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Stanley Cup Final

Ducks have 'plan B' if Selanne doesn't return

Monday, 08.08.2011 / 4:57 PM / 2011 Offseason News

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Anaheim GM Bob Murray should have a better idea on how Teemu Selanne is feeling when he speaks with the 41-year-old star either later this week or early next week.

Selanne, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in June, continues his offseason rehabilitation and training in Finland this week. He remains undecided on whether he'll return for his 19th season in the NHL or if he'll retire, but he reportedly told a Finnish newspaper that he will make an announcement in September.

"He had been struggling a bit (with his knee). I think he was getting depressed about the whole thing," said Murray, who added that he last spoke to Selanne three days ago. "Finally, last week he had a few days where it wasn't bugging him. He intends to go pretty hard this week with the bigger boys who are there in Helsinki. We are scheduled to speak after this week is over."

Murray will not push Selanne into a decision.

"I want him to be healthy," he said. "I have no timeframe on him whatsoever."

Uncertainty surrounding Selanne is nothing new to the Ducks, who have been dealing with it since Selanne sat out the first half of the 2007-08 season while contemplating retirement. He ultimately signed a pro-rated one-year contract on Jan. 28, 2008.

Following the 2007-08 season, Selanne signed a two-year contract. He again contemplated retirement last summer, but opted to sign a one-year contract in early August.

Selanne went out and had his best season in four years, scoring 31 goals and dishing out 49 assists for 80 points, which was tied for eighth most in the NHL.

The Ducks initially thought Selanne would decide on his immediate future by July 1, but his surgery has pushed back that date. Now he's simply rehabbing and training to see if he still wants to put his body through the grind.

"His body will tell him if he's going to play," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Teemu has always said he wants to be very active after his playing days, and if he feels his body is telling him to stop playing he'll stop playing. The one thing he's proven is there is life after 40. He's a joy to be around."

Without going into specifics, Murray and Carlyle each mentioned there is a plan B should Selanne opt for retirement.

"Our job is to prepare our hockey team for the first game of the season," Carlyle said. "If Teemu is there, great. If not, plan B has to go into place. That's a cruel way of looking at it, but that's the reality."

If Selanne did retire, the Ducks would have to plug an 80-point hole on their second line.

"You don't replace him," Murray said. "There is a plan B. We'd have to do some things and look at building the team a different way without Teemu. That time is going to come, so of course we have thought about it."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round