| “I really feel that there is a lot of juice left," Selanne said. "That’s why I was disappointed that the season ended too soon. But I’m not thinking about next year too much yet. We won’t go that far." |
Not long after Anaheim’s season was ended in a crushing Game 6 defeat in Dallas, the inevitable question was launched by Ducks fans and Southern California media alike:
What about Scotty and Teemu?
Ducks icons Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne, who each delayed their retirement decisions after last year’s Stanley Cup title, only to come back at different points in the middle of this season, now face the same dilemma again. And both of them indicated they are far from making a decision on their way out of Honda Center after taking part in the last team meeting of the year.
“I don’t know about that yet,” said the 37-year-old Selanne, who signed a one-year contract and rejoined the team in February. He had 12 goals and 11 assists in 26 regular season games and added two more in the playoffs. “I was very happy to be back this season and I enjoyed coming here every day. I’ll just relax and think about things more a little later. But let’s see.”
The 33-year-old Niedermayer had two years remaining on his Ducks contract when he came back to the team in December and helped the Ducks to the best winning percentage in the league over the last 48 regular season games. Last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner had eight goals and 17 assists in those games.
Niedermayer said he was in the same place as Selanne as far as decisions go right now.
“I haven’t really put anymore thought into it,” he said. “I was asked a little bit over the last few days about that. I made the commitment this year. I was excited to come back. I truly enjoyed it, except for the outcome. I obviously will have to talk to different people and take it from there.”
Selanne said he has no plans to keep the Ducks waiting on his decision like he did in the wake of last year’s championship, nor come back for anything less than a full season.
“There is no way I’m going to do next year the same thing I did this year,” Selanne said I’m going to play the whole year, or I’m not going to play at all.”
Like Niedermayer, Selanne wouldn’t put a deadline on his decision, but was reasonably certain it would come before July 1, the start of the NHL free agency period.
“I don’t really have a timetable, but I think it’s going to come before July 1st,” Selanne said. “I think that’s the best thing for everybody. Right now I’m just going to relax and see what happens.”
|"I made the commitment this year. I was excited to come back. I truly enjoyed it, except for the outcome.," Niedermayer said. "I obviously will have to talk to different people and take it from there.” |
Both players said they had no regrets about returning to play again this season, but were disappointed with the abrupt ending to their comebacks.
“What I was hoping for coming back was to go out and compete with the guys and have a chance for a Stanley Cup,” Niedermayer said. “We did have that chance, but we thought we could have done better as a team. You look around the room at the talent we have, and I’m sure there are other teams in the same situation. But obviously we couldn’t get it done.”
Added Selanne: “I don’t think anyone expected us to lose in the first round. But that’s why this league is so tough. You never know. It’s a learning process with this team. I don’t think we were as hungry as we thought we were going to be. It’s disappointing, but what are you going to do? You move on, learn something and get better next time.”
Niedermayer, whose Cup with the Ducks last year was the fourth of his career (the first three in New Jersey), thought this year’s team lacked the urgency of last year’s champs.
“This year was obviously a shorter year for me. Right now, I feel quite good. Too good I guess, maybe I wasn’t playing hard enough." - Scott Niedermayer
“A little bit I do,” Niedermayer said. “There’s more to it than that though. If you can just go out there and work hard, that’s a big part of it. It’s a big ingredient to have success in hockey in the playoffs for sure. You have to build some confidence and have things running. You want to have everybody knowing what they’re doing without second guessing themselves. That just comes from working through things, having success and just building on it. We just never seemed to quite get there. We did for short periods, but we didn’t get there consistently. That sort of let us down a little bit.”
Selanne felt that the Ducks took a little too much satisfaction from their success of last year, and that took away from their drive to repeat.
“What happened last year affected us a little bit,” said Selanne, who won the first Cup of his 14-year career. “With what happened this year, I really started to appreciate last year’s effort. It felt like we were ready to do anything it took, and I don’t think we had the exact same feeling this year for some reason. It’s so tough because inside you there is a little bit of that satisfaction that is always a little dangerous. I hope this team is going to be hungrier next year. We all have a bad taste about what happened in the playoffs.”
“I was very happy to be back this season and I enjoyed coming here every day. I’ll just relax and think about things more a little later. But let’s see.” - Teemu Selanne
One shining light for Ducks fans is that both players clearly felt they aren’t nearly as fatigued as they were last year, when the team played into early June and was asked to start the season in London in late September.
“This year was obviously a shorter year for me,” Niedermayer said. “Right now, I feel quite good. Too good I guess, maybe I wasn’t playing hard enough. When you play six playoff games, it’s a lot different than two months of playoff intensity and the mental part of it as well, just being that intense for that long and that focused. We were not there long, so I feel fine.”
Selanne concurred, saying, “I don’t really feel I’m as exhausted as I was last year. It ended a little too soon this year.”
Selanne compared his rejuvenation after a seven-month break to when he came out of the lockout fresh from knee surgery.
“I knew it was very important for me to get that break that I took,” Selanne said. “It was almost like that lockout year, when I recharged my batteries and got my knee fixed and everything. I felt like a new player, and I think this break helped me like that too.
“I really feel that there is a lot of juice left. That’s why I was disappointed that the season ended too soon. But I’m not thinking about next year too much yet. We won’t go that far."