It is a good time in the National Hockey League to be considered past your prime.
The grizzled San Jose Sharks, as well as the veteran Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo are proving there is life in older bones after all.
The Sharks, whose early exit from last year's play-offs and grey-flecked roster inspired pundits to dismiss their chances this season, won their first seven games before suffering a shoot-out loss to Nashville on Saturday.
Luongo, who lost his starting job three games into the 2012 play-offs and agreed to be traded, found himself back in the net for the Canucks, the same brick wall he once was.
The Sharks core players are in their 30s, and showing the kids how to do it.
Patrick Marleau, 33, scored an NHL-high nine goals in the first five games. Joe Thornton, 33, leads the league with 11 assists.
The oldest Shark, the defenceman Dan Boyle, 36, is averaging more ice time per game than any of his younger teammates.
"Obviously, people might be doubting us a little," Thornton said after win No 7. "People say, 'You guys are getting old.' Every year you have to earn respect. We just have to prove it every night."
The Sharks are balanced, with 30 goals and a league-low 13 goals conceded. They have won easy games and close games - twice surviving overtime last week, with the Slovak forward Michal Handzus scoring in both of the decisive shoot-outs. Handzus is 35.
No doubt, San Jose has taken advantage of a favourable early schedule: six home games, two on the road.
"We'll have our share of times when we're frustrated or maybe not winning," Sharks coach Todd McLelian told NHL.com. "But right now we've got to keep putting points in the bank as much as we can."
Luongo, 33, began the season where he ended the last one, on the bench behind Cory Schneider, 26. Trade rumours had him going to Chicago, Toronto, Florida or even Philadelphia.
But Schneider was only so-so in net (89.7 save percentage) through the first week, and Luongo earned his second start of the season last Monday. He has not left the ice. In three games, he gave up three goals on 80 shots.
He shut out Colorado, making 24 saves, then beat Chicago 2-1 in a shoot-out, stoning four consecutive Blackhawks snipers.
His goal-against average is 1.46 and his save percentage 94.4.
"When you're in that zone, you want to keep it going as long as possible," said Luongo, who still expects to be dealt away. "You always take pride in the way you play, no matter what the circumstances."
Spoken with the wisdom of age.