I’ll level with you folks. The NHL lockout hasn’t bothered me in the slightest. The differences in my life from one year ago today to today which are pertinent to hockey are virtually negligible. The only tangible difference is I receive less angry Toronto Maple Leafs related text messages. You know who you are.
If this lockout goes on forever, so be it. I’ll live just fine. But if this lockout ends, and we never get to see Teemu Selanne play hockey again because it went on just long enough? I’ll have half a mind to burn the world to the ground.
The odds of this happening are better than any of us could ever want, as Teemu intimated that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain that edge to play hockey. Why? Because he literally has better things to do according to a conversation he had with the O.C. Register.
“A lot of times when I drive to the rink here and I know there’s only four of five guys skating, I’m thinking, ‘Right now, I’d like to call and say I’m done,’” Selanne said. “This is enough right now. I’m old enough to do something else and not play with the kids.
“Next time, I feel like I want to wait and see what happens. I have played so many games, so many years. This is not a big thing for me. If I have to retire like this, I’m still going to be a happy camper. But this is a sad way to go out, this way.”
The last lockout claimed 240 careers and the current one will likely imprint a tally in the same range. There’s an immense amount of player turnover in any league that has a work stoppage, regardless of how prolonged it is.
In 2004 players like Ron Francis, Adam Oates, Mark Messier and Scott Stevens had their careers end. While their disappearances from the game were notable, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that these players were the devastating combination of widely loved and still elite that Teemu is today.
Think about this for a moment. At 42 years old, Teemu Selanne put up 66 points in 82 games on an utterly terrible team. Do you know what most 42 year old hockey players are? Retired. The ones who aren’t are painfully unproductive. I’m not entirely up to speed on what the average 42 year old does, but a quick Google search’s top result wonders if it’s okay for a 42 year old to date someone who is 19.
Teemu is, evidently, a God amongst over-the-hill men.
He’s going to the Hall of Fame. We know this. His legacy is cemented and his best days are firmly behind him. But, in slowly crossing days off of Teemu Selanne’s career, this lockout has become personal. Robbing fans of hockey is one thing; robbing fans of the still-glorious twilight of the greatest Finnish hockey player to ever put on skates (sorry Jarri) is another.
I have a request: To see the Finnish Flash one last time. The NHL, the NHLPA and hockey gods owe us that much. If you can’t do that for us, don’t come back. Ever.
Until we know one way or the other, I’ll have my unofficial retirement song queued up and ready. The beauty and sadness of this tune will carry me through. Take it away Andrea…