Selanne acknowledges lockoutâ€™s cost
NOV 16, 2012 5:09p ET
In an interview with TSN posted Friday, Selanne acknowledged that his NHL career would “probably” be over if the owners and players union were unable to come to a collective bargaining agreement, thus cancelling the 2012-13 season.
“You know, it’s hard to say for sure, but year after year it’s getting harder and harder to get ready for the season. When the season starts it’s going to be fine, but doing all the right things at this age — that’s the hardest part,” he told TSN.
Though the lockout that cancelled the 2004-05 season provided Selanne ample time to properly recover from knee surgery and built the bridge towards his late-career success, this current lockout would have a much more negative effect on the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer who led the Ducks in scoring with 66 points a season ago.
There is still the possibility of returning to Finland to play for Jokerit, the team he began his professional career with in the early 1990’s and returned to during the lockout of 1994-95. Selanne also trained with Jokerit while rehabbing his knee in 2004-05, and is maintaining a wait-and-see approach towards the decision to head overseas.
“I say that I want to think about it. Let’s see how things go and we’ll see,” he told Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register in August.
Also to be considered is returning to Finland as the country’s most famous athlete alongside Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen and living in the constant “aquarium”, as it was described by Samuel Savolainen, an NHL correspondent at Finnish sports magazine Urheilulehti. Savolainen also reinforced Selanne’s contentment over his achievements and that the lockout would not change any grand outlook.
“I’m more sorry about this hockey world [for the] younger players. I’m 42,” Selanne told TSN. “I don’t really have to play one more single game, you know. It would be sad to go out like this, but I’ve got more than I really dreamed about.
“More, I’m worried about this game, because this is not right. I don’t think hockey has the authority to do this.”
Joining Selanne as NHL's elder statesmen who are presumed to be amongst the most negatively affected by the lockout are Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson and 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr. Alfredsson hopes to return for his 17th season in Ottawa. Jagr, who played for Philadelphia last season and signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars in July, recently spoke with FOX Sports West about his ticking playing clock.
“I don’t have many games left,” Jagr told FOX Sports West in October. “I would like to play in the US as soon as possible, like everybody. For this type of hockey, I’ve still got time left. But for the NHL, I don’t have many games left.”
Jagr also commented that his all-time goals race with Selanne was “the final countdown” between two players who have spent most of the last 19 years in the NHL but find themselves separated by only two goals heading into great unknown. Jagr has 665 goals; Selanne has 663.
“It’s very sad,” Selanne told TSN. “It’s all about passion and having fun and obviously doing the things that you love to do the most. That’s what it takes. Obviously, that’s why it’s the most frustrating. We can’t play the game we love, not that we’re [not] going to miss the paychecks. The paychecks come automatically when you play in this league and you play well.
"But not to be able to play, and for the fans, too — they pay our salaries, anyway. It’s not fair for fans not to have hockey right now.”
With such a firm impasse between the league and players union, commissioner Gary Bettman has a proposed a two-week negotiating moratorium and frustration abounds in all hockey circles.
“I think at this point the best thing is to probably take a couple days off and let everybody regroup and then go in and do the same thing over and over again," Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan told TSN. "There’s so much optimism when they were meeting day-in and day-out.”
“That’s what we’re hoping for — just optimism at this point.”
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