Sens' Jason Smith retires

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 5:25 PM ET

The feeling is gone, so Jason Smith is calling it a career.

The 35-year-old defenceman made the announcement this morning during a media conference with team general manager Bryan Murray at Scotiabank Place. The highly respected veteran blueliner brings to a close an NHL career that has spanned 17 years and over 1,000 games.

The reason? Smith said the burning passion to play is not what it used to be.

"This summer, as I was training and working out, I just didn't feel it. It's just time to take on something new," said Smith. "I thought about it quite a while. Not like I flipped a coin and made a decision. It's time to move on."

Smith was signed as an unrestricted free agent to a two-year contract last summer. But his decision doesn't come as a major surprise. He had only a limited role last season and didn't finish the year on the ice because of an injury

"I thoroughly enjoyed coming to the rink every day," said Smith. "I'm going to spend some time with my family and enjoy it."

The decision by Smith will allow Murray and the Senators to wipe his $2.6 million salary off their cap this year. That gives the Senators some flexibility because the club was sitting about $1.3 million over the NHL salary cap.

The decision by Smith doesn't come as a major surprise. He had only a limited role last season and didn't finish the year because of an injury. It also gives Murray room to play if the club is able to find a deal for disgruntled winger Dany Heatley, who asked for a trade about three months ago.

Despite his limited contribution on the ice, Murray applauded Smith's career and said the Senators benefited from his experience.

"We were very fortunate to have for one year," said Murray. Smith had called about 10 days ago to inform Murray he would not be returning.

Smith played with five NHL teams -- also suiting up for Toronto, New Jersey, Edmonton and Philadelphia -- and captained the Oilers for five years. He also won a world hockey silver medal with Team Canada in 2001 and a world junior gold medal back in 1993.


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