If there was one surprise trend among this year's free-agent dealings, it was the complete confidence with which hockey's general managers threw money and term at the game's quadragenarians.
There was Ray Whitney, who, four decades into existence, signed a two-year deal that will pay him $4.5 million each year with the Dallas Stars. He was later joined by Jaromir Jagr, twoscore and 1-year-old next February who signed for one year at $4.55 million.
So $4.5 million is apparently just what you pay 40-year-olds now, because it's also what Martin Brodeur accepted for another year in New Jersey. He'll be backed up by 39-year-old Johan Hedberg, the Walter Matthau to his Jack Lemmon.
There's also Sami Salo, who's still a true whippersnapper at a young and spry 38, but he's also been injured 41 times. The man isn't exactly in mint condition any longer. He's been run through the spokes of life's bicycle several times. But that didn't stop the Tampa Bay Lightning from giving Salo $7.5 million over two years, a big raise on his one-year contract with Vancouver from last season.
Something in the NHL has changed. Two years after chasing Mike Modano out of town at 40, the Stars dropped nearly $10 million on two aging vets. They're as obsessed with 40-year-olds as Judd Apatow. And Sami Salo, the oldest 38-year-old alive, can't scare Steve Yzerman away from a two-year commitment. What's going on?
Simple. Over the last two years, the NHL has managed to do something Hollywood's actresses have been attempting to do, with little success, for generations: remove the stigma of turning 40. Here are three ways it's happened:Read More »from Signings of Jagr, Whitney, Salo prove GMs don’t fear 40 like they once did