Athletes spend the entirety of the first few decades of their lives training to be the elite of their fraternity, and for no better reason than a complete unawareness regarding life without their craft, they often cling onto their profession too long.
Some players can actually pull off a duo of masterful seasons even into their late 30s. Hal Gill and Nick Lidstrom are proof that peak conditioning and determination can allow the body to exceed its normal limitations.
Both of these veterans approach or exceed two decades in the NHL but deliver to their teams.
Yet, considering only remarkable athletes, most are not physiological phenomenons that late into a career. While their own peers may excel, continuing to play the sport like an aging fine wine, the egos of other athletes surely cause them to carry on beyond what can be considered graceful.
Most of us...well, we just get old. Sadly, old in professional sports comes at an age far earlier than what seems psychologically fair.
Young men are senior citizens in their upper-30s, and hockey does not concern itself with senior benefits. The young guys hit the geezers just as hard.
There are a great number of aged hockey icons who cling to the false belief of a resurgent 2011, far beyond those that this article gives specific mention.
Of those, one or two players may surprise us, while a dozen others continue to struggle for vast sums of money.
Putting it into perspective, if the number of clubs a player has signed with exceeds less than the number of years covered by those signings, something is very likely to be seriously wrong.
To put it more simply, its phenomenal how many NHL players—even if for love of the game—allow themselves to be tossed about like a hacky-sack, opposed to the dignity and satisfaction that comes with the preservation of a fine career.
The following five players seriously need to consider the remarkable nature of their accomplishments and ask themselves if a respectful retirement is what's best for the game they love.
Some may, most won't and a few have already prolonged their mediocrity.