OK, I admit it; I’m something of a soap opera junkie.
For years, while living in Peterborough and covering the Ontario League Petes, I spent many an afternoon parked in front of the TV watching All My Children and The Young and the Restless.
But even long before that, I got hooked on Coronation Street, the British soap I’ve been watching for more than 30 years.
To me, soaps are a mindless way of relaxing. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
All of this is my way of saying, I think I have figured out the plot in Anaheim, where the soap there it might well be called, The Old and the Tired.
I am speaking, of course, of Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer and their retirement/potential-comeback saga. Currently, as you know, they are on the sidelines and there are probably many who believe they have concluded their careers.
If Selanne stays retired, I won’t be surprised; but I will be even less surprised if he comes back. Who the heck scores 48 goals, wins his first Stanley Cup and then sails into the sunset? You score nine goals, miss the playoffs and then quit.
Niedermayer? Now here’s a guy who has every reason to be ultra-tired. He’s only 34, but the grey that dominates that playoff beard is well earned. He has four Cups now – three with Jersey and one with the Ducks – and in his 14-year NHL career, has played 183 playoff games. That’s more than two extra seasons.
Consider poor Olli Jokinen of the Florida Panthers; he’s been in the league nine years and has never appeared in the post-season.
Not only that, Niedermayer has been a model Canadian, representing his country in many international events. If he is bagged, it’s really no wonder.
But that doesn’t change the fact he is an athlete and a competitor.
Come on, quit at 34? No chance.
The Ducks have a very good chance to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Their odds increase if Selanne and Niedermayer strap on the blades once again.
If this pasturing by rich veterans gets to be a habit, the way Roger Clemens never-ending retirement has become in baseball, fans will be well within their right to grow upset.
But when a couple of dedicated foot soldiers such as Selanne and Niedermayer take a little extra time off after a long season before returning, I’m certain fans – and their teammates – will understand.
Once, that is. Don’t make a habit of it boys.
The Ducks started camp early this year, then traveled to England for two games and then played three games on the road before returning home.
GM Brian Burke agreed to that schedule, but that doesn’t mean the players liked it or thrived because of it. The fact is, Anaheim had very little practice time and with a number of new players trying to learn a complicated system, it has been a struggle.
All the more reason why I think Selanne and Niedermayer will join the team.
When? I don’t have a clue.
I just think when all is said and done, both will be back…at least I hope they are.
That’s the way it would happen in the soaps.
Mike Brophy’s Double OT appears regularly on The Hockey News.com.