Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/10/12 at 07:54 PM ET
from Ian Medes of the Ottawa Citizen,
There was not a single player in his 40s who was active during the 1994-95 season, as 37-year-old Joey Mullen of the Pittsburgh Penguins was the oldest regular skater in the league at the time.
Fast forward to today's NHL and the league is filled with greybeards who refuse to hang up their skates. Last season was a renaissance year for the forty-something crowd on ice. Ray Whitney finished the season with 77 points at the age of 40. Teemu Selanne continued to amaze everyone with a 66-point campaign at the age of 41. And 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr returned from a brief hiatus overseas to collect 54 points with the Flyers.
And of course Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson -- who turns 40 today -- took a big sip from the fountain of youth with 27 goals for an upstart Ottawa team.
But as the lockout is now stretching into its third month, there is a real question about how these older players will respond if the season resumes next month. Veterans like Alfredsson and Whitney are resting now, but it's not a guarantee they'll be prepared for a compressed schedule in the months ahead.
Some interesting data emerged out of the 1994-95 lockout, which indicated that older players struggled in the shortened season. In that season, the NHL played a 48-game schedule that started in late January. At the end of that compressed season, the top four scorers in the league were all in their early to mid-20s: Jaromir Jagr (23), Eric Lindros (22), Alexei Zhamnov (24) and Joe Sakic (25).
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