Birds of a feather

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- Hoisting the Stanley Cup last June, Teemu Selanne looked like a man who had just written the ultimate fairy-tale ending to a storied career.

"I thought I was done," the Anaheim Ducks winger said yesterday. "I mean, what a happy ending. You win a Stanley Cup and then you walk away."

But when the Senators faced the Ducks in last night's Stanley Cup rematch at the Honda Center, Selanne was back in his familiar No. 8 jersey.

While neither Selanne nor perennial Norris Trophy candidate Scott Niedermayer were with the Ducks to start this season, both put retirement plans on hold to return for another shot at sipping from Lord Stanley's mug in June.

The team welcomed Selanne and Niedermayer back with open arms, and, buoyed by their all-star-calibre play, the Ducks look ready to make the pair's return pay off.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said he thinks the early season rest has done the pair good.

"You have to say that they're fresher," Carlyle said. "Teemu has come back and had success and is contributing. Scotty has come back and is just like, 'Let's do it again. Let's go here.' "

The Ducks realize they have a better chance of recapturing the Cup with Selanne and Niedermayer in the lineup. It's no accident the Ducks were 10-1 going into last night's game against Ottawa with Selanne back, because he makes his linemates better offensively.

"You can't argue with the stats," said Ducks defenceman Sean O'Donnell. "It's almost gotten us over a mental thing. It's kind of like, 'Oh good, these guys are back. Let's go play.'

"We went through some tough things at the start of the year with that long trip over to London (to open the season) and then running into teams that wanted to play us and have success against us. Having those guys has really helped. Scotty is calming and Teemu is just great in the dressing room. It's helped us as much in the locker room as it has on the ice."

OFF THE GLASS

The Ducks were getting ready to fit Toronto C Mats Sundin with a sweater if he decided to waive his no-trade clause at the deadline. The talk in the Anaheim dressing room yesterday was the Ducks were prepared to sweeten their offer of prospect C Bobby Ryan and a No. 1 pick to make the deal happen if Sundin decided to go. Word is the last thing Anaheim GM Brian Burke wanted to see was Sundin dealt to the Sharks. Of course, all the talk didn't matter because Sundin opted to stay with the Leafs ... Carlyle, who missed Friday's 3-1 victory over the Flames because of the flu, had a good laugh when it was suggested to him that D Chris Pronger might have a future as a coach. With assistant Dave Farrish taking over Carlyle's coaching role, Pronger, who is out with a broken jaw, worked behind the bench as an assistant against Calgary. "He'd have to take one hell of a pay cut," Carlyle said of his all-star blueliner ... The Senators will decide what to do with C Nick Foligno at the end of this road trip. He was expected to be a healthy scratch last night and GM/coach Bryan Murray isn't going to keep him with the big club if he's not going to play. "We had to bring an extra player who could play and he'll be here for the week," said Murray before the game. "I guess I'll have to look at Chris Neil's (knee) injury and how soon he'll be back when we get back to Ottawa. Nick should play. If he's not going to get games, then I'll get him down to Binghamton." The Senators don't return to Ottawa until Sunday morning.


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