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Avalanche captain Sakic poised to call it a day

JOE Sakic, the Colorado Avalanche's longtime captain who led them to two Stanley Cup titles, is retiring after a 20-year NHL career, a person familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because Sakic, a 13-time All-Star, is expected to formally announce his decision later.

Sakic, who turned 40, has been the face of the team since it relocated to Denver from Quebec in 1995. He teamed with Patrick Roy, Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote to win the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001.

It's been a storied career for Sakic, who has won championships and league MVP honors, and led Canada to an Olympic gold medal in 2002.

But injuries over the last two years began to mount, curtailing his playing time. He missed most of the 2008-09 season because of an aching back that required surgery to repair a herniated disk. He also damaged three fingers on his left hand in a snowblower accident.

Known for his laser wrist shot and precision passing, Sakic will retire with his name among the NHL's career scoring leaders. He is eighth in points (1,641), 11th in assists (1,016) and 14th in goals (625).

He said just before the end of the season that he was hoping to be healthy enough to possibly join Canada for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. It's unclear whether he will play. However, Steve Yzerman, Canada's executive director, recently extended Sakic an invitation to orientation camp next month.


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