The Ducks’ Teemu Selanne, the current oldest active player at 42, just recorded his second 4-point night of the season. To honor him, we’re gonna look at some other guys who didn’t let graybeards slow them down. Like former Bruin Mark Recchi. In 2011, at the age of 43, he became the oldest player to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Final. He would walk with the Cup into the sunset.
Two years ago, the aging star seemed destined to fade into history in the KHL. But then he made a remarkable NHL comeback with the Flyers that now continues with the Dallas Stars. At age 40, he’s been one of the hottest sticks of the brand new 2013 season.
This week, Team Latvia shocked the world when it qualified for the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014. Shocking because leading the charge for the burgundy and white was 40-year-old “I though he retired six years ago” d-man Sandis Ozolinsh. What’s your excuse, Arturs Irbe?
It’s a tale every hockey fan knows by heart. In the 1928 Stanley Cup Final, the New York Rangers’ goalie Lorne Chabot suffered an eye injury and had to leave the game. In stepped 44-year-old Rangers’ GM Patrick, who led the team to an OT win. He remains the oldest goalie to play in a Stanley Cup Final (so far).
Sent down to Grand Rapids for conditioning by the Red Wings in 2008, the 46-year-old ageless wonder became the oldest player to play an AHL game in the league’s 75 year history. Chelios would return to the NHL for a seven-game stint with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010, at age 48, before eventually ending a career no one thought would ever actually end. And may not have. Can anyone vouch for his whereabouts right now?
After toppling Patrick Roy’s career win record and decimating Terry Sawchuk’s career shutout record, New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur was supposed to turn 40, do a few victory laps around the Prudential Center, and snuggle into retirement. Instead, he signed a two-year extension with the Devils after leading them to an improbable berth in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
Now, 31 isn’t exactly old, but it is when you’re talking about the Calder Trophy for the League’s top rookie. Normally given out to young studs who can’t even grow playoff stubble, the former Red Army star captured it late in his career after the iron curtain lifted and Soviet players were finally allowed to come to the NHL in 1989.
How about some love for the League’s oldest building? Opened in 1968, MSG recently underwent some fairly hefty renovations to keep it young and hip and nothing at all like its cousin out on Long Island (seriously, Nassau Coliseum. Get some sun or something, you look terrible. And you’re four years YOUNGER).
In 2007, at the ripe old age of 75, legendary Isles coach Al Arbour was asked by the team’s current coach Ted Nolan to come back and coach his 1,500th game. Al did so, becoming the oldest person to coach an NHL game. The Islanders won, earning the bespectacled old master his 740th win.
“Mr. Hockey.” Not only one of the greatest of all time, but a man who played professional hockey in sixth different decades (including a full 80-game schedule with the Hartford Whalers at the age of 51). He played his last game in the IHL for the Detroit Vipers at the age of 70, taking one shift.
In honor of Teemu Selanne’s continued excellence, let’s hear it for old tyme hockey!