First Scott Niedermayer returns to the rink, and now Teemu Selanne is also back in Anaheim. Don’t be surprised if the Ducks’ duo has started a new trend in the NHL.
While I don’t doubt that both players were seriously considering retirement, I also believe that other veterans are taking notice and putting themselves in Selanne’s skates. How often have we heard longtime pros talk about “the grind of an 82-game schedule”?
For those who have made ample cash over the course of their careers, a five- or six-month season sounds a lot more appealing than one that could last nine months if you include training camp. From a team perspective, the thought of having a healthier star that isn’t burned out by the second round of the playoffs is definitely attractive, as is a pro-rated salary when there’s a cap to consider.
It won’t be an option for everyone, but I suspect the likes of Joe Sakic, Brendan Shanahan and Martin Brodeur will soon be contemplating a shorter season with a Cup contender rather than another year of wear-and-tear as Freedom 40 approaches.
•Though some are calling Saturday’s breakaway competition at the NHL?All-Star Game a flop, count me among those who saw enough to know this event will get much better in a hurry.
Sure, I thought we might see more unique moves than the puck-juggling-baseball swing by Alex Ovechkin, but just look at how much more creative the NBA Slam Dunk contest has become over the years.
But while basketball’s version has declined in popularity, the NHL edition will only get better because players will practice their skills more, especially if the NHL and NHLPA put some money up for grabs. Plus, the youth of the league has a dazzling array of moves to display and it’s only a matter of time before they make their way into the festivities.
•Want to weigh in? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mix equal parts college athlete, sports fan and broadcaster. Shake vigorously. Serve chilled Monday-Friday on the TEAM 1040 from 6-9 a.m. or online at thetoulbox.blogspot.com