Nolan an ageless wonder

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

ST. PAUL -- It's OK to call someone a greybeard when they really do have a grey beard.

Like veteran winger Owen Nolan, who either had a bowl of flour for breakfast yesterday or is showing every one of his 17 hard seasons in the NHL.

But just when it seems like the most dreaded priest in sports - Father Time - is about to catch up with him, Nolan finds a way to turn back the clock.

The soon- to-be 37-year-old, on pace for a 20-goal season in Minnesota, looks like he could go on forever.

"I wish that was true," said Nolan, who spent his whole career battling for space in the toughest areas of the ice. "There's always bumps and bruises, but at some point the body will tell me that's enough."

His heart never will.

"My passion to compete and try and win the Stanley Cup is still there."

Nolan looked like he was done back in 2005 after missing two full seasons - one to the lockout and another to a knee injury. But he had no intention of quitting, no matter how many people doubted a 34-year-old could make it back after so long away.

"That was a tough time, major knee surgery, very difficult to come back, a lot of rehab," he said. "It falls back on a willingness to compete and a love to play the game. The fact my wife was trying to kick me out of the house was a good motivator, too."

He signed with Phoenix and scored 16 for them, went to Calgary and scored 16 for them and now has 10 at the halfway point of Minnesota's season.

"I think it's a really good fit here," said Nolan, who has five goals in the last seven games.

"We've got some guys who can make great plays, pass the puck really well. It makes it easy for me, going to the net and getting open and they're going in right now."


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