The dawn of September always brings a bittersweet sentiment, since it reminds us that summer is pretty much over yet it's also the month that brings hockey back to us. Training camp for the Ducks starts a little more than two weeks from now, on September 17, and the first preseason game is September 20, against the Coyotes at Honda Center.
With the dawn of the new season comes the inevitable rush of season previews. Two focused on the Ducks come from NHL.com
and the venerable Puck Daddy blog
. The latter, using a movie theme for its preview, refers to Lubomir Visnovsky
with the tagline, "The Revenge of the Flying V" (now why didn't we think of that?)
Both season previews, and undoubtedly the dozens more to come, focus on two questions marks: The health of Jonas Hiller
and the hopeful return of Teemu Selanne
. Hiller's health was addressed optimistically last month
, while Selanne's status appears to ride on his recovery from offseason knee surgery. By all accounts, Selanne (now back in town from his summer home in Finland) appeared to skate well during his annual appearance at the Fedorin Cup charity game last Saturday (here's some video of him
), though there has been no indication from him on whether he'll play or not. He did give some insight in a chat with the OC Register's Randy Youngman
, in which he said: "So far, so good. I've been skating three weeks now, and I'm really optimistic. I'd like to play one more year, but I want to be sure I can play and enjoy the game the way I always do.
"There's still some work to do. I think the main thing right now is to try to get the muscles around the knee stronger. If I get those really strong, I think I can still play. It's a slow process, because you lose your muscles quickly when you can't use them the first two-three weeks after surgery.
"I'm doing rehab now. Long days: skate, work out and then I go to the physical therapist. I'm skating four-five times a week, because I want to be sure. I'll have to make a decision between now and start of training camp."
(I happened to be having lunch with a co-worker at a teriyaki place near Honda Center when Selanne unexpectedly walked in and joined us for about 20 minutes. We talked a bit about the knee, among other things, but he remained vague about his decision.)
Among the other storylines going into training camp is what we'll see from some of the new guys, namely center Andrew Cogliano
, the acquisition from Edmonton who joined Ducks fans for a live chat on Wednesday afternoon
. Cogliano was friendly and more than agreeable to take part in the chat, which yielded a few memorable lines from him.
On his offseason training: "I've got a really good trainer in Toronto that I've been working with the last couple of years. I really like working out and getting ready for the season. I've been focusing more on the conditioning side every year. I cover a lot of the ice and use my speed a lot, so conditioning is really important to me and I've been focusing a lot on that the last couple of summers."
On his favorite players growing up: "I was always a big fan of Joe Sakic. I also really liked Sergei Fedorov. I tried to model my game after Paul Kariya when he was in Anaheim, since he was smaller and used his speed. I really wanted to be like Sakic growing up though."
On cooking: "I don't cook much, but I really like the idea of it. I watch some cooking shows sometimes and I'm a really big fan of food."
On lockerroom pranks: "A couple of guys would do the old water in the helmet trick, where you take the helmet out of your stall and it pours all over it. Some guys would cut sleeves off dress shirts they thought were ugly. I try to lay low."
On his favorite TV shows: "I like Entourage. Everyone likes that one. I'm a fan of Big Brother, not gonna lie. Those are what I watch, along with SportsCenter."
(He said, "not gonna lie" a lot. I found it endearing.)
On superstitions: "I try to stay away from that as much as possible because they tend to get you in a groove that sometimes doesn't work. I've always had a favorite suit that I like to wear for special games or games that are important. It's a navy blue suit."
On what number he'll wear: "I'm going to wear 7 this year. It's a number that I grew up with it in minor hockey and wore it in my junior days. It's a number that's been important to me. My brother wore it too. I've had some pretty good years wearing that number, so I figured I'd start new with it again."