The Mighty comeback!

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- Finn-ished? Not nearly.

Too often during the 2003-04 season, Teemu Selanne looked like a has-been while toiling for the Colorado Avalanche. The Finnish Flash, hobbled by a chronically bad left knee, had no dash. He looked like a thoroughbred race horse headed to the glue factory.

Jump ahead, and Selanne not only has two more years showing on his birth certificate, a document that puts him at a crusty 35, but he's also darting up and down the ice and looking a lot like the kid who scored 76 goals as a rookie with the Winnipeg Jets eons ago.

TROUBLESOME KNEE

Back in his familiar silks with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and with his troublesome knee reconstructed during the NHL lockout, Selanne faced the Edmonton Oilers last night on an eight-game points streak and leading his team in scoring.

And smiles.

"I've been enjoying the game this year," said Selanne, who signed with the Mighty Ducks as a free agent last August.

"Being healthy, that's the biggest thing. It's nice to have a smile on your face when you come to the rink.

"Every stride ... just to be able to skate and play free. It's been a pleasure for me."

With 20-21-41 when the puck dropped last night, Selanne's regained the flash and form many thought was gone for good. He long ago surpassed the 32 points he managed with Colorado while playing on one leg.

"It was tough," Selanne says of his time with Colorado. "I try to forget that year. When you don't have your legs, I don't care who you are. You can't play in this league.

"I decided I wasn't going to come back if the knee wasn't going to be 100%.

"You lose the passion, all the fun you had as a kid. That's why you play hockey. If you lose that, you're in trouble."

Selanne scored Anaheim's first goal this season and he hasn't looked back since. He's closing in on 500 goals (472), 1,000 points (992) and 1,000 games (924). This is where he's had his greatest success.

'HE HAD THAT JUMP'

"It goes back to training camp," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "The level of conditioning he showed up in, he was as light as he's been in his career. He had that jump back from the first day.

"He indicated to us in the summer to come back to this area and play for this hockey club.

"He looked upon a return to Anaheim as an opportunity to resurrect his career. He felt in his heart he could make a contribution."

Selanne isn't sure how much longer he'll play, but he's got a lot more time left on the clock than people watching him two years ago thought.

"When you hang around with these puppies, you feel younger," smiles Selanne, who sits alongside rookies Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the dressing room. "With all the talent they have, it's fun to watch."


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