Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bondra Retires

Finally.

Much to the dismay of a certain cadre of folks in Darwin's Waiting Room, Peter Bondra has finally come to terms with reality and announced his retirement. He will now take over a GM of the Slovakian National Team.

Bondra was a great player on some Caps teams that didn't give him very much help. I remember a quote from Steve Konowalchuk who once said that the team expected Bondra to score a goal every night and the rest of the team would collectively chip one in themselves. How anybody thought that this would be a recipe for success is beyond me and I know that Jim Carey, Don Beaupre, and Olie Kolzig would have appreciated more help as much as Bondra did.

Bondra is still a fan favorite in Washington in part because he scored goals as spectacular as A.O. does and had as much fun scoring them as A.O. does. However, in fairness to A.O., A.O. is miles ahead of Bondra and A.O. should take Bondra's leads in just about every offense category in fewer games.

Bondra should also be remembered for his two hold outs and trade demands. We'll never know if all of that was orchestrated mainly by the player or by his agent, Rich Winter, who seemed to have a thing against the Caps. Bondra said after being traded to Ottawa for Brooks Laich in the 2004 firesale that he didn't want to be traded and pulled some serious shenanigans before signing with Atlanta after the lockout. He and his family still live in the D.C. area and from what I understand have no plans to move back to Slovakia. His contract with Slovakia runs through the end of 2008 so he isn't tied down in his new job for a long period of time.

However now, the rumors and wishes of Bondra's return as a player to the Caps should mercifully come to an end. Of the Caps who went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998, only Richard Zednik, Sergei Gonchar, Chris Simon, Ken Klee, Brendan Witt, and Kolzig remain in the NHL and only Kolzig is still with the Caps. Maybe the Caps will retire Bondra's number 12, maybe they won't. Bondra certainly did not get enough credit around the league playing on a Washington team that is considered an NHL backwater even before the firesale so he could have a long wait before entering the Hall of Fame if he ever gets there. But at least at this point in time we can wish Bondra luck as he opens a new chapter in his life and be thankful that pleas for his return will now end.

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