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Five questions: Selanne motivated in final season

Tuesday, 12.24.2013 / 3:00 AM
Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's weekly Q&A feature called "Five Questions With ..." runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game today and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne:

NEWARK, N.J. -- Teemu Selanne isn't wavering.

This is Selanne's last season as a player in the NHL. His body is telling him so. Unfortunately, so far his production is also saying the same thing to him.

Selanne entered the Anaheim Ducks' game Monday with 11 points in 29 games, though he does have four points in his past three. He has been a healthy scratch four times by design (all in games after the Ducks played the night before) and he missed three games with an injury.

"He hasn't played like he's 27 anymore, but our team is a four-line team," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He still plays power play, a regular shift. He still contributes and that's what we want from him."

And he is still, as New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer said late last week, a "dangerous guy."

DeBoer meant it in the most endearing way.

"He's still got great wheels, great instincts," DeBoer added. "He's a dangerous player and I'm amazed that he's still playing at the level he's at."

Selanne is not amazed. In fact, he's slightly frustrated that he hasn't been able to produce at his regular pace, which is quite impressive considering he's 15th all-time in points (1,441) and 11th all-time in goals (679).

But even if the puck isn't going in as often as Selanne would like, his attitude and outlook during what is his swan song season in the League hasn't suffered.

Selanne is having a blast and soaking in every bit of what he has left in his playing career. He spoke to NHL.com about that and a number of other things prior to a game against the Devils last week at Prudential Center.

Here are Five Questions with … Teemu Selanne:

What has this retirement tour been like for you as you go into most cities for what could be the last time as a player?

"Oh it has been fun. Obviously when you know it's going to be the last you enjoy every day and you see things differently, and you appreciate everything more and more. Obviously with the production I'm a little bit disappointed. I have had chances to get those numbers way better, but when you're struggling it's a little hard sometimes. But the team is winning and that's all that matters. Obviously the second half my expectations are way higher. So far, so good."

Has adapting to this role, a reduced role along with occasionally being a healthy scratch in back-to-back games, been challenging considering you've never had to do anything like this in your career?

"Absolutely. Absolutely. I know that I'm not playing the first line anymore; I'm not on the first power play. The game is going to be different. If you look at all the great players in the League, most numbers come from the power play and when you don't play on the first power play your production is going to go down. But there are so many other things you can do to help the team, and the team is playing well. The biggest reasons I'm still playing are I'm having fun and I have a feeling this team can go far. That dream of winning another Stanley Cup that's only what is in my mind, really.

Does the success of the team keep you energized?

"Absolutely. Absolutely. We're all excited. With how last year ended we knew there was unfinished business and this is the time to fix that."

The other thing pushing you is the Olympics. Your production may not be up to your standards, but you are who you are for Finland. What does having the Olympics in this retirement season for you do for your motivation?

"It's 10 days, who is going to be hottest? The good thing in in Finland is we don't have four first lines. The roles are there right away, we know what we have to do and you try to do those as good as you can. That's the adjustment time we don't need like maybe some other teams need. Let's see. It's going to be exciting. It's a great bonus for this season. The outdoor game is the same thing. I think it's a perfect time to go out. Expectations are high and we are all excited about this whole thing."

You have said you're going to stay in hockey. Do you want to be a coach, a scout, a GM? Do you have any idea what is next?

"Oh, something where I don't have to travel as much as I'm used to. To be honest, I don't think I'll do much right away at all. But after a little time, you start finding your way with how you can feel with what you want to do. For sure there will be something. Let's see."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

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