If anyone has proven they can handle the NHL in their forties, it’s Teemu Selanne. The man is simply ageless, as he continues to put up points and help to carry the Anaheim Ducks offensively, even to the point of leading them in point totals last season.
This past summer at 42 years old, Selanne signed what many believe is truly his last one year contract. However with a lockout now almost a certainty, what can we expect Selanne to do if the entire season is cancelled?
At this time next year Selanne will be 43 years old, with a family that includes four children waiting for him at home. With his age already an obvious factor, adding one more year to that number isn’t an encouraging prospect. Add to that the fact that Selanne will spend an entire year away from the physicality of NHL hockey, which at his age could mean a decline in his body’s ability to handle the high level of intensity.
Now there’s no question Selanne keeps himself very well conditioned. You would have to in order to compete for so long in such a physical sport. However working out at home doesn’t keep you sharp the way the real thing does. Experiencing an entire year without the pain, drag and exertion that hockey requires might be far too appealing for Selanne to come back after his 43rd birthday.
Probably just as important to consider is Selanne’s character and class. While it obviously relates to his family, and will no doubt have an effect on his decision, he exhibits a lot of character as it relates to the younger players in Anaheim’s farm system. Selanne knows that there is real talent there, and with him continuing to fill a roster spot, he’s taking away opportunities that would be there for younger players. He won’t do that for much longer, and if another year goes by, it’ll probably be one year too many.
Selanne has had an exemplary and full Hall of Fame NHL career. I’ve grown up watching him play and would love nothing more than to see him on the ice for one more season. However if this season isn’t it, than that “one more year” was last year.