First time poster here. I just couldn't pass up the oportunity to make a few comments about someone I have a lot of respect for.
Bret truely is a class act guy and will most definately be missed if, and it seems that we have seen him for the last time on the ice as a professional hockey player. He has had an amazing career and we have been so fortunate to have him here in Carolina. I am so thankful that he has a Stanley Cup Championship to show for it. It was heartbreaking Fri night to see him with his head down on the bench when the game was over and have to come back out for the jersey giveaway. But in true Bret fashion he gave smiles and waves to family, friends and fans. Then took the time to stop in the very long line for autographs after the game. He was the 2nd to last to leave that night and as always took his time and was very gracious to the fans.
My 9 year old also had it in her mind (as much as a tried to prepare her otherwise) that she was going to be the winner of his jersey and cried for the entire last part of the 3rd period when she realized that she didn't. She has met him a few times getting autographs and he was kind enough to sign a picture that I had taken of her with him. He took his time to write something really sweet on it for her. He told her to "follow your dreams". What a beautiful thing to say to a child. He has a big heart and made quite an impression on her. I know she will never forget it. She was convinced that he would have given that jersey to her if it had been up to him. Congrats Castro!
I think Bret has had some really great moments this year. One that stands out in my mind is when he turned completely around and raced back to catch Ovechkin then sent him on his backside crashing into the net without the puck and without drawing a penalty. Fri night he seemed to come out of nowhere with his incredible speed to keep the puck out of the empty net with 30 seconds to go to give our boys one more chance. As devestating as that night was, that was truely an amazing moment and I will never forget it. Even at 37 I still think he is the best skater in the NHL. If it wasn't for the injuries that he has had to deal with I know he would want to be back out there next season.
I wish him all the best with wherever life takes him next. He will be missed!