April 5, 2012
Not yet decision time for Selanne
By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Teemu Selanne still doesn’t know whether he’s going to stay or he’s going to go.
The Anaheim Ducks winger will weigh his options once the season comes to an end, but if Selanne does decide to hang up his skates and call it a career after 19 NHL seasons, then Thursday would represent his final game at Rexall Place.
“I’d love to give you an answer, but I don’t really know,” said Selanne on Wednesday. “I want to stick with the plan and how I’ve done things in the past.
“That has really worked for me. There are a lot of highs and lows during the season and that’s the wrong time to even begin the thinking process. The best way is to take a little time off and get a chance to see the whole picture a little better.”
For Selanne, it’s not a question of whether he’s still able to play at the age of 41.
He heads into the contest against the Oilers as the Ducks’ leading scorer this season with 26 goals and 40 assists on the season.
“There’s no real textbook on how to retire,” Selanne said. “A lot of times players retire because of injury or they’re almost at that survival mode where they can’t compete, they’re missing something and can’t play at the level they used to. I don’t feel that, that’s why it’s hard. I’ve tried to figure out what the sign is. It’s still fun to come to the rink and it’s fun to play. Everything is fun, and that part of it makes me wonder why I should retire?”
If it were up to the Ducks and their fans, Selanne would be back for, at least, another season.
The veteran has been an important part of the club since joining them for a second stint following the lockout in 2005.
“When you have the passion and love for the game of hockey, you can last if you keep yourself in great shape,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “And that’s what he’s done.
“He’s been so great for hockey it would be nice to see fans in Edmonton give him a nice welcome, because we don’t know what’s happening for next year.”
With the Ducks finishing their schedule on the road this season, Selanne already got a sendoff in Anaheim when the Oilers were in town Sunday evening.
Selanne scored the Ducks’ only goal in the 2-1 loss and received a lengthy standing ovation towards the end of the game.
“It was awesome,” Selanne said. “It has been a really happy place for me and it was an honour to see how the fans were reacting. It’s hard to even imagine that it could be the last home game. It’s going to be tough, when you sit down and say ‘That was it?’ But let’s see. I don’t want to think too far ahead.”
The emotion of the moment almost got the better of Selanne, who had to encourage the linesman to drop the puck to restart the contest.
To their credit, the officials let the situation play out, allowing Selanne to take in the ovation.
“It was great, the reaction of the fans, but at the same time, I was telling the linesman, ‘Let’s go, let’s finish this thing,’ ” Selanne said. “It was awesome and he was waiting a long time. So I gave him a tap, so he would drop the puck.”
With two games left in the season, Selanne hasn’t ruled out playing for Finland at the upcoming World Hockey Championships this spring, co-hosted by his country. After that, it’s expected he’ll make a decision on his future, although he hasn’t given much thought what he would do following his playing career. A position similar to that of Jari Kurri, who is the general manager of the Finland’s national team, would be appealing, however.
“Jari has a perfect job,” Selanne smiled. “He has three or four tournaments a year and between those tournaments he can pretty much do whatever he wants. Then he comes a couple of times a year on a scouting trip over here. Like he doesn’t know the players. He came to Anaheim for a week to watch us play. He has a great job. Maybe I’ll become his right-hand man.”