When the Hurricanes acquired aging and high-priced Paul Coffey last season to bolster what was the NHL's worst power play, some wondered why.
After a few games in his new city, one national magazine wondered whether Coffey, three-time Norris Trophy winner as the league's top defenseman, was tarnishing a Hall of Fame career.
"The way I was playing I probably deserved all of that," Coffey, 38, said this week of talk that he should retire after two goals and 12 assists in 54 games last season with the Blackhawks and the Hurricanes.
"I know myself it was never from a lack of effort. I never cheated myself one bit, whether it was on the bike or working out in the summer. I've always believed I could get it back and I'm going to be that way until I retire."
And with No. 1 draft pick David Tanabe struggling, Coffey is getting a chance to prove himself again. The former five-time 100-point scorer has registered seven points over a five-game stretch. This week, he passed Mario Lemieux for No. 8 on the career scoring list with 1,495 points.
"I think before maybe I wasn't comfortable enough for whatever reason," he said. "I'm seeing the ice better and getting myself into condition I want to be in."