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Painful goodbye

Injuries force ex-Sen Pitlick to hang up skates

By BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

CHESTER, N.S. -- Lance Pitlick had to fight for everything he got in his NHL career, but yesterday, he decided he couldn't win the battle with Father Time.

The former Senators defenceman, who was in training camp vying for a spot with the Colorado Avalanche, told the Sun he's decided to retire because he can no longer stand the pain that goes with playing the game.

Because of his strong work ethic and easy-going attitude, Pitlick was one of the most popular players to ever wear a Senators uniform. Yesterday, the 35-year-old told Avalanche GM Pierre Lacroix and coach Bob Hartley that he was done.

"I fought the good fight, but it's over. I decided to retire," Pitlick said from Denver. "I've been thinking about it for awhile and I wanted to leave on my own terms. I want to go while I can still live a normal lifestyle off the ice.

"I've been taking (pain relief) drugs for the last two weeks in camp just to help ease the pain.

"I spoke with Peter Forsberg the other night and he told me the reason he took (last) year off was because he couldn't stand the pain. I just can't deal with the pain anymore. It's time for me to move on."

During his eight NHL seasons, Pitlick recorded 16 goals, 33 assists and 298 penalty minutes in 393 regular-season games.

He established himself as a full-time big-leaguer with Ottawa from 1995-99, before leaving as an unrestricted free agent.

"My best memories are going to be with the Senators. I had fun my three years in Florida, but Ottawa is the place I'm always going to remember because of the people and the success we had," said Pitlick.

"I spoke with (Sens president) Roy Mlakar because I just wanted to thank him for everything he'd done for me. I'm going to do the same (with coach) Jacques Martin. He was great to me. Everybody in that city was."

Pitlick says he's not sure what lies ahead for him.

"I've got some friends with a place in the mountains outside Denver. I think I'm going to go there for a few days and just spend time with them. I could stay home, but I'd drive my wife (Lisa) nuts," he said.

"Right now, I just need some time to think about things. This was a big decision for me, but I know it was the right one."

 

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