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Mogilny finds life without hockey 'difficult' but enjoys time with family

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The former Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs winger misses the game terribly but is also cherishing hanging out with his family, wife Natalia, daughter Anna, 9½, and son Alex, 8.

"It's nice to spend more time with them now," Mogilny told The Canadian Press on Thursday. "That's something I didn't realize before, how much you miss them when you're gone for so long on road trips and games. You don't realize how much you're missing from their lives as they grow up.

"I've been really enjoying this part."

The other part, not so much.

On the shelf with a chronic hip problem, one that has very likely ended his career, Mogilny is faced with pondering a future beyond hockey.

"It's been very difficult," he said on the phone from the Los Angeles area. "Everybody goes through it. But it's not easy to be honest. You find a lot of empty space to fill."

He's getting paid US$3.5 million by the New Jersey Devils this season, the last year of a contract he signed with the club coming out of the lockout in August 2005.

He'll be an unrestricted free agent July 1 but highly doubts a comeback in is the cards.

"Never say never, but probably not," Mogilny said. "I'll be 38 in a few weeks..."

So a brilliant 16-year NHL career appears over. He didn't get a farewell tour, finishing last season in the American Hockey League, but don't think for a second Mogilny feels bad about how it ended.

"Hey, I had a great time," he said. "How can you be disappointed? Eventually everything comes to an end. I played 16 years in this league, that's quite a while. I never expected to be in the game that long.

"It's been a wonderful, wonderful time. How can you have any regrets?"

If this is indeed it, Mogilny leaves the game with 1,032 points (473-559) in 990 regular-season games with Buffalo, Vancouver, Toronto and New Jersey - including his memorable 76-goal campaign for the Sabres in 1992-93. He also won a Stanley Cup with the Devils in June 2000.

Unlike some of his peers, such as Brett Hull in Dallas, Steve Yzerman in Detroit, Ron Francis in Carolina and Luc Robitaille in Los Angeles, Mogilny doesn't plan a front-office career in the NHL.

"No, probably not, I wouldn't be very good at it," he said with a laugh.

What's caught his fancy is working with kids, which he's done while hanging out with son Alex at his hockey practices.

"It's been pretty exciting to see how they respond and how the listen and how they develop in a short period of time," Mogilny said. "It's amazing to see the progress that they make. It seems like I'm enjoying that so I'll probably lean in that direction."

The Mogilny clan has spent most of this season travelling around, from visiting his parents in Russia, to stops in California, New Jersey and Florida.

"Aside from that, I take my son to hockey and my daughter to tennis. That's about it," said Mogilny.

"But everything is wonderful, the kids, the wife, all is great," he added, taking on a more serious tone. "I just miss the game a lot. It's quite difficult but I'm trying to adjust to a different lifestyle now. What can you do?"


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