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.”
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.”