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End of the line for Fernandez?

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  May 19, 2009 10:04 AM

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Manny Fernandez will have to decide whether he wants to continue his career. (Streeter Lacka/Getty)

Manny Fernandez's most recent numbers are not reflective of a goalie on the cusp of retirement: 16-8-3, 2.59 GAA, .910 save percentage, one shutout.

But a bad back that knocked him out for a good chunk of January torpedoed the rest of Fernandez's season, leaving him wondering whether he wants to endure a similar situation next year.

"That month off I had to take in the middle of the season because of my back, that's not something I'd want to do again," Fernandez said. "If I can't last for 82 games, there's no point in coming back. I don't have to."

Fernandez said he will consult with doctors to help determine whether his back might flare up again next season. He will then decide, with his family's input, if he wants to continue his career. Fernandez, who lives in Montreal during the offseason, said he had opportunities back home if he decided to call it quits.

On June 18 in Las Vegas, Fernandez and Tim Thomas will accept the Jennings Trophy for posting the lowest goals-against average in the league. Fernandez will turn 35 in August.

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