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Ducks' Selanne undecided on return for 2013-14

Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 3:52 PM
NHL.com Staff

Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne told reporters he got tired in the second half of the 2012-13 season but said he had not yet made a decision if he would return for another NHL season.

Selanne had 12 goals and 24 points in 46 games, but eight in his final 28 games, and one goal in seven games against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

"The first half, I thought I had the energy," he told reporters in Anaheim. "The second half was a bit more disappointing. The schedule was tougher also. I felt, especially when [Nick] Bonino got hurt, I felt like I didn't find that chemistry I was looking for. Obviously that affected me. I started coming down a little bit, and the job was harder.

"I felt that even though it was a shorter season, the workload was way harder than normal. In a normal season you can pace yourself a little better and you don't have to play seven nights in 10 days all the time. Every game was like a playoff game because you played against your own conference and division teams. It's a totally different level than a normal season. I felt it was way harder than normal. Whatever happens [next season], I know it's going to be easier. It sounds weird, but that's how I feel.

"When I felt normal it was so much fun, and I know I can play well again."

Selanne, who will turn 43 in July, said he'll determine whether to retire or play again in 2013-14 during the summer, like he has in years past.

"It's a commitment with training and dedication in the summertime," Selanne said. "That's when you have to be ready. … The good thing is, I don't have to play. I only play because I want to play. That's the motivation that players dream of. That's why I take some time off. I want to start feeling either way. Do I really want to start pushing myself again? If I don't have it, then I don't play. That's the best way to do it. After like six weeks, I'll start thinking about whether I want to start working out. Your body and your mind start missing it, and then you know what's the right decision. If you don't get that, then it's time to start doing something else."

Selanne finished his 20th NHL season with 675 goals and 1,430 points in 1,387 games. He's 11th all-time in goals, six behind No. 10 Jaromir Jagr, and 15th in points.

Whether he adds to that total remains a question Selanne is in no rush to answer.

"This is not the time to think about it," he said. "I need more time."

Selanne still was coming to grips with the end to a season for the Ducks that showed so much promise. The team got off a strong start and rolled through the regular season, winning the Pacific Division title and earning the second seed in the Western Conference. But in seven games against the Red Wings, all the good got washed away.

"I'm obviously very disappointed about how things finished here," he said. "It's going to be hard to watch the next round. It will hit even more. I was hoping to get that feeling, and I think everybody else feels the same way … we didn't leave everything out there. That's a disappointing feeling. This team was ready to go further. I knew with our depth, the longer we would go would be to our advantage. Not so many teams have that. With one good line or two good lines, you can go pretty far. But we felt we had more than that. When you get tired as you go longer, and there are more injuries, that's where the edge comes from. Now we're not able to use that.

"We have such a good team here right now. We know we're better than this. I think everyone felt there is some unfinished business here. It would be easier if we didn't feel that way. I think this team is ready to win right now."

Next season would be a big one for Selanne if he returns. The Ducks will take part in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, with a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25, 2014. And there's a chance for him to represent Finland in the Olympics for a sixth time.

"I haven't really thought about that much either," Selanne said of the Olympics. "I know it's there. And there is the outdoor game. There are a lot of good things which will bring more experiences and will make next year even more special. But again, it's all about … you've got to be there, mentally and physically. When you have the attitude like I have, every day you want to take advantage of it. And if you don’t get it back, it's the last one. That's the motivation that works for me. The dedication at this age, it's got to be 100-percent there."

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