Hockey is the one sport where watching a player play after his 40th birthday isn’t a rarity. In fact, it’s a telling sign that they are future hall of famers. Some of hockey’s greatest: Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mark Recchi and Mike Modano have all played well passed their ripe age of 40.
Teemu Selanne is definitely a name that has been thrown around in the retirement rumors for several years now and it’s more likely than ever that this shortened season will be his last. The 42-year-old has been on the fence about hanging up his skates probably since the Anaheim Ducks won their first Stanley Cup in team’s history in ’07. The following year, ex-teammate Scott Niedermayer was a bit hesitant at first about leaving the game– making a decision mid ’07-’08 season to come back, making the Ducks trade Andy McDonald to the St. Louis Blues to make some cap space. After the ’09-’10 season, Niedermayer happily retired from the sport — he had nothing left to prove or to play for after winning at every level from juniors, professional, olympic, and world.
Selanne’s decision hasn’t been an easy one to make maybe like Niedermayer’s was. Selanne’s battle with retirement has been nothing short of a roller coaster. He too waited out half of the ’07-’08 season along with Niedermayer, only to return to the game. He has also made it very clear for several years that he would only sign a contract one year at a time. As a Ducks’ fan, I’ll take what I can get from Selanne. If he wants to take his time making a decision or if he doesn’t want to sign multi-year contracts, that’s fine with me. In my mind, that’s his prerogative and he surely deserves to have any decision that he makes be respected.
With the lockout now behind us all, it goes without saying that Selanne is grateful that he wasn’t robbed of an entire season. The soon-to-be restaurant owner was on the brink of not being able to play in most likely his last season, which is not a way any athlete would want to go out on. With four kids at home and a new business adventure right around the corner, his future after this season is far more eminent than before as Selanne’s life is perhaps now transitioning from hockey player to devoting father and business owner.
While the offseason decision of Selanne is almost predictable, fellow teammate Saku Koivu remains a question mark. Stay tuned to find out what I think the future holds for Koivu.
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