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Selanne to take his time before deciding on future

by Aaron Vickers /

CALGARY -- If there isn't a 21st season of National Hockey League action for himself, Teemu Selanne can handle it.

But he wasn't about to decide minutes after playing Game No. 82 on the Anaheim Ducks schedule, a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, on Saturday at Scotiabank Saddledome.

No one was going to push the future Hall of Famer for a definitive answer so soon after the ending of a difficult season.

Teemu Selanne
Teemu Selanne
Right Wing - ANA
GOALS: 26 | ASST: 40 | PTS: 66
SOG: 210 | +/-: -1
"Obviously it was tough to finish the season like this. Not making the playoffs is very disappointing," said Selanne, who led the Ducks with 66 points this season and was third with 26 goals. "The last three games have been tough to get ready. With nothing on the line it was more like survival mode, trying not to get hurt but still enjoy the game.

"If this was my last game, it is fine. I can live with that. It's a little tougher to swallow not making the playoffs because I really believe we have the team.

"That's the toughest part, but everything else I'm fine with it."

With 1,341 NHL games, 663 goals and 1,406 points under his belt, it would be understandable for the 41-year-old to retire, his trophy case full, stuffed with a Calder Memorial Trophy, Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, a Bill Masterton Trophy and a Stanley Cup.

There isn't much left for Selanne to play for -- except the love of the game.

"I still had a great time," he said. "Every day I had a huge smile on my face to come to the rink. That's something that's most important for me. I still enjoy the game and play pretty well, so that's what's really I'm very happy about.

"That's the most important thing for me. But at the same time you have to make sure you're healthy and ready to push yourself again, especially at this age. It takes so much more than when I was younger."

Only Gordie Howe has been more productive at Selanne's age, recording 31 goals and 71 points in 76 games for the Detroit Red Wings in 1969-70.

"I'm going to be 42 this summer and it's not going to get any easier," Selanne said. "I really do think I can play well, but on the same hand, I don't know if you always have to play as long as you can. You know that it's going to end somewhere. Obviously, my dream always was that I can retire with my own terms and healthy and enjoy the game and life after hockey."

Life after hockey will consist of family time for Selanne -- understandably so for an individual who has spent the last 20 seasons in the NHL.

"The boys get older and it's hard to be away from home for so long all the time," Selanne said of his three sons. "Things I have to think about. I'm obviously very thankful I have been able to play for so many years."

Which will make Selanne's summertime decision all that more difficult.

"My whole situation, I don't really know," he said. "I'm going to take a little time off and think about things and value some things and see what happens.

"When you make the decision to play, you have to do everything 100 percent. There's no 90 or 95 percent. You have to dedicate your time to hockey, do all the right things, and it's not easy."

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