On the decision, "I don't think it's one specific event or thing. As you play your last year, you get to be 40 and things come into play. My family, my kids, I just felt that it was time. They are getting of age where I am missing a lot of stuff and you can't get that time back. That played a huge part in my decision. "
On saying during the year that he wanted to keep playing, "I always felt that anything I do I am 100% committed. In the middle of the season if I start thinking I won't play next year it could be taking my foot off the gas. I wanted to stay committed in what I was doing and focused. Once the last horn goes you get a chance to reflect a bit and that is what I did."
On seeing what was out there in free agency, "I knew teams were interested and knew the Rangers situation with the cap. If my heart was in it we would have found a way but for me, at that point, my heart wasn't in it. If I do something I am 100%. Now it's time to be 100% dad and family man."
How did the kids react, "they were happy. My 7 year old can probably go either way, my older boys were pretty excited that daddy will be around more. "
Did you get an offer, "yea, we did, there were. It wasn't something that, I wasn't ready to announce it before July 1. To be honest, we felt it out there but before July 1 I was 80/20 wanting to retire and then it was flattering to get offers but at the same time, when the offers come you think that if you go that way, the preparation and all that with it, my heart wasn't in it so I would rather walk away and move on."
Has it hit you, "Yea, it hit me. For the first time there is no agenda and no training, I don't have to answer for anyone and its' a very nice place to be. It's nice to be with the kids, every summer I am anyway, but when you are training and preparing for a season there is always a little stress that comes with it, and the prep, are you ready, are you doing everything you can, now there is none of that. It's a great place to be."
Did the playoffs factor in, "no, honestly it didn't. I had a lot of great scoring chances and they just weren't going in. It compounded from there, got inside my head a little. I can sit here and be proud that my last year I scored 21, year before I scored 30. Do I still think that I can play, yea, but it's time to move on and do something else."
On being with the Rangers, "Playing here at MSG, that playoff run we had both years. I feel that I had a chance both years to win the cup and it didn't happen. Teammates were unbelievable, the organization was great with everything that I have gone through in such a short period of time. Losing my mom last year in the middle of the run and how the team handled it. I only played parts of two years here but I feel that I have been here for at least five with all that has happened. I wouldn't change anything. Of course I wanted to win the cup. It's tough, you can do everything right and still not win it. I really felt that is how it was. I'll cherish those two years scoring a goal at Madison Square Garden in the playoffs against Montreal, that is one of the highlights of my career and I am glad I was able to experience that and have my family be part of it, especially here in New York. We are making this home full time the past two years and moving forward."
On being a future Hall of Famer, "that is tough. I don't think anyone will sit up here and say they are a Hall of Famer. Everything that I have done right now, I can't do anything else about it. People will analyze my career any which way they want. I am proud how I played and how I cam in and how I am leaving. Whatever that gets me is out of my control."
On the HOF, "anyone who has played a long time, it's the ultimate prize individually. It's definitely something that would be a big moment for me and my family but it won't make me look at my career any other way. I am proud of how I came in and proud of how I am leaving. So, the rest is not up to me."
On his legacy, "I would like to say that I was part of that, being able to see players, not so much for their size but for the athletes and the hockey players they are. I looked up to Theo Fleury and Cliff Ronning and my idol Mats Naslund was a little guy. With little guys, if they are there, why can't I be there. I know a lot of shorter guys, I get to meet them, I was probably their idol at some point and they are going to be someones idol at some point. That is the beauty of our game, the wheel keeps turning, you try and leave a mark and I think I have done that. It's nice to see the quality of play and the speed and creativity and the league is bringing in the best hockey players who are out there, not the best over a certain height. "
On being involved after retiring, "I don't know exactly what I will do. I will coach my kids and we will take it from there. I am what, three weeks now. I would like to say that I am involved in hockey in some capacity and for me right now that comes with coaching my kids. If that comes into something bigger after, we will see but I am not jumping into anything now."
On thinking about post hockey, "My focus has always been my kids after playing. I missed a lot of their games and now to be at every practice and game and to help them on the ice during practice, that is something I am looking forward to do. My whole family has been supportive and it's been about me a lot and now it's time for someone else, my kids, my wife is pretty happy having a full-time parent alongside. Things will become a little clearer in the next year, I will just take it a month at at time and see how it goes."
What are you most proud of, "It's hard to... the day I retired with social media and everything, I got a lot of kind messages from players I have played with and guys who I didn't. You play hockey as kids and into the NHL and hockey is a team sport. The number one thing to me was to be a good teammate and I can honestly say that I was a good teammate. Regardless of the individual success or team, I can say that I was a good teammate and I can be proud of that."
Did you think it could be it during game 7, "any athlete who is in at my age and in the last year of the deal and it's a do or die game and that crosses your mind. I am not under contract for next year. The horn goes and you shake hands and the wheel starts turning and it did for me."
On what Tampa meant to him, "Tampa is where I grew up as an athlete. I came in and tried to make a name for myself, tried to get a full time job, tried to be the player I know I can be. Every year I got better. It's like I grew up there. Tampa will always be special to me. Rick Dudley and Jay Feaster and John Tortorella got my career started. They believed in me and it took off because helped me a long the way. It allowed me to play a long time and I never felt like something was given to me, I felt that I earned everything that I got but people help you along the way. I played with great guys in Tampa and here too. I am glad I got to experience something else. You play your whole career somewhere and you don't know anything else. For me, I always felt that I wanted to finish my career in New York so to be able to do that, it's exactly how I wanted and I'm happy about it."
On the Rangers in the future, "this team is in great shape. First and foremost you have Henrik in net, a great defensemen group, to have success you build from the back out. This team is built for that, built for a deep run. There is always moves with the cap and you saw that this summer but there is a strong core group that facilitate the transition of players coming in. You saw that last year, we were one game away from going to the SCF and if you would have thought that in September with the new players we had, I don't think anyone would have put money on it. A great core group, good leadership at the top with Gorts now. AV is a proven coach in the league. I don't see why this team won't have continued success."
Have the Lightning been in touch about a night, "no."
Is there anything else you would have liked to accomplish, "no. I think I have gotten so much out of the league, I was able to win a Cup, be in a cup final another time. Played in two conference final, I was part of 3 or 4 times being down 3-1 and coming back, I had opportunities to play the game at the highest level and highest moments. Individually I was blessed to win some awards, I tried to make it to the NHL, just a kid living his dream. Never thought I would have all that success. I would sound pretty greedy if I said I wanted this or that more. I have experienced a lot and fortunate to have played a lot."
Other plans besides coaching his kids, "Getting better at golf. That is the first part, look like you know what you are doing. I will probable play some great fall golf which I never have before and I will coach the kids."
Will you miss it, "I will miss being around the guys. The fact that I will be involved with my kids hockey will give me the competitiveness but I will miss my teamamtes and the guys and the locker room. I will be watching, it's a transition to me but I couldn't be happier with my decision. The easiest tough decision I could make."