My deep and abiding love for all things Teemu Selanne is by this point in my life well-documented, and perhaps has reached a point of self-parody. But man do I ever love Teemu Selanne.
At the risk of writing a bit too much about the Anaheim Ducks (who by the way beat the Blackhawks in a battle of the two best teams in the league and held one-time Hart trophy hopeful Patrick Kane minus-4, while Selanne scored the game-winner), it seemed earlier this year that Selanne, at 42 years old, was perhaps winding down his NHL career. The lockout can’t have been easy on anyone, least of all a greybeard by professional athlete standards who has openly talked about the motivation to continue training. Further, he’s an unrestricted free agent after this season and seems unlikely to make the $4.5 million against the cap he currently commands on any renewed deal.
But then in an interview yesterday, about whatever the hell he felt like talking about, he was asked about the distractions that the run-up to the extensions for Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry finally worked out. He gave the kind of answer you’d expect about how it didn’t affect the room and all that, but then closed, somewhat apropos of nothing, “If they can play eight more years, I can too. I’m in better shape than they are.”
Teemu, I think I speak for everyone who’s not an inhuman monster when I say, “Yes please.” The prospect of Teemu Selanne playing into his 50s is just about the greatest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I was not in any way prepared to see him ride off into the sunset after this season, so short as it has been, and so bereft of Eastern Conference road dates.
And obviously I understand that no 42-year-old man is looking to play another eight years in a professional sport as tough as hockey, but just the idea that this might conceivably happen is enough to keep me warm. You also have to wonder what the quality of the Ducks this year might mean for Selanne’s return at least for, say, next season. Is he, like Corey Perry, liking what he sees from his teammates enough that next season is at least a possibility? Let’s hope so. Because Teemu is the greatest.
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