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Selanne: 'I Think I'm Playing' Against Florida Tonight

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
By Dan Wood

Ducks Radio Analyst

SUNRISE, Fla. – The Ducks appear set to not only welcome newly acquired left wing Jason Blake, but also the return to the lineup of veteran right wing Teemu Selanne, when they close a season-high, six-game road trip tonight against the Florida Panthers.

Blake, obtained Sunday in a three-player trade that sent popular goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere to the Toronto Maple Leafs, went through the first on-ice session with his new teammates during today’s morning skate at the BankAtlantic Center.

Selanne, meanwhile, pronounced himself ready to jump back into action after having missed the past eight games because of a broken jaw suffered Jan. 13 during a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins at Honda Center.

“I think I’m playing,” Selanne said after trying out multiple variations of headgear to protect his still-healing jaw. “I talked to the doctors. Playing tonight or Wednesday (against visiting Detroit) isn’t going to be that much different. I’m very excited to be back in the lineup.”

The jaw, Selanne said, is “obviously not normal,” but with a special, football-style faceguard in addition to his customary visor, there should be enough protection. Selanne also tried out a full face cage during today’s morning skate, but quickly scrapped it.

“That cage, you can’t see very well,” he said.

Selanne and Blake skated on a line with center Saku Koivu this morning. If those three play together, Bobby Ryan would likely move alongside center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry on the top line.

Blake, a former 40-goal scorer with the New York Islanders who had 10 goals and 26 points in 56 games with Toronto this season, is chomping at the bit.

“This is a great opportunity,” he said. “You look at the guys -- there are a lot of great players here. You just want to jump in there and do your best.

“I’m ecstatic. I haven’t smiled so much in three years.”

Like always with a new player, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle isn’t asking Blake to do anything other than be himself.

“We’re just looking for Jason Blake to be a good teammate, come in and work hard, and fit in with our group,” Carlyle said. “When you acquire a player like him, you hope his skill set and speed will add a dimension to your hockey club. We think we can provide him with an environment where he can have some success, but he has to do his part.”

While Blake traveled to south Florida late Sunday, the other player acquired from the Maple Leafs, goalie Vesa Toskala, was unable to do so because of an immigration holdup.

Toskala, too, was apparently happy with being traded to the Ducks.

“He’s doing cartwheels,” Blake said.

Goalie Justin Pogge, recalled Sunday from San Antonio of the American League, is expected to back up starter Jonas Hiller tonight.
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