The always insightful Teemu Selanne
sat back in his stall inside the Ducks locker room and welcomed reporters to chat after today’s practice.
Selanne offered his thoughts on tomorrow’s game against the NHL-best Blackhawks, the success of the Ducks, similarities to the 2007 Cup team and more.
On tomorrow night’s contest: “At the end of the day, it’s only two points, but it’s a big two points. Every two points are huge. We want to see where we’re at right now. They’re playing well and we’re playing well. It’s a good matchup. It’s pretty much whoever wants to win it more. I don’t think there’s going to be much difference between the styles. Whoever wants it more.”
On learning from last night’s victory: “We want to focus more on [how] we can learn to play 60 minutes well. Even last night, the first period was really sloppy. The good news is that we are still winning the games that we haven’t even played 60 minutes well. That makes this team very strong, but still, we can make everything easier. Even last night, 4-1, and both of their goals they score in the last minute in the period. Those are things we have to learn. It would be way easier to go into the third period with a 4-1 lead than 4-2. Those are little things, but at the end of the night when you learn to play the right way, you’re going to be so much stronger.”
On the Ducks flying under the radar: “The main focus has been on [Chicago’s] side. They have an unbelievable record. Actually, it’s been good that we’ve been in the shadow a little bit. Just play our game and not think about it too much. I think that’s good for our style. On the same hand, you want to be the best. They are No. 1 in the league right now, so it’s going to be exciting tomorrow.”
On the keys to success against the Blackhawks: “We just have to play smart. They have a lot of skilled players and a lot of speed. Those odd-man rushes and turnovers, we try to avoid them. But like I said, we want to focus on executing our systems as good as we can and usually good things happen. When you start focusing too much on the other team, I don’t think that’s very good. We know there’s a lot of respect for them and you have to give credit for what they’ve done. But on the same hand, you want to beat the best.”
On the difference between this year’s and last year’s teams: “It’s about team confidence. When you have the feeling that, even down a couple goals, you’re still going to come back and you know it’s going to come back. You have a feeling. Last year, when we were down 1-0 or 2-0, all of our heads went down. You didn’t feel that confidence. It almost like, ‘Here we go again.’ It doesn’t matter if you’re up two or down two, you just keep going the same way. Same thing after the games. You have a good streak going and you have to be even-keeled. You can’t be too high when you win and too down when you lose. Learn when you lose and enjoy it a little bit when you win. Keep pushing forward because we can do better.”
More on the team’s confidence this season: “It’s a package of everything. Bruce [Boudreau] has been unbelievable. He tries to feed the confidence and the right feelings. All the leaders are pushing everybody, and everyone is chipping in. That’s what it takes. If you play two minutes or you play 25 minutes, just do it as good as you can and enjoy it and go from there. When everybody is doing their jobs, it starts from there.”
On similarities between this team and the 2007 Cup-winning team: “If you look at how deep we’ve been and how solid we’ve been even in the bad games, we find the ways to win the games, like back then. [We have] two great goaltenders. It’s all the feelings that create the confidence like I’ve been talking about. I’ve always said that [with] one line, you can have fun. Two lines and you can go to the playoffs and have some success. But if you have three lines, you’re a championship team or a contender. That’s what has happened here. The way [Bruce] is shaking the hat and pulling those names out for different combinations, it has to be working. He has a deep hat. [Laughs]. It’s funny, but that’s how you get everybody going. Sometimes when you have penalties and stuff, it’s hard to find that flow. He’s pretty skilled with how he’s going to shake things up. Even a couple of times a game to get somebody going. He’s a smart man.”
On possible distractions with the Getzlaf and Perry contract talks: “Everybody is happy it’s done, but it didn’t bother us at all. We were just focused on our game. But those two signings are huge commitments, and they’re a sign for the organization and the fans and the team that we want to win here. When you lock your players to long-term deals, that’s what gives the foundation for this franchise. That’s great news.
“If they can play eight more years, I can too. I’m in better shape than they are.”