Question: You guys, as players, go through so much physically. Three years after retirement, do you still feel it?
ROBITAILLE: “My lower back was getting worse and worse every year when I was playing. I remember asking Kelly Hrudey, `What’s the biggest thing after you retire?’ And he told me, `It took me a year.’ And I said, `What do you mean, a year?’ He said, `It took me a year to figure out that you can get out of bed and nothing hurts.’ And I was like, `Really?’ And he was like, `Yeah, it’s the greatest feeling.’
“I had never thought of it that way. My last couple years with the Kings, I would really show up really early and work on all kinds of stretching until I felt pretty good. When I retired, the first few months I really didn’t do much. Funny enough, I was in worse shape then. A lot of times you would take Motrin or Advil or whatever it took — that was legal, by the way — to help you feel good. When I retired, I just stopped everything. The first three or four months after I retired were the most painful for me. My lower back was in real bad shape. So I had a minor surgery done to my lower back, where they burned all the nerves around there and got rid of the pain. Then I started a program to straighten it out. I can honestly tell you that it took me six months, and after six months I remember jumping out of bed and nothing hurt. I thought, `This is awesome!’
“To this day, knock on wood, I get out of bed fine. I’m really careful what I do when I’m working out. I try to not do anything stupid, but it’s the greatest feeling. I remember there were some mornings when it was hard for me to turn on the water faucet. I would tilt forward just a little bit, and it would kill my lower back. It’s a great feeling now that nothing hurts.”