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Selanne spent summer doubting whether he'd play

by Dave Lozo
NEW YORK -- Teemu Selanne is the boy who cried retirement, professing every year since 2007 that it was his final season in the NHL.

But in the summer leading up to the 2011-12 season, Selanne said it's as close as he's come to hanging up the skates.

"It was more in my mind," Selanne said Thursday morning at Madison Square Garden, as the Ducks prepare to take on the Rangers. "I didn't want to come back and take a chance that I can't play anymore."

The doubts were most prevalent after Selanne had surgery on his left knee just days before his 41st birthday in July.

"I think the whole month of July, there was a lot of question marks. I wasn't sure if it was going to work out," Selanne said. "The good thing was I had plenty of time, so I didn't have to focus for about two months on that. I knew August would be very important. It took almost up to the end, before training camp. I felt I could get back and play this year. I'm very happy about that, because I was thinking throughout the summer that I want to play if I can."

Clearly, things have worked out just fine for Selanne and the Ducks.

The Finnish superstar leads the Ducks with 14 points on 5 goals and 9 assists in 12 games. His point total is good for sixth in the League, one year after Selanne defied expectations with 31 goals and 49 assists in 73 games.

As the calendar turns to November, those doubts that lingered during the summer are gone.

"I feel great," Selanne said. "I knew the first couple weeks might be a little tougher than normal, but right now I feel good. Being healthy gives you a chance to succeed, and you can't sacrifice in that area."

The Ducks have lost 5 of 6 and are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Washington Capitals on Monday that saw the Ducks give up a tying goal in the final minute and another in overtime, both to Nicklas Backstrom.

As they look to right the ship, here is what the Ducks' lines looked  like in practice Thursday morning:

Corey Perry - Ryan Getzlaf - Bobby Ryan
Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
George Parros - Maxime Macenauer - Devante Smith-Pelly
Matt Beleskey - Brandon McMillan - Andrew Gordon

Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Lubomir Visnovsky - Toni Lydman
Luca Sbisa - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Dan Ellis

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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