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The Joe Sakic Rule

You can sense frustration growing with the Avalanche over Joe Sakic's back injury.

"We thought we were going to have him in there," Avs coach Tony Granato said. "To have him just a shift changes your whole dynamic of what you're going to do."

"He must be really frustrated," teammate Wojtek Wolski said. "We're definitely missing him very much right now.

"This is serious. A bad back can very often mean the end of a player’s career." - Adrian Dater.

And, perhaps most tellingly

"Sakic was unavailable for comment after the game Friday." - Aaron J Lopez.

You can tell, folks in and around the Avalanche are worried. Is this the beginning of the end? Sakic appears to be frustrated with his health, and when you're playing season to season and you are 39 years old, a certain "R" word starts popping into your head more and more.

At some point, I will be one of many writers to comment on Joe Sakic's retirement. I can't speak for everyone, but I know I will be teary-eyed when I do. Whenever that happens, I will be losing my favorite athlete of all time. I'm not one to get all ga-ga over celebrity, but Super Joe is one exception. I am quite sure that if I ever have the opportunity to meet him in person, I will be a completely dumbstruck. I doubt I'd be able to manage anything more than some sort of dopey, drooling grin.

But I won't be speculating on when that day will happen, or even when it should happen. This is the Joe Sakic Rule. Joe Sakic has earned the right to retire on his own terms. If he wants to step away tomorrow, he has my blessing. If he wants to play for 10 more years, I'll be happy to watch him contribute in whatever capacity he is able. Either way, I'm not going to be wondering "when"; as far as I'm concerned, his retirement isn't imminent until the day it happens. Until then, if he is a game time decision every single day for the rest of his career, so bet it. If he tries to play and can't go more than a shift, so bet it.  You will not hear a peep of complaint out of me. He plays when he can, and doesn't when he can't, for as long as he wants, and that's that. That's the Joe Sakic rule. I'll let Wojtek Wolski explain why:

When he's in the lineup, we're a better team - anybody would be a better team.

This rule also applies to Peter Forsberg, but I draw the line at that. Everyone else is fair game.