Ex-Pens winger Asham looking forward to retirement
Arron Asham knows this game.
“I took somebody's job when I came in,” Asham said earlier this week in the New York Rangers' dressing room at Madison Square Garden.
“Somebody is going to take mine.”
Asham is playing in his 15th NHL season. He does not expect a 16th. He is 35 and not unlike other journeymen at similar points in their career. The end is near. The difference about Asham is he is not shy about accepting it.
“I am looking forward to it,” he said, smiling.
His body feels the bruises and breaks that have come with having been willing to muck, grind, check and, indeed, fight. He still likes doing all of those on most nights, but Asham said there are some nights that end with him wondering — not what he has left in the tank, but whether he really wants to push the line that is near empty.
Six goals — a total he has not hit in a season since scoring at least that many in five successive years from 2005-10 — would please him. Those six would give him 100, a nice number on which to end.
Asham did not grow up with a lot of boys in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, Canada, who went on to notch 100 NHL goals.
Of course, if he finished with 94 goals, that would make him the leading NHL scorer among childhood friends, too.
The Penguins are one of six clubs for which Asham has played. He left them two years ago for the riches of New York, which will have paid him $2.2 million upon the expiration of this contract.
Asham is wealthy beyond his wildest boyhood dreams but hardly rich enough never to work again. He has three young children, all of whom he would prefer to provide educational opportunities and help with things such as weddings, and maybe get around to spoiling grandkids.
“You miss so much when you're playing,” Asham said. “You notice that more with the little ones because they grow up so fast and you feel like you're not seeing any of it.”
Asham spent parts of this and last season playing in the AHL with the Rangers' affiliate. The experience did not jade him. It served only to remind him that the game he has made a living playing was in its final period.
The game has changed, too — and Asham is not sure he would have a place in where it is going.
So maybe his timing for expecting to leave is perfect, he said.
“It's true when you hear guys like me say the players are bigger and stronger than ever,” Asham said. “There are always going to be hits. Guys are always going to get hurt, but I think there are some liberties being taken that maybe weren't when I started.
“It's a different game now in some ways, but I broke in a long time ago. Everything has to change.”
That is the unavoidable reality that hockey and its players face.
“Don't get me wrong. I'm enjoying every minute that I'm up with the big club because it could always be my last game,” Asham said. “When it is, I'll be ready. I have things to look forward to after I'm done playing.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Suggestions are aplenty on what Penguins need to break through
- Penguins minor league notebook: Rookie Wilson emerges as 3rd-line NHL prospect
- Penguins notebook: Malkin could return Wednesday at Edmonton
- Stat dropoff, road struggles have Penguins seeking consistency
- Starkey: What are Penguins, Pirates up to?
- Penguins notebook: Bennett a healthy scratch
- Lapierre eager to make mark with Penguins
- Penguins’ Ehrhoff being tested for concussion
- Penguins finally break through, defeat Devils at Prudential Center
- Penguins’ Fleury surrenders 7 goals in 1 period of NHL All-Star Game loss
- Penguins notebook: Crosby understands NHL’s reasoning for ban