Ducks Radio Analyst
|Selanne suffered two fractured bones in his jaw after being hit with a puck in a game against Boston at Honda Center. |
TAMPA, Fla. – A familiar, if somewhat rearranged, face greeted the Ducks when they took the ice for practice Thursday afternoon at the St. Petersburg Times Forum.
Veteran right wing Teemu Selanne
, who has missed the past seven games because of a broken jaw suffered Jan. 13 during a 4-3 victory over the visiting Boston Bruins, was a welcome sight when he returned to the ice with his teammates.
With the Ducks preparing for a Friday night meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning and a Monday night date opposite the Florida Panthers that will conclude a season-high, six-game road trip, it is uncertain when Selanne might be ready to play.
“I haven’t even inquired about that possibility,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said when asked whether there is any chance Selanne could be in the lineup against the Lightning. “He needs to gain some strength back. That’s for sure.”
Selanne, who said he lost 13 pounds because he was unable to eat any kind of solid food while his jaw was wired shut, estimated he had gained back about half that weight.
“The biggest thing is to get the energy and the strength back,” Selanne said. “I had no exercise for about 10 days because I really couldn’t breathe. Now I can eat more normally – no chicken or meat, but some fish.”
|“The biggest thing is to get the energy and the strength back,” Selanne said. “I had no exercise for about 10 days because I really couldn’t breathe. Now I can eat more normally.” |
Selanne had bands removed from his jaw and resumed skating on Monday, but extra hardware remains in his mouth. He is skating with a protective face shield, and will almost certainly have to wear it for a while whenever he returns to the lineup.
“Obviously, I have to get my conditioning back, my skating conditioning,” Selanne said. “I don’t know if my jaw is ready, either. Still, when I do something quick, it’s sore.
“One step at a time.”
Selanne said it was unlikely he would play at Tampa Bay, but did not completely rule out that prospect.
The Ducks, who have scored only one goal apiece in three of four games while going 1-3 on the current road trip, could desperately use Selanne, the club’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 368. Including 16 goals in 30 games this season, Selanne has pushed his career total to 595.
Nowhere do the Ducks need Selanne more than on the power play, where they are mired in a 5-for-61 slump over the past 19 games. Despite having missed 24 games this season, Selanne has seven power-play goals, one short of Bobby Ryan
’s team-leading total.
“You want to be back as soon as you can, but it’s hard to tell when you’re ready,” Selanne said. “We’ll see how I feel (Friday). A couple of days can be huge in this business.”
|“You want to be back as soon as you can, but it’s hard to tell when you’re ready,” Selanne said. “We’ll see how I feel (Friday). A couple of days can be huge in this business.” |
If nothing else, the downtime forced by Selanne’s broken jaw enabled his left hand to more fully heal. Selanne missed 17 games from Dec. 4 through Jan. 7 after suffering a broken bone during a 3-1 loss Dec. 3 at Dallas.
“The hand is not normal, but it’s way better,” Selanne said.
Selanne joined a practice session that was heavy on fun, a potential tonic after the Ducks dropped back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday in Atlanta and Washington, respectively.
“We want to get committed to being positive about our situation, rather than being negative about the last two games,” Carlyle said. “We’re not happy about what has happened the last two games, and we have to put a halt to it.
“There are some things we can correct, for sure. The last two games, it has seemed like we lost some compete level, some passion. We weren’t hard enough to play against.”