This weekend the Times had an interesting look at how many older players are thriving in the NHL.
The article says that conventional wisdom holds teams will build around young talent under a salary cap, but I think it’s quite the opposite. Teams can’t afford young talent, unless it’s home-grown, so a cheap way to build a team is to grab a player past his prime. Especially since the CBA provides protection for teams signing players over the age of 35 in the form of performance bonuses. Older players are also more receptive to short-term contracts.
Other than that minor philosophical disagreement, it’s interesting to read how Tampa rookie Steven Stamkos is fascinated by Gary Roberts, 42, and Mark Recchi, 40. And obviously, Stamkos has to be a bit bummed that these guys are outplaying him pretty much every night.
Although, according to Larry Brooks, Tampa is listening to offers for Stamkos, so maybe he should hurry up and get all of the health and wellness tips he can from them, before he’s traded away.
And while it’s not an NHL story, if you want to know what it takes to survive as a 40-something professional athlete, you should look at what ex-MLBer Julio Franco used to eat. And he was a utility guy when the article was written. So imagine what an NHLer approaching that age needs to eat to survive being a regular presence in the lineup. You must need like hundreds of egg whites a week.
You know, if the NHL had some kind of egg-eating contest as part of the All-Star Weekend, a la COOL HAND LUKE, I probably would have watched it this weekend. And since every major sport seems to have trouble selling its all-star game concept, why not have interleague egg-eating contests? How could that not be a slam-dunk success?