Will he come back for one more year?
|"I hope everybody on our team remembers this feeling. It’s not fun. The playoffs are the time to shine. That’s the bread and butter. We feel we have all the tools and pieces to be a great team" |
As has been the case each year since 2007, the biggest question facing the Ducks in the offseason is the fate of Teemu Selanne
Since he and the Ducks hoisted the Stanley Cup five years ago, the future Hall-of-Famer has annually contemplated retirement. Much to the delight of his teammates and Anaheim fans, Selanne has eventually returned each time to lace up his skates. Was Saturday’s season finale at Calgary, his 1,341st career game, his last time in the NHL as player? He remained undecided on the club’s final day at Honda Center on Monday.
“We are going to go (to Finland) in the middle of June,” Selanne said. “I have my hockey school there right away. That point is usually the time when I start getting ready for the next season. I’m still waiting for that time. Usually by that time, your body is almost screaming to just do something. Then, it’s fun again and you have passion. Either I get that feeling. Or if not, I’ll do something else. It’s easy.”
Though he will turn 42 years old on July 3, Selanne is showing zero signs of it after completing his 19th NHL season. He played in all 82 regular season games for the fifth time in his career and the first since 2006-07. In those contests, he led Anaheim with 66 points (26 goals, 40 assists) and continued to show world-class speed that left players half his age in the dust.
Another appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs eluded him though, as the Ducks could not cap off a miracle comeback in the second half of the season after struggling mightily in the first three months. Anaheim wound up finishing the season 13th in the Western Conference with a 34-36-12 record (80 points).
|“There were a lot of question marks there,” he said. “It comes like automatic, the feeling of Is this it now? Is it over right now? It’s mixed feelings. You still want to be in the playoffs and not finish the season there.” |
“I think we all feel we are supposed to be there,” Selanne said. “The second half is exactly what I expected. It’s going to be tough to watch the playoffs this year. I hope everybody on our team remembers this feeling. It’s not fun. The playoffs are the time to shine. That’s the bread and butter. We feel we have all the tools and pieces to be a great team. That is a good sign. There are a lot of good, young players coming up. A lot of good things are going on here.”
There is no question everybody wants No. 8 to be back with the team next season. The loud chants of “One more year” during the home finale on April 1 were proof of that. It will all depend on if Selanne has the desire to continue his illustrious career for a 20th season. He hopes to have an answer by July 1, the start of NHL free agency.
When the final horn sounded at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday, a wave of emotions hit Selanne as they have had in the past on his final game of the season. It very well could have been his last moment in the NHL.
“There were a lot of question marks there,” he said. “It comes like automatic, the feeling of Is this it now? Is it over right now? It’s mixed feelings. You still want to be in the playoffs and not finish the season there.”