Super Mario to Retire? states that Mario Lemieux may retire after his post-game comments.

Mario’s Farewell?

TFP Staff Writer

Thursday, April 03, 2003

The Fourth Period – We may have to say goodbye to Mario Lemieux once again.

In a lengthy and light hearted post game interview, Mario Lemieux gave the strongest indications to date that he has played his final NHL game.

“If this was my last game, it was a great experience,” Lemieux said. It was Lemieux who flashed vintage form in dominating the final stages of the 3rd period, leading the Penguins to a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. “If it is my last game, I wanted to finish here,” he said. Lemieux ended his playing career in Philadelphia the first time. “I wanted to do something for the organization and the fans who supported us for so many years,” he said. If indeed, it was end, it was a grand finale. Lemieux set up Eric Meloche for the game winner with 10 seconds remaining.

For Meloche, a kid who grew up in the Penguins lockerroom with his dad, former Pens goalie and current scout, Giles Meloche, it was bitter sweet. “I hope he has many more goals and assists to come,” Meloche said. “But if it is (the final point), it’s an honor.”

Lemieux’s future has been the source of conjecture and rumor. Lemieux’s potential retirement has been on the minds of his teammates, last night Lemieux admitted that it has weighed heavily on his as well.

“Yeah its been on my mind for a while and its nice to finish the way we did,” Lemieux said. That potential for retirement was the reason Lemieux came back after his latest back injury, “My back wasn’t the best last week,” said Lemieux.

Lemieux will now talk to his close friends and family. He expects a decision before July 4th. “I’m not sure I want to part of a rebuilding process,” said Lemieux, who admitted he probably intimidated a few of his younger players.

Overall, Lemieux was pleased with his comeback, “I have no regrets. I had a chance to come back and play.”