Ducks flock together under Selanne's wings

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- The boost from Teemu Selanne's return goes beyond what he does with his stick and skates.

It extends to the dressing room, felt by all the members of the Anaheim Ducks.

It's like a giant shot of Red Bull in those contests before the final push to the Stanley Cup playoffs, including tonight's meeting with the Calgary Flames.

"At this time of the year, you need to play desperate hockey and need to get every point possible," said Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere after yesterday's practice. "Teemu comes in and gives us extra excitement and an extra edge."

Extra weapon.

Extra hope.

Extra energy.

Extra shot at another title.

The Ducks may be like most every other Western Conference team's sitting in a playoff spot; not quite in the free and clear but at least controlling their own destiny.

Talk about a bonus to add a veteran sniper two-thirds of the way through the season. Not to mention when it's a well-liked -- beloved, actually -- player who can lead by example and also be a great presence in the dressing room.

"The personality he displays is true. He lives it. That's Teemu," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "He's a bubbly personality. Scotty (Niedermayer, the other vet the Ducks had rejoin them in the middle of the season) is conservative. You have to pry things out of Scotty."

"It's a combination of both with Teemu," Giguere added. "We're excited to have him on the ice and have him scoring big goals for us and do what he does on the ice, which is be a top player in this league, but off the ice he's a great person.

"He's got a lot of energy in the room. His leadership is amazing."

The early returns from Selanne aren't anything to write home about, with one goal and two assists in six outings.

Still, having missed training camp and trying to jump into the fray when all the other players are hitting fifth gear isn't easy.

"He's had some chances and the pucks have been rolling away," Carlyle said. "Last game (his first at home since returning to the Ducks), he was trying too hard, trying to do too much as an individual."

However, it's important to add the Ducks have won five of those six games.

"I knew I had to be patient when I came back," Selanne said after spending extra time on the practice ice yesterday.

"I knew it takes time, about a month to feel back to normal. You can't come back and have it come like that."

Nobody can doubt it will come back soon enough. At least in time for another championship push.


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