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Devils' Jagr faces Ducks' Selanne in battle of legends

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- Teemu Selanne usually downplays the numbers that are next to his name, including the 43 next to his age. But he'll play along for special occasions such as Wednesday, when the Anaheim Ducks will have a rare matchup with 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils.

The two are the oldest active players in the NHL.

"It's awesome," Selanne said. "It's great to see, especially when the old guys doing well. I've played against Jagr since I was 17, so [we've had] lot of good years together. It's always been nice competing against him. It's very special."

Jagr (688) and Selanne (678) rank 10th and 11th on the all-time goals list. It will mark the first time two NHL players with 675 or more goals will face each other since Brett Hull and the Detroit Red Wings played Mark Messier and the New York Rangers on Oct. 25, 2003 at Madison Square Garden.

Selanne and Jagr have seldom seen each other because they have played in different conferences. Jagr noted the two are different players, but said they have the same passion for the game and the desire to practice.

Jagr still admires Selanne from afar.

"The way he is, it kind of surprised me that he can play that long," Jagr said. "I always felt when you get older, you lose the speed. That's the first thing you lose. You're going to lose the speed, and he doesn't do it. He has to do something nobody really does. You should ask him about it. Maybe I've got to do it next year to get quicker."

Jagr remembers a former Czech player first told him about this Selanne kid more than 20 years ago. Selanne recalled Jagr's mullet hairstyle back in the day.

"I think that that was the style in Czechoslovakia at the time," Selanne said. "A lot of players have that long hair in the back. That's character."

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau talked about the longevity of Selanne, Jagr and Martin Brodeur before he broke up a scrum of reporters by saying, "I think you'll find that one or all three will eventually retire."

Here are the expected lineups for the Devils and Ducks:


Dainius ZubrusTravis ZajacJaromir Jagr

Patrik EliasAdam HenriqueMichael Ryder

Damien BrunnerAndrei LoktionovSteve Bernier

Ryan CarterStephen GiontaCam Janssen

Andy GreeneMarek Zidlicky

Eric Gelinas - Adam Larsson

Peter Harrold - Mark Fayne

Martin Brodeur

Cory Schneider

Scratched: Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby

Injured: Anton Volchenkov (leg), Ryane Clowe (head), Bryce Salvador (foot)

Notes: Gionta said he will play "unless something happens that I can't control" before the puck drop. Gionta reportedly re-injured his ankle Tuesday.


Dustin PennerRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Emerson EtemMathieu PerreaultKyle Palmieri

Matt BeleskeyNick BoninoTeemu Selanne

Andrew Cogliano - Daniel WinnikDevante Smith-Pelly

Francois BeaucheminHampus Lindholm

Ben LovejoyCam Fowler

Bryan AllenLuca Sbisa

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Patrick Maroon, Mark Fistric

Injured: Saku Koivu (concussion), Jakob Silfverberg (hand), Sheldon Souray (wrist)

Notes: Boudreau ruled out Koivu, who has been skating for a couple of days but hasn’t gotten clearance from a head injury.

"As much as we'd like to have him back, I don't think he’s ready tonight," Boudreau said. "He's got to be cleared by doctors to play, and he hasn't been given the green light yet."

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