Teemu Selanne Officially Returns
After signing a one-year deal with Anaheim earlier in the day, Selanne said on a conference call Monday afternoon that the more he considered retirement, the more he realized he still wanted to play.
"The longer I thought about it, the more I thought, 'You know, I'm not done with it,' " the Finnish great said. "Last week, I realized I wanted to play more."
Selanne confirmed a report out of Finland last week that he'd welcome former linemate Paul Kariya's return to the Ducks, and he said he has been something of an intermediary with Anaheim general manager Bob Murray, but he doesn't know where things stand.
"I've actually been talking with both," Selanne said. "What Paul's done for Ducks hockey in the past, he still loves the area, he's playing at the highest level. Hopefully, they're going to find something that makes both sides happy."
Selanne said he's been doing his usual summer workout program. In fact, he started it right away, knowing he'd have to be in NHL-ready shape should he decide to return. He recently turned 40, and he said that training is even more important, even if he doesn't actually feel his age.
"The biggest challenge at this age is that the recovery time is shorter," he said. "You have to be smart about getting enough fluids, rest, good food. You have to train smarter, harder, but that's what I want to do, anyway.
"I don't really feel like I'm 40, And if I do, it's pretty good."
Selanne will miss Niedermayer -- he said they played golf after the season, before Selanne returned to Finland, and Selanne got the sense that he wasn't going to be able to change Niedermayer's mind.
"It's too bad, because you can't replace a guy like him," Selanne said.
Selanne is a fan of fellow Finn Toni Lydman, signed this offseason, calling the defenseman an excellent all-around player. And among the first things that Selanne cited as a reason for his return is that he likes the moves Murray has made this summer, such as adding Lydman and Andy Sutton.
Most important as far as Selanne was concerned was the return of Saku Koivu, re-signed to a two-year deal in early July. Selanne said he only wanted to come back if the Ducks had a chance to win, and he believes Koivu is a major part of that.
The way last season ended still rankles. The Ducks won four games in the first month, which hurt them, and then dropped the first five games after the Olympic break. Selanne said it hurt to watch teams he felt Anaheim could beat going into the postseason, while the Ducks were on the sideline.
"How we were playing at the end was so solid," he said. "Those five games (post-break) really killed us, and everyone else started winning too. You can't have a bad start last we did last year and bounce back. We almost did it, but every year, it's harder and harder.
"How the season ended last year, I remember the feeling. Watching the playoffs from your home couch is tough."
The Los Angeles Times reported that Selanne's deal is for $3.25 million, plus bonuses. And when Selanne hopped on the conference call, he used the phrase "another year," leading one reporter to ask why he hadn't said "one last year," instead.
"Well, every year, I'm thinking this is my last year," Selanne said with a laugh. "That's really how I got motivated to get better and better, it helped me, that attitude, just leave it out there. It worked for me."