Mr. Hockey Award: Rasmussen Recounts Career FORTUNE, Despite Near-misses FOR THE Ice
“I’ll never touch it,” Rasmussen, 42, said recently, while taking a break from the hockey training work he has done since retiring from pro hockey a decade ago. Ten years before that, when Rasmussen was playing his second NHL season with the Buffalo Sabers, his team arrived within two wins of earning the Cup but dropped to the Dallas Stars in a six-game affair. That evening In the locker room in Buffalo, Rasmussen recalls veterans with an increase of than 15 NHL periods under their belts weeping openly, cognizant that likely their best chance to hoist hockey’s ultimate goal had just handed down.
The pessimist may look at Rasmussen’s hockey career as a series of close to misses. He stood out in high school but didn’t make it to circumstances competition. He was a university celebrity with the Minnesota Gophers, but didn’t play in a Frozen Four. He earned a good residing in the NHL for more than a decade, but fell just lacking the game’s top award. But when you talk to Rasumssen on the sun-drenched summer evening outside a suburban hockey rink, he talks only of his fortune at every known level. For instance, he visited work in the NHL at the precise moment when the Sabers were on the upswing. “I got lucky,” said Rasmussen.
“I arrived in and we had a goalie that was beyond good. “We performed hard but we were never heading to come out of the Lake Conference and go directly to the state competition,” Rasmussen said. But instead than dwell on his rival’s getting to play in the famous state competition, Rasumssen focused on the near future.
Like in so many other regions of his life, he considers himself lucky, and says that passing up on playing in St. Paul in March doesn’t establish him or keep him up at night a quarter-century later. “If I didn’t have the career I had developed with the university and the NHL, maybe I’d have a completely different answer for you, but I knew I had formed hockey beyond high school,” he said.
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“The hockey was very good. Our team was deep really. It was lots of fun,” Rasumussen recalled of his time as a Gopher, playing alongside teammates like long-time NHL defenseman Mike Hobey and Crowley Baker winner Brian Bonin. As a professional, Rasmussen logged five seasons with the Sabers, a season with the Los Angeles Kings, three seasons with the New Jersey Devils (missing the 2004-05 season due to the NHL lockout).
“He was simply a beast of a kid. He arrived in and was already so strong for a young guy, that he’d just bowled people over,” said former Minnesota Duluth celebrity Derek Plante, a teammate of Rasmussen’s for elements of two periods in Buffalo. “I don’t know very well what the objectives were for him, but he did a great job.
Lots of credit scoring chances and made most of the right played when he first got there. Rasmussen also played a season in Europe before shoulder and back accidents hastened his retirement 10 years ago. “For the hundredth time, I lucked out. That day I actually retired and took the job.