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Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings says he's never seen such a tight playoff race in the Western Conference. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) (Jonathan Daniel/2006 Getty Images)
Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings says he's never seen such a tight playoff race in the Western Conference. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) (Jonathan Daniel/2006 Getty Images)

GLOBE ON HOCKEY

The men that time forgot Add to ...

Three cheers and a round of Geritol. It's time to toast the two men that time forgot.

They may be old by professional sports standards. They may be older than virtually all the arenas and many of the coaches in the National Hockey League. But to see Nik Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne in action Monday night was to have witnessed two of sports greatest marvels. Old guys with game.

Let's start with Lidstrom, the 40-year Detroit Red Wings' defenceman who scored his 15th of the season in a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The goal gave him 60 points and a slice of history. No other NHL defenceman has ever been so productive at an age when most players have become ex-players and taken up golf full-time.

And honestly, it's not just the points that underline Lidstrom's mastery. It's his consistency and durability. He's never played in fewer than 76 games in 19 NHL seasons. Try explaining that one to Vancouver Canucks' counterpart Sami Salo, who can't stay healthy for the life of him. It's almost inexplicable, just like a Matt Cooke elbow.

While Lidstrom was doing what he always does for Detroit, Selanne was about to begin his show for the ages. With his Anaheim Ducks in need of a win to maintain their playoff spot in the jam-crammed Western Conference, the 40-year-old Selanne went to work torching the Colorado Avalanche. The Finnish Flash finished with three goals and five points, the first player to accomplish such a feat at such an age.

He also slid his way into some elite company, joining Johnny Bucyk and the venerable Gordie Howe as the only NHLers to score 75 points at 40. And the way Selanne's playing this season, there's no stopping there. Same with Lidstrom, the unsinkable Swede. More is better with these two, also likely.

So let's take a moment to applaud two players who have been around longer than net cams, longer than the obstruction rules, longer than Fox's glowing puck, longer than …

You get the picture.

They're timeless.

 

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