Stars goalie Bishop’s career ending over knee issue, GM says

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Ben Bishop

FILE – Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop (30) defends the goal during an NHL hockey practice in Frisco, Texas, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop’s career is over because of a degenerative knee condition, general manager Jim Nill said Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop’s career is over because of a degenerative condition in his right knee, general manager Jim Nill said Saturday.

The Stars recalled Bishop from a conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars of the AHL after he allowed eight goals on 34 shots in his only game. The 35-year-old was placed on long-term injured reserve and is set to talk to reporters Tuesday.

“It’s no secret, he has a degenerative knee injury and he went down there, he wanted to be a big part of this,” Nill told The Dallas Morning News in San Jose, California, where the Stars were playing Saturday night. “In the end, by going through the process, going down there and playing, he found out that it’s the end of his career.”

Bishop’s $29.5 million, six-year contract runs through the 2022-23 season. Dallas signed Bishop after acquiring him from the Los Angeles Kings for a fourth-round pick in 2017.

The last game for Bishop was a 6-3 loss to Colorado in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in the playoff bubble in Canada on Aug. 31, 2020. Battling the knee injury, Bishop played once in each of the first three playoff series. The Stars reached the Stanley Cup Final behind Anton Khudobin, losing to Tampa Bay in six games.

Bishop had surgery for a torn meniscus after the pandemic-altered 2019-20 season and missed all of the shortened 2020-21 season, when Dallas missed the playoffs.

Bishop was Tampa Bay’s starter in 2014-15, when the Lightning came within two victories of the title. Stars coach Rick Bowness was an assistant on that team.

“It hurts,” Bowness said. “I feel terrible for him because he’s such a great person and as I’ve always said, when he’s on, he’s a top-three goalie in this league.”

Bishop was 222-128-36 with a 2.32 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 413 games over 11 seasons with five teams. He was a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist, including with the Stars in 2018-19.

After the surgery in 2020, Bishop was expected to return late last season but never did. He waived his no-movement clause for the expansion draft, and the Stars signed Braden Holtby in free agency.

Nill said Bishop, who had practiced with the team almost every day since the start of this season, gave the AHL a try because he thought his ailing knee was feeling the best it could.

“By going down there, he gave everything he could and it was the best-case scenario for him,” Nill said. “That’s why he wanted to try it then. In the end, he found out he can’t do it.”

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