Larionov was oldest player in NHL this year

Updated: April 19, 2004, 4:01 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils center Igor Larionov announced his retirement Monday.

The 43-year-old Larionov, the oldest player to compete in the NHL this season, signed with New Jersey as a free agent in September. He had hoped to win a fourth Stanley Cup to cap a professional career that began in 1980 in the former Soviet Union.

But the Philadelphia Flyers ousted the defending Cup champions in an opening-round series that ended Saturday.

He will wear a uniform once more for a farewell exhibition in Moscow in December.

"It will be my first time coming back to play for the Russians," Larionov said. "It will be a chance to say goodbye.'"

Larionov finishes his NHL career with 169 goals and 644 points in 921 regular season games. In addition to the Devils, Larionov played for the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings, with whom he won Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998 and 2002.

Larionov saw limited action in his final season, appearing in only 49 games for the Devils with one goal and 11 points.

Prior to coming to North America in 1989, Larionov played 12 seasons in the Soviet Elite League and won Olympic gold medals with the Soviet team in the Winter games in 1984 and 1988.

"When you leave the game, it's sad," Larionov said. "It's time to move on. There are things in my mind that I want to do, but I'm not going to rush into anything."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press