Selanne still going strong at 42

By David A.

The NHL season is young, but Teemu Selanne is not. The Anaheim Ducks star is 42-years old and still going strong. His coach Bruce Boudreau has attempted a number of time to give Selanne a day off, but gets nowhere with the stubborn veteran from Finland. Boudreau has even tried to hide the skates of Selanne to prevent from dressing, but Selanne just finds another pair to wear to practice.

Selanne has done this – practice and play – since 1992 in the NHL. He started with the Winnipeg Jets, but has not lost is love for the game of hockey and his work ethic. Coaches and management love that about Selanne as he sets a great example for the younger players, ones young enough to be his children.

In five months, Selanne will turn 43 and he still is in the Top 20, tied for 14th, in scoring this season with 15 points in 13 games. His play has helped the Ducks to a record of 10-2-1 for first place in the Pacific division and second place in the conference. Already this season, the veteran has posted four points in two games.

Ed Olczyk played in Winnipeg with Selanne over two decades ago and marvels at how the same attributes that impressed him 20 years ago continue to impress him today about Selanne.

When he is on the ice, opposing teams pay attention to him, since many times he is the most dangerous of his line mates. Selanne has lost a step with his age, but what that means is he still is quicker than over half of the players in hockey and that gives him respect on the ice.

Players and coaches marvel at how Selanne continues to love to play the game and how he keeps himself in great physical shape. General Manager Bob Murray of Anaheim says Selanne continues to love the game of hockey and people do not understand how important that is, especially
at his age.

Selanne has been through two lockouts, and he said the one in 2004-2005 had a profound impact on him psychologically. He said since that season he has enjoyed playing much more, as he knows how it feels to not have hockey as part of his daily life.

He also has been able to balance his personal and professional life by not bringing hockey home from the rink. This season’s lock out could prove to be even more help for the Ducks, as Selanne was away from the game for nine months and was itching to get back on the ice as soon as possible.

Selanne will re-evaluate his situation at the end of this season, but odds are he will return for another, as the season is shorter because of the lockout and in 2014, the Olympic Games will be held.

People have started to compare him to Gordie Howe since Howe was one of only three players to score four points in a game at the age of 42 or older and scored 100 points at the age of 48, while playing in the World Hockey Association.

Right now, the Flying Finn just wants to help his team to the postseason and a possible Stanley Cup berth.