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Boudreau says Selanne’s “the greatest athlete in the world for his age”

Jan 22, 2013, 2:29 PM EDT

Anaheim Ducks v Los Angeles Kings Getty Images

As Teemu Selanne continues to defy father time — the 42-year-old has four points through two games this season — Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau tries to put Selanne’s accomplishments in context.

On Monday, he tried again — and went big.

“I think he’s the greatest athlete in the world for his age,” Boudreau told the Calgary Herald. “I defy people to tell me what sport somebody his age is playing at the level he is playing at equated to the sport they’re in.”

Interesting theory.

Boudreau certainly argues his point well. In talking to the Herald, he pointed to other athletes at Selanne’s age in their respective sports, and what roles they’d (theoretically) be playing:

“If you see it in baseball, he’s a pitcher — he might be a relief pitcher or the knuckleball pitcher that the Jays got,” Boudreau said.

R.A. Dickey, the knuckleball pitcher, is actually a mere 38.

“In football, he would be a kicker,” Boudreau said of stars aged 40 or over. “In tennis, they can’t play that long. In soccer, I don’t know of anyone over in Europe who is that age.

The NFL does have Ray Lewis but, at age 37, he’s half a decade younger than Selanne.

The NBA has Kurt Thomas (40) and Grant Hill (40), though neither of them average more than 14 minutes per game (Selanne’s at 15:06 through two games, in case you were wondering.)

Knicks point guard Jason Kidd is averaging nearly 30 minutes a game, but he’s only 39 (though he does turn 40 in March.)

Last year, 45-year-old Omar Vizquel played in 60 games as a positional player for the Toronto Blue Jays, lining up at first base, second base, third base, left field and shortstop.

In the end, though, Boudreau says Selanne blows them all away.

“If you just look at it — and I’m not trying to brag for my player — that’s an amazing, amazing feat what he’s doing at his age, playing to the level he’s playing at,” he said.

“He’s an amazing person.”

  1. sjsharks66 - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:40 PM


  2. Kristenaux - Jan 22, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    It was evident that this man was going to push the realms of greatness. He was my first favorite player when with the Jets & has not fallen from my list since!

    • ishiibrad - Jan 23, 2013 at 1:10 AM

      I was lucking enough to see most of those games(winnipeg) A class act all the way !

  3. 19to77 - Jan 22, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    He led both his team and the League in scoring in his rookie season and still topped the Ducks’ scoreboard last year. He’s leading the Ducks so far this year too. Who knows how much longer he could still keep playing at this level if he wanted to?

  4. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 22, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I love playing the contrarian but there’s not much you can say against this statement.

    Boudreau is right he blows all them away, Ray Ray isn’t the same at 37 and gone after his next game, Kidd sucks in those 30 mins, he’s only getting them because of injuries, the Knicks would rather see him at 14 mins a game. Thomas and Grant Hill are the subs subs and non-factors. And RA Dickey is 4 years away before he can start talking and in all honesty a knuckleballing MLB pitcher is not too far over the line of the definition of “athlete”. Somewhere between a bowler and a golfer

  5. opmcmt - Jan 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    It’s the truth, certainly in the world of hockey, since Lidstrom’s retirement. These two are/were head and shoulders above the rest with regards the mental aspect of the game. Them being this far ahead allows speed of thought and economy of movement that others can’t get close to matching.

    There are others in the sporting world comparable to the Great Finn: Ryan Giggs is still playing soccer for Manchester United at the age of 39. Yes, it’s a few years younger than Teemu, but he made his professional debut aged 17, and owing to the fact there aren’t lines to rotate, has played 90 minutes (with a 15 min break in the middle) regularly enough running around a pitch. While not everyone’s gonna be impressed with this feat owing to the sport it belongs to, there’s no denying that 22 years of playing 50 games totalling 90 minutes each per season is quite extraordinary…

  6. letsgopens8771 - Jan 22, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    In my opinion, he is the best LEADER on the Ducks roster. He is loved by his teammates and seems like a very respectable guy. He might be part of the key to the Ducks’s success right now, because he is so dedicated and is determined to carry his team all the way in what looks to be the final year of his career. For a long time, the Ducks have struggled to find their identity, but if they put their hockey program squarely behind Teemu Selanne, then the Ducks can finally have a leader and a way to continue their current streak of success.

  7. ethanmacleod1685 - Jan 22, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Fair assessment!

  8. datcrazybok - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Does this make anyone else feel really old? I can remember back when Selanne and Paul Kariya first teamed up on the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Really put a breath of life into a newer franchise, back then. Man… maybe I really am old?

    • valoisvipers - Jan 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      Old is watching the Original 6 on Saturday night in black and white listening to Foster Hewitt or Dany Galivan.

  9. ajbaxter1975 - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Boy, does time go by fast. Looking at the 1991-92 Upper Deck Selanne rookie card from my collection, and realizing that it’s going on 21 years old.

    • ajbaxter1975 - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:10 PM

      Scratch that, 22 years!

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