Anaheim Ducks legend Teemu Selanne is speaking out about the lockout and the effect it’s going to have on the rest of his career and what he has to say is not only a very sad truth about the state of the NHL – it’s downright scary.
Selanne made it clear that his NHL career would “probably” be over if the owners and players union were unable to reach a collective-bargaining agreement in time to save the 2012-13 season. “I’m more sorry about this hockey world [for the] younger players. I’m 42,” Selanne said in a recent interview. “I don’t really have to play one more single game, you know. It would be sad to go out like this, but I’ve got more than I really dreamed about.”
Selanne is not alone.
The truth is, the league’s older veteran players are in jeopardy of losing more than a paycheck; they could be losing a chance to end their playing careers on their own terms. Jaormir Jagr, who returned to the NHL last season at the age of 39 and signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars in the summer may never have the opportunity to pull his new teams sweater over his head considering how far apart both the league and the union are in talks.
“I don’t have many games left, I would like to play in the US as soon as possible, like everybody. For this type of hockey, I’ve still got time left. But for the NHL, I don’t have many games left,” Jagr acknowledged.
Then there is the Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, 39, and New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, 40, both players who expressed a desire to keep playing, but every game that is cancelled by the lockout becomes one game closer these players are to their retirement. Alfredsson is in the final year of a four-year deal he signed after the 2008-09 season. Brodeur inked a two-year extension after taking the Devils to their fifth Stanley Cup Final this past spring. These guys don’t have the luxury of waiting this thing out. Just like a stray dog in a kill shelter, their days are numbered.
These are some of the games greatest hockey players of all time and they could be robbed of the chance to skate in an NHL rink again, unless by some miracle the talks heat up and a deal is reached very soon.
To be honest, I find the prospect of losing the stars I grew up prematurely over a monetary disagreement to be disgusting and aggravating. This lockout has gone on long enough. The “Great One,’ Wayne Gretzky, believes a deal will be reached within the next six weeks. I’m not quite as optimistic. My fear is that the season will be lost and when the NHL finally resumes sometime next season, the elder statesman of the NHL will have been forced to walk away by age and greed. Forget all the lost money and game, this will be the NHL’s greatest loss of them all.
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