-- Simon is toiling in Russia, but both Foote and Nolan are veteran leaders in Colorado and Minnesota, respectively. Foote made a tour stop in Columbus before coming back to Colorado.
SAN JOSE: Sandis Ozolinsh-- Ozo is in Russia, like many others, to play out the end of their careers.
ST. LOUIS: Brendan Shanahan, Bret Hedican, Curtis Joseph-- All three are UFAs, all three could be gone in a split, especially Shanahan and Joseph. Hedican may have some left in the tank, but who knows how this could come out come next season.
TAMPA BAY: Roman Hamrlik-- Hammer is still getting it done on the Canadiens now, but could be playing out the last few years on this list. Though he's done better in the past few years, you wonder how much this luck can last.
TORONTO: All Retired
VANCOUVER: Petr Nedved, Jiri Slegr-- Both of these guys are back in the Czech Republic, but both had their moments for the NHL. Built for speed, these guys could wheel in the 16-bit world.
WASHINGTON: All Retired
WINNIPEG: Teemu Selanne, Keith Tkachuk, Teppo Numminen-- All three guys are still kicking it and kicking it pretty well. Though Selanne has been indecisive, Numminen has had health issues, and Tkachuk has been at the buffet-- they round out a great trio of players around in the NHL.
While there's still a decent amount of players out there-- they could all be gone within two years....tops. It's something where it's a loss of innocence for hockey fans of a young age who grew up to love this cult-classic game. So, now I'm taking bets on who will be the last player to play who was rostered on NHL '94.
UPDATED ON DECEMBER 29TH 2009!!!