August 6, 2008
I remember watching Mario's first final game like it was yesterday. It didn't make sense to me at first. An athlete, just 31 years old, in his prime, still dominant, walking away from the game he loves. I was befuddled. I cried. I felt empty. It's hard watching your hero go away. At the time, this was my final memory of Mario and one of the reasons why I love Gary Thorne as a hockey announcer.
Three and a half years later, Mario came back. I still have the two VCR tapes of this game as ESPN originally started the game on ESPN2, then switched over early on. It was fitting that Mario's first goal back came off of a Jaromir Jagr pass.