10. Peter Forsberg—OK, he hasn't announced his retirement and then come back. But after sitting out most of last season before signing with the Avs—and with the foot excuse at the ready to do the same again this year—Foppa has more in common with Brett Favre than you might think.
9. Mats Sundin—Again, he hasn't said he's retiring...yet. But couldn't you just see him do it, regret it, and then un-retire with the hopes of winning a Cup?
8. Guy Lafleur—The Habs legend returned to the NHL after being inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He played for the Rangers before signing on with Montreal's rival, the Quebec Nordiques. His game was on the decline, but that Flower Power energy drink of his sure took off, didn't it?
7. Scott Niedermayer—He had it all: championships at every level, MVP awards, a trophy case that would make most stars stutter.
So, after winning the Conn Smythe in leading the Ducks to a Stanley CUp, it made perfect sense for him to call a press conference to declare: "Ummm... let me think about this for a while."
Anaheim GM Brian Burke waited and waited and eventually signed D-man Mathieu Schneider to a bloated contract, only to watch Niedermayer return to the lineup. His decision to come back for another season, coupled with Schneider's contract, has led to cap problems this year.
6. Teemu Selanne—See Forsberg.
5. Dominik Hasek—The Dominator announced his retirement, then returned to a Red Wing team that had Curtis Joseph and Manny Legace between the pipes.
He was promptly injured and missed the rest of that season.
Then, it was off to Ottawa to mess with the Sens Stanley Cup aspirations (perhaps Ray Emery was watching his side show a little too closely).
This year, Hasek's poor playoff performance was not enough to derail Detroit, but he was nothing more than a weak link on their dash to the Cup. He retired in the off-season—apparently for good this time.
4. Theo Fleury—He didn't officially hang up his skates, but Fleury was forced to walk away from the NHL after several substance abuse-related suspensions.
He toiled in obscurity in Western Canada's North Peace Hockey League and with the Belfast Giants in Ireland before returning to Calgary to start a concrete company. Ads for his concrete business can still be heard on Calgary radio stations.
3. Mario Lemieux—You had to know that Lemieux would do it right. Cancer and back problems chased him from the game, but he returned three years later with an All-Star season and nominations for the Hart and Lester B. Pearson trophies.
By the time he retired again at age 40, the Magnificent One had led Team Canada to Olympic gold in Salt Lake and he passed the torch of hockey greatness to Sidney Crosby.
2. Gary Roberts—Perhaps the most inspiring "un-retire" in hockey history, Roberts returned to the NHL after an 18-month hiatus. Neck injuries forced him out, but changes to his diet and training excercises made him strong enough to return. He's still playing, thanks mainly to his off-ice regimen, although a more permanent retirement can't be far off.
1. Gordie Howe—It seemed like 25 seasons was enough for Mr. Hockey, but he returned to pro hockey in 1973 to play with his sons, Mark and Marty, in the WHA.
At age 51, Howe played a full season and played in the All-Star Game with some 19-year-old kid named Wayne Gretzky. But that wasn't the last we'd see of Howe. In 1997, he signed a one-game contract with the Detroit Vipers of the IHL. His one shift meant he played pro hockey in six decades.