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Selanne Signs One-Year Contract with Ducks

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks have signed right wing Teemu Selanne to a one-year contract through the 2012-13 NHL season. Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

“While I’m still amazed by his speed and skill level, it’s Teemu’s love for the game and his teammates that make him so special,” said Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “Anaheim is where he belongs.”

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Selanne, 42 (7/3/70), scored 26-40=66 points with 50 penalty minutes (PIM) in 82 games with the Ducks last season. By not missing a game in 2011-12, Selanne became the oldest played in NHL history (41 years, 279 days at end of season) to appear in all 82 games in a single season. He led Anaheim in scoring and power play points (28), ranked second in power play goals (12), assists, and shots (210), and tied for second in game-winning goals (4). Among league leaders, Selanne finished tied for eighth in power play goals and tied for seventh in power play points. His 26 goals and 66 points made him the second-oldest player in NHL history to reach those marks in a single season (Gordie Howe at age 41, 71 points in 1968-69).

“I still feel I can play at a high level,” said Selanne. “As I always say, this is my happy place and I can’t wait to get back on the ice in front of our great fans.”

A native of Helsinki, Finland, Selanne has appeared in 1,341 career NHL games, collecting 663-743=1406 points with a +97 rating and 620 PIM. He concluded the 2011-12 season ranked 12th in all-time goals, fourth in all-time power play goals (248), sixth in all-time game-winning goals (106), 19th in all-time scoring and 42nd in all-time assists. On Mar. 14, 2012 vs. Detroit, Selanne earned his 1,400th career point to become the third European-born player to reach the milestone, joining Jaromir Jagr and Stan Mikita.

Originally acquired from Winnipeg on Feb. 7, 1996, Selanne has scored 436-501=937 points with a +122 rating and 431 PIM in 856 career games in an Anaheim uniform. After stints with San Jose (2001-03) and Colorado (2003-04), Selanne signed a one-year contract with Anaheim on Aug. 22, 2005 and has remained with the club ever since. The 6-0, 200-pound winger is the franchise’s all-time leader in scoring, goals, assists, plus/minus, power play goals (175) and game-winning goals (73). Selanne won his first Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007 in his 15th NHL season. In 111 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, Selanne has collected 41-38=79 points with 52 PIM. He currently leads the Ducks in career playoff goals (32), points (60), power play goals (13), game winning goals (7) and appearances (77).

Currently on vacation in Italy, Selanne took some time out to speak to reporters via conference call. The following is a transcript:

First of all, I’m very pleased to announce that I have made my decision to come back and play one more year for the Ducks. I’m very excited. There is some unfinished business from last year. I can’t wait to start the season again.

On his decision to return
I think it was a little bit easier than last year. Last year, I was rehabbing my knee and wasn’t sure if I would be able to play again. This year it was easier. Obviously, 82 games I played all of them last year.  It’s never easy. At this age, it’s not going to get any easier. I still feel that I have something to give and that I can still play on this high level. Even with the tough first half we had last year, I still enjoyed the game so much. That is why I think I knew way earlier than normal that I wanted to play again. Our team, we want to win again. That is a big part of my decision too.

On continuing to play in his 40s
Age is a funny thing. A lot of times, I don’t really feel 42 right now. After all, they are tough numbers. It all depends how good you feel, how healthy you are and how much passion you have for the game. That is why I still enjoy the game. It’s fun to go to the rink every morning.  It sounds pretty old when you say 42 as a hockey player. Mentally, I am still the same level as Getzlaf and those other guys. That is most important and that is why I am still in the game.

On when he knew his decision
The first half of the season, I thought it was going to be hard. The second half again was so much fun. I have always tried to have four weeks, six weeks, whatever it takes after the season to clear my head, think about how much I enjoy it and how healthy I am. This year, I kind of knew that I still had a lot of fun. But still, I enjoyed the freedom after the season and tried not to hurry. Just take your time and think about how you feel and make the right decision. When you make the decision, you have to be 100 percent. A lot of times, if you have to do the decision right after the season, it might be the wrong one. That is why I always take the time. It has been working great for me.

On the Ducks offseason moves thus far
I was talking with Bob before I went to Finland. He made it clear that he wanted to get a little bigger and tougher in the defense. We got those moves. We lost a couple of good guys. But on the same hand, we got what we were looking for. I’m very excited about these moves.  I know those two guys are going to be a big part of defense. The rest of the core is so strong. We didn’t play very well last year, especially the first half. I truly believe that we have all the pieces. That is what makes this very interesting and special. We all feel there is unfinished business.

On Nicklas Lidstrom retiring
It’s always sad news when a player like Nick announces his retirement. Everybody has to make their own decision. Everybody should know when it’s time to do it. He announced it so quickly that I think he was already decided during the year. As long as you feel it’s the right decision, that is the way to go out. I played so many years against Nick and some All-Star Games, you don’t see many guys like him. It didn’t really affect my decision, but it’s always sad to see a player like him go. Hockey is really going to miss him. Everybody has to make their own decisions. My time wasn’t ready yet.

On talking to his teammates about coming back recently

I really haven’t. I talked with Saku a couple of times. He didn’t even ask. He knows that it’s not going to help at all. I talked with my teammates before I came to Finland. They already knew that I’m going to make my own decision. Obviously, I knew that they wanted me to come back. I really didn’t talk to many people about making my decision. I will pretty soon though.

On Bruce Boudreau
When Bruce joined the team, it wasn’t a very easy situation. The way he handled the situation and how he took the team over, it was unbelievable. The way he is positive and how he treats people is very special. I am very happy to see how much players like him and how excited they are to play for him. I think it affected my decision too. We had a great coach before. I liked to play for those guys also. Now, it’s a little different system and different way. I was so pleased to see how Bruce is handling different situations. Everybody is really excited about.  I’m looking forward to having fun with him.

On avoiding slow starts
That is a hard question. We really have tried almost everything. After all, I really believe all the players have to come to the camp with the mindset of being ready right away. Last year, we started in Finland and I felt that we were not really ready to start the season until later when we came back. I have never believed that you can just turn the switch on and start playing hockey. It doesn’t work like that. You have to build the momentum and the way you want to play right away in training camp. It’s a short training camp these days, so there are a lot of things to do. The way we played in the first half, we had way too many guys who couldn’t even come close to their own level. That is going to cost you. Every individual player has his responsibility to come back, be ready and make sure that the first half is going to be as strong as our second half. Usually, the second half we have never had any problems. We know that. Those points we lose in the first half, it’s so hard to get those back in the second half. We have to be ready right away. I really believe we will.

On the Los Angeles Kings
I was watching every game. I went to one Final game, the only game at home they lost. That is the perfect example that when teams when they go through some tough times during the season, heal up together, start winning as a team and have all the pieces together, you never know. I think it was a great story for hockey in LA and overall in hockey. No. 8 seed, you never know what is going to happen in the playoffs.  You have to build the momentum in the playoffs. It’s a new season. That is why hockey playoffs, there is nothing like it. It was great to watch those guys. There is nothing like winning the Stanley Cup.

On talking with his family about the decision
My family has always been so good. Once in a while they ask what I’m going to do. They always have said it’s your decision and we’re going to support it 100 percent. My family felt that I’m not ready to retire. They know I’m at the end of the runway right now and there are not going to be many years left. We are all enjoying this moment right now. I know my boys are very excited that I’m back. Obviously, my wife wants to see me home a little more. But she’s going to get enough help. My family has been so supportive and easy with my decisions. It’s another season and they are all excited about it.

On current labor negotiations
I try to follow how things go. I really believe that hockey is going to get really hurt again if there is going to be a lockout.  I don’t think there is room for a lockout in hockey. Hopefully, they are going to sign a deal that is good for both sides. It really didn’t affect my decision. I can’t control that decision. I can only hope and wish the best.  For me too, it will be very disappointing to see if the hockey season doesn’t open at the right time. I still hope we can start the season on time and we can enjoy this game. It will be too bad if it doesn’t start on time.

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