On an anniversary that marks the greatest day in this franchise’s history, the day finished off with some bad news for one of the most influential players of that Cup team. Former Anaheim Ducks center Andy McDonald announced his retirement earlier today, citing concerns over post-concussion stress syndrome. We all know he has suffered his share of concussions. Here’s what Andy Mac had to say about this decision:
“The last few years too much of the focus became worrying about the next hit. I was always thinking about it. I’m fortunate to get out now. I know I could play two or three more years and I love the game of hockey, but health-wise I know I shouldn’t be playing.”
McDonald was signed by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2000 as an undrafted free agent out of Colgate University. He went on to make his NHL debut in 2000 and scored his first career NHL goal on March 3, against the Los Angeles Kings. When the Mighty Ducks made that incredible playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003, McDonald had to watch from the sidelines due to injury, yep, concussion. McDonald really exploded offensively in 2005-2006 when he tallied 34 goals and 51 assists for 85 points in 82 games. Of course, the Ducks won the Stanley Cup the next season and McDonald was a huge contributor, registering 27 goals and 51 assists for 78 points in 82 regular season games. He shined in the Cup run, leading the Ducks in goals with 10, which was second in among all players in the playoffs.He was also among the league leaders in points and plus/minus.
The year following the Cup, McDonald was due to get a big pay raise and a big new contract and the Ducks were a bit strapped for salary space. So, then General Manager Brian Burke traded McDonald to the St. Louis Blues for extremely aging Doug Weight, Michael Birner (nobody) and a 7th round draft pick (later traded away for next to nothing). He enjoyed a few solid years in St. Louis, but cut his career short today.
Now, some Ducks fans have a little bit of a grudge against McDonald. Let’s go back to a quote McDonald made about his time in Anaheim:
“I think L.A.’s a lot different than Anaheim was, they seem to have a really large fan base,” McDonald said. “Their building’s extremely loud. I thought with Anaheim when we went to the playoffs it was great, but in the regular season. … I don’t know how many times we sold out.”
This is a free country, or kind of free country depending on your political ideology. However, he has the right to say whatever he wants. It is true that the Ducks’ attendance has had its problems. Some Ducks fans got a little “butt hurt” by that. I, however, have no grudge against him. I was a big Andy Mac fan when he was here and always wished him success with the Blues. If some Ducks fans put down the haterade, they would realize, like I have, that McDonald is one of the best players to come through the Ducks organization. Being only 20-years-old, that may not be too much of an accomplishment, but this franchise has had it’s share of talent. I think it is safe to say, that McDonald will go down as one of the best players to come through the Ducks’ system and one of the most important players to wear the logo of the duck ever just based on how important this guy was to helping the Ducks win the Cup. If he did not suffer as many injuries as he did, he would not be retiring and who knows how good he could’ve been and how many points this guy could’ve had by now. So, the story of Andy McDonald’s NHL career that had its share of injuries ends with an injury that has done in more than its fair share of NHLers. Happy retirement Andy!