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Selanne Talks About His Decision to Return to the Ducks

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
Teemu Selanne, who earlier today signed a one-year contract to return to the Ducks, talked about his decision during a conference call with media Thursday afternoon.

Obviously, I’m very happy to sign a new contract for a year. I’m very happy to be back. During the summer, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to play again because of the knee surgery I had in early July. It took a long time for it to start working properly. I’m extremely happy and excited about this year, and it’s so nice to be with the Ducks team again.

On when contract talks started,
We didn’t start to talk about a contract until pretty much yesterday. I wanted to make sure when I started skating in early august that I was making progress every day and the knee was getting better. I was very happy in the last month or so that I was skating with no pain. That was a good sign. I tried to use the 16th, the day when training camp starts, as the deadline for myself. I’m very happy that the knee has been holding up well and I’m very optimistic that it’s going to last.

On whether this is his last year,
I think so. I know I’ve said that the last five years. But you’ve got to stop somewhere, and I’ve always approached this whole thing by saying it’s my last year. I think that’s really worked well for me. Again, I look at this as my last year and hopefully it’s going to be a good one.

On whether he had doubts this summer,
The whole month of July it wasn’t looking good. After the surgery I couldn’t do much for a couple of weeks. It’s amazing how fast you can lose the muscles around your knee. It was so much work to strengthen the muscles again and get support around the knee. There were a lot of days where I felt, “I don’t know if it’s going to work anymore.” But it got better every day, and I’ve done a lot of work to get the muscles around the knee strong. The hard work has paid off and now I’m very excited about it.

On whether games in Finland and Winnipeg influenced his decision,
Those things weren’t a factor in me coming back. I looked at them both as really nice bonuses for me and great experienced. Both places are very important places in my life and I’m extremely excited about playing in both places. It’s going to be fun.

On last season,
Last year was so much fun. In the past summers, I’ve been thinking about whether I still wanted to play hockey. This summer it was clear that I wanted to play hockey, but the question was whether I could. We have a good team, and I’ve been so lucky to play with great players. I’ve enjoyed hockey so much, especially since the lockout. The passion for the game is still here and I’m still excited.

On returning to the same level of play,
I really feel like I can still play at the same level I played at in the past. If you can’t do that, you can’t enjoy the game as much, and there would be no way I’d come back. The main factor for me is that I can be healthy, my knee is okay to play at this level, and I can use my speed and play at my level. That’s one reason it took so long to make the final decision, because I really wanted to make sure I could play at this level.

On whether Winnipeg made him an offer,
They called my agent and asked if I was interested in coming back. But when you have four kids and a couple dogs and a couple horses and stuff, so many things to move, there is no way I can move anymore. But like I said, Winnipeg has been a special place for me and I’m very excited to go back and play there again.

On the Ducks’ hopes for 2011-12,
We are all really excited about this team. I’ve always believed that to win something big you have to go through some tough times as a group. We were all very disappointed about losing in the first round last year, and I hope that’s going to help us this year. Bob Murray and the management have put a really good team together, and you get that good feeling from management that everyone is ready to win and make the commitment to win.

The team looks great. Jonas is back 100 percent and obviously that hurt us a lot not to have him last year. I think he was maybe the best goalie in the league going into the All-Star break. He had some problems and couldn’t play and that hurt a lot. We thought we had all the tools to go all the way last year and obviously we didn’t. I hope everyone remembers how that felt last year and we can use that to our advantage. Our expectations are high this year, but there is a lot of work ahead.

On the influence of his family,
My family knows that it’s starting to get to the end of the road, but they’ve never put any pressure on me. They have been very loyal. I think sometimes my wife is the last person to know my decision or that I’ve signed a new deal. They really love that I play hockey and they want to be a part of that. They’ve enjoyed it as much as I have, and that’s a good thing. My three boys play hockey, so they’re very excited about being part of the team. They’re worried if I retire, can they hang around the locker room and go to the games? We’re a hockey family.

On whether he would have been at peace with retiring after last season,
I think so. Obviously, we really felt that we could go all the way last year, and that disappointment was hard. I thought at the time it could be my last game and my last playoffs. I tried to enjoy every minute and leave everything on the ice. I think when you do that, you can live with it being your last. I really enjoyed the challenges last year, and that’s brought me back again. It’s been a great journey and every day has been fun.

On expectations for this season,
My expectations are high and the goals are high. Any negatives are out of the question. I really believe as a group we can be better, and individually I think I can be better. The last couple of years we’ve had really poor starts and that’s something we can take advantage of this year to make things easier on us. The grind is unbelievable and every year it’s tougher and tougher. You can’t have a bad few weeks. You have to push forward all the time. I have a good feeling about our group. There is obviously a lot of hard work again and that’s how it should be.

Earlier in the day, Selanne spoke on camera about his decision to return.

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