Dec 21, 2013, 6:53 PM EDT
Adam Oates’ Capitals will face the Devils on Saturday, which means that Washington’s 51-year-old coach will face former contemporaries who continue to be key players for New Jersey.
“Why they’re still playing is they’re in fantastic shape,” Oates said. “I’m not surprised. Anybody who plays that long is a good player. The fact they can stay motivated that long is a big thing.”
Oates would know a thing or two about longevity. He was a solid performer right to the end, as he fell one game short of an elusive Stanley Cup victory with Anaheim back in 2003. He was 41 when he last played.
Beyond fitness, Oates echoed one thought: guys like Jagr and Brodeur are sticking around because of their passion for the sport.
“What Jagr’s done is great, just great,” Oates said. “I played with him here and it looks like he’s reinvented himself a little bit. Good for him. He still loves the game.”
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