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The British rock stars

By Jesse Pantuosco, Fantasy Sports Writer

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Over the weekend I was flipping through the channels and came across a Jonah Hill movie called "Get Him to the Greek" on Comedy Central.

In one scene, Sean Combs' character explains to Hill how it seems like British musicians live forever.

"You ever heard of a British rock and roll star dying?," he said. "No, none of them die. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards ... Ozzy Osbourne's going to outlive Miley Cyrus!"

If that's true, then I guess you could call Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne the British rock stars of the NHL.

Jagr, now playing for the Dallas Stars after spending the 2011-12 campaign with Philadelphia, contributed two goals and two assists in his season debut Saturday against Phoenix.

Sidney Crosby was three when Jagr, who turns 41 next month, made his NHL debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990.

Meanwhile, Selanne opened his 20th NHL season by netting a pair of goals in a blowout win at Vancouver. For good measure, he also handed out two assists.

The 42-year-old Selanne is such a dinosaur that the Hartford Whalers, Minnesota North Stars and Quebec Nordiques were all still in existence when he began his career in 1992.

Selanne and Jagr weren't the only ones who decided not to act their age this weekend. Tampa Bay winger Martin St. Louis went ballistic Saturday in a season-opening win over the Washington Capitals, netting two goals and one assist). He was born during the Gerald Ford administration, in case you were wondering.

Not to be outdone, Florida goalie Jose Theodore was a brick wall in making 41 saves during a 5-1 triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. He blew out 36 candles at his birthday party last September.

Hang in there, it gets crazier. Before Monday's games got underway, 19 players in the league had checked in with two or more goals this season. Eleven of the 19 were over the age of 30.

To put that into perspective, only one of the NHL's top-10 goal scorers from last season was in his 30's. That honor was bestowed upon New York Rangers wing Marian Gaborik, who turned 30 in February.

If you average together the ages of the 19 players who have scored two or more goals this season, the average age is 30.4. The average age of last season's top-10 goal scorers? Just 26.2 years.

The season just started, but what if this insanity lasted the whole year? Since 1994-95, only two players age 30 or older have led the league in goals scored: Mario Lemieux in 1995-96 and Pavel Bure in 2000-01.

The reverse youth movement that we're seeing (I call it the Benjamin Button effect) is unprecedented.

Well, almost unprecedented. To see something even remotely similar to what we witnessed this past weekend, we'd have to rewind all the way back to 1994-95. That season, six of the league's top-14 point scorers were in their 30's (Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Brett Hull, Mark Messier, Bernie Nicholls and Adam Oates).

That's funny ... the 1994-95 season was also shortened to 48 games because of the lockout.

See what I'm driving at here? This could be the year of the dinosaur.

It actually makes a bit sense, when you think about it. Older players tend to tire late in the year, which is why so few of them finish among the league's top scorers by season's end. But in a 48-game schedule, fatigue isn't as big of a factor. Reducing the season by 34 games evens the playing field considerably.

Of course, there aren't as many off days as usual when you're trying to play 58 percent of a season in a span of three months, but I still believe the 48- game schedule favors the older players.

Try this on for size. Remember I said the average age of last season's top-10 scorers was 26.2 years? Out of those ten, only Corey Perry and James Neal have found the net this season.

This isn't Jagr's first lockout. These guys have been here before. They know the routine.

For the youngsters, coming back from such a long layoff is something they've never dealt with. And that's why I think some of them might struggle this season.

And you thought that dinosaurs were extinct. Think again, my friend. This is the year of the British rock star.

01/21 17:52:11 ET


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