Is Teemu Selanne Leaning Towards a Return?
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, FIle)
By Steve Palumbo (@StevePalumboNHL)
Teemu Selanne will not come right out and tell us how he is feeling or thinking but recent comments seem to suggest he might by leaning towards returning to the Anaheim Ducks for his 20th NHL season.
“There’s more inside me that wants to play than retire,” the 42-year-old winger told the OC Register. “But it’s got to be 100 percent when I make the decision.”
It’s obvious he can still produce at a high level; he leads the Ducks in scoring this season with 63 points. When he scores his next goal it will be the 15th time in his career he’s reached the 25-goal mark in a season. There are good players in the league that have never even sniffed 25 goals.
The Ducks are in the waning moments of a bitterly disappointing season. Anaheim finished fourth in the Western Conference a year ago and entered the 2011-12 season with high expectation. However with six games left and 12 points out of eight, the Ducks are on the cusp of elimination.
That in itself may be the motivating factor in the future Hall of Famer’s decision to hang on just one more year.
Selanne will, as he always does, take some time after the season to evaluate how he feels and determine if his aging body can withstand the rigors of another 82 game grind.
“I want to feel like I have to start working again, start getting ready,” he explained. “That’s the feeling I want to have again. That’s a good feeling. That’s when I’ll know if I still want to do it.”
Anaheim fans are hoping he has the itch to return. Not only is he without a doubt the most popular player in franchise history, but without Selanne in the lineup the Ducks become noticeably thin at right wing. That’s bad news for a team that is about to miss the playoffs.
“I still think I haven’t lost much, so that’s a good thing,” Selanne said. “But that’s also the way I want to go out. I don’t want to be the guy who’s just grinding and grinding and trying to survive.
“When I’m playing, I want to be effective, not be the guy who looks like he’s just surviving out there.”
Selanne told the register he will make Ducks management aware of his plans by July 1.
When you collect 1403 points in 1335 games there isn’t much left to prove, but when your a competitor like Selanne, the will to play goes well beyond personal accomplishments. He has a desire to win and a second Stanley Cup in Anaheim would be the perfect ending to a nearly flawless career.
Follow me on Twitter! @StevePalumboNHL
Email me at StevePalumboNHL@gmail.com