The Teemu Selanne farewell tour is taking a bit of a detour.
The Anaheim Ducks are up 2-1 in a first-round dogfight with the wild-card Stars, and Selanne has been relegated to basically fourth-line duty so far in the series. He played 13 minutes (and had an assists) in Game 1 but was dropped to 10 minutes in Games 2 and 3.
On Wednesday morning, it was revealed Selanne would be a healthy scratch for Game 4, with 21-year-old Emerson Etem drawing in instead.
“Of course, I'm disappointed," Selanne told reporters. "I want to play, but I can't really control it right now.”
This happened routinely throughout the season – he only appeared in 64 games – so it’s not as big of a shock as it may have otherwise been. And the reality is he will turn 44 in July and there are a lot of miles on those knees he had rebuilt nearly a decade ago.
In fact, when Selanne suited up for Game 1, he became the oldest player since Chris Chelios (47) in 2009 and the sixth oldest ever to play in the playoffs.
Still, it’s tough to see such a terrific postseason contributor on the sidelines in such an important game for his team and especially after his star turn at the 2014 Olympics.
The reality is, with the speed of the games, the NHL has become a young players’ league more than ever the last couple of years.
Selanne’s absence comes a day after Red Wings vet Daniel Alfredsson sat out a game with a bad back.
The connection? Alfredsson and Ray Whitney are the only other players over 40 in the playoffs.