For older players, every missed game counts

As the NHL lockout drags on, with games now cancelled through the end of November and no resolution in sight, dozens of players will begin to seriously wonder whether they’ve played their last game.

For older players, every missed game counts

As the NHL lockout drags on, with games now cancelled through the end of November and no resolution in sight, dozens of players will begin to seriously wonder whether they’ve played their last game.

Even as the clock is stopped on this season, it keeps ticking on what remains of their competitive lifespans. By the time this dispute is settled, time might have run out for many of them.

Prominent among this group of aging players is Ottawa’s own Daniel Alfredsson, 39 now and due to turn 40 in December.

He took a good part of last summer just to decide to return for this season

As he surveyed the depressing landscape this week, he suggested it’d be tough to make that same decision again if it meant having to wait for next season.

It’ll be a great disappointment for Ottawa fans if they don’t get to see Alfredsson play in another professional game, but there will be plenty of disappointment to go around.

He’ll be in distinguished company.

The dispute could also put an end to the careers of such stars as New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur, 40 but perhaps the best goaltender ever; dynamic forwards Jaromir Jagr, 40, and Teemu Selanne, 42; and such capable defencemen as Tampa’s Sami Salo and Ottawa’s Sergei Gonchar, both now 38.

Also feeling the pain will be dozens of players in their mid-30’s. It’s not easy to lose a season when you don’t have many left.

Though it can’t be easy, Alfredsson said he’s at peace. If he’s played his last game, that’s just the way it goes.

“The longer it has been going, I don’t feel as eager to get back,” he said this week following an informal skate at the Bell Sensplex.

“I’m more relaxed. I can’t say I’ve been at all frustrated or really looking forward to coming to the rink. I love it when I’m at the rink, but at this stage, I know I have to look forward (to life after hockey), as well.”

Here’s a list of prominent players in their mid- to late-30’s who could end up being the biggest losers the longer this dispute lasts:

BOSTON BRUINS

Shawn Thornton, 35

Zdeno Chara, 35

Tim Thomas, 38

MINNESOTA WILD

Matt Cullen, 35

Niklas Backstrom, 34

CALGARY FLAMES

Jarome Iginla, 35

Cory Sarich, 34

Miikka Kiprusoff, 36

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Daniel Briere, 35

Jody Shelley, 36

Kimmo Timonen, 37

Chris Pronger, 38

SAN JOSE SHARKS

Michal Handzus, 35

Dan Boyle, 36

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Jamal Mayers, 38

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Francis Bouillon, 37

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Roman Hamrlik, 38

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Martin St. Louis, 37

Sami Salo, 38

Mattias Ohlund, 36

EDMONTON OILERS

Ryan Smyth, 36

Andy Sutton, 37

Nikolai Khabibulin, 39

LOS ANGELES KINGS

Willie Mitchell, 35

DETROIT RED WINGS

Mikael Samuelsson, 35

Todd Bertuzzi, 37

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Craig Adams, 35

Tomas Vokoun, 36

NEW YORK RANGERS

Jeff Halpern, 36

Martin Biron, 35

Wade Redden, 35

CAROLINA HURRICANES

Joe Corvo, 35

Brian Boucher, 35

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

Vaclav Prospal, 37

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Martin Brodeur, 40

Patrik Elias, 36

Marek Zidlicky, 35

Bryce Salvador, 36

Johan Hedberg, 39

ANAHEIM DUCKS

Teemu Selanne, 42

Saku Koivu, 37

Sheldon Souray, 36

Toni Lydman, 35

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

Hal Gill, 37

Chris Mason, 36

COLORADO AVALANCHE

Milan Hejduk, 36

Jean-Sebastien Giguere, 35

FLORIDA PANTHERS

Ed Jovanovski, 36

Filip Kuba, 35

Jose Theodore, 36

Scott Clemmensen, 35

ST. LOUIS BLUES

Andy McDonald, 35

Jamie Langenbrunner, 37

Scott Nichol, 37

DALLAS STARS

Jaromir Jagr, 40

Ray Whitney, 40

Stephane Robidas, 35

OTTAWA SENATORS

Daniel Alfredsson, 39

Sergei Gonchar, 38

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Marty Reasoner, 35

Eric Boulton, 36

Lubomir Visnovsky, 36

Evgeni Nabokov, 37

PHOENIX COYOTES

Shane Doan, 36

Steve Sullivan, 38

FREE AGENTS

LW Brian Rolston, 39 (Boston)

C Daymond Langkow, 36 (Phoenix)

LW Kristian Huselius, 33 (Columbus)

LW Jason Blake, 39 (Anaheim)

D Jaroslav Spacek, 38 (Carolina)

C Jochen Hecht, 35 (Buffalo)

G Dwayne Roloson, 43 (Tampa Bay)

C Jason Arnott, 38 (St. Louis)

D Mark Eaton, 35 (Islanders)

LW Marco Sturm, 34 (Florida)

RW Mike Knuble, 40 (Washington)

LW Andrew Brunette, 39 (Chicago)

LW Tomas Holmstrom, 39 (Detroit)

D Brett Clark, 35 (Tampa Bay)

RW Radek Dvorak, 35 (Dallas)

LW Jay Pandolfo, 37 (Islanders)

C Brendan Morrison, 37 (Chicago)

D Brad Lukowich, 36 (Dallas)

D Colin White, 34 (San Jose)

RW Matt Bradley, 34 (Florida)

D Sean O’Donnell, 40 (Chicago)

D Mike Mottau, 34 (Boston)

G Ty Conklin, 36 (Detroit)

RW Petr Sykora, 35 (New Jersey)

RW Parrish, 35 (Ottawa)

G Marty Turco, 37 (Boston)

G Brent Johnson, 35 (Pittsburgh)

RW Jed Ortmeyer, 34 (Minnesota)

G John Grahame, 37 (Islanders)

LW Rissmiller, Patrick, 34 (Colorado)

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