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He's Back

Thursday, 09.15.2011 / 12:22 PM PT
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady

It was the news we thought we'd be getting all summer, but when it finally came, it came as sweet relief:

Teemu Selanne is returning to the Ducks for one more season.

We've been through this before -- each of the last five years in fact -- but this time it was different. Before, it was whether Teemu wanted to play. This time, that never seemed in doubt. Instead, it was whether he could play. Any signs that Selanne was bothered by the same right knee that nearly cost him his career before the 2004-05 lockout were impossible to indicate by the way he flew up and down the ice like a 25-year-old. It's been hard to find a time when Teemu Selanne wasn't the fastest guy on the ice. So when he required surgery in early July to fix the knee again, we feared the worst, while at the same time hoping for the best. And Selanne admitted today that he felt the same way.

"The whole month of July it wasn’t looking good," he told reporters today via conference call. "After the surgery I couldn’t do much for a couple of weeks. It was so much work to strengthen the muscles again and get support around the knee. There were a lot of days where I felt, 'I don’t know if it’s going to work anymore.' But it got better every day, and I’ve done a lot of work to get the muscles around the knee strong. The hard work has paid off and now I’m very excited about it."

Both Selanne and Bob Murray revealed that they didn't even start having contract talks until a couple of days ago, with Teemu wanting to wait until he felt confident in his health before talking numbers. "I wanted to make sure when I started skating in early August that I was making progress every day and the knee was getting better," he said. "I was very happy in the last month or so that I was skating with no pain. That was a good sign. I tried to use the 16th, the day when training camp starts, as the deadline for myself. I’m very happy that the knee has been holding up well and I’m very optimistic that it’s going to last."

And so one of the glaring question marks about the 2011-12 Anaheim Ducks has been erased. Whether 41-year-old Teemu can do what 40-year-old Teemu did (a ridiculous 80 points in 73 games) remains to be seen. If he did, would it really surprise any of us? But more than the goals and points, more than what he means to the power play, it's the stuff most of us don't see that means so much to the Ducks. Said Murray today, "It's Teemu in the dressing room. It's Teemu walking into the rink every morning. It just..." and then he trailed off. In other words, it's hard to find the words. It's just Teemu.

As he's always done, Selanne is saying this year will be his last. Of course, that's the part we're not focusing on yet, so happy are we to have him back for more. "I know I’ve said that the last five years," he said. "But you’ve got to stop somewhere, and I’ve always approached this whole thing by saying it’s my last year. I think that’s really worked well for me. Again, I look at this as my last year and hopefully it’s going to be a good one."

So once again we'll all hopefully be cherishing every moment of it, trying to burn every pretty goal, every blaze down the right wing, every last moment of late-game heroics into our already-crowded collection of Teemu Selanne memories.

Here's one thing I'll remember: As Teemu came in today to sign the contract, he was the picture of California cool and casual in flip-flops, plaid shorts and light blue t-shirt. On the front of the shirt was a cartoon drawing of a golfer, underneath which were the words: Life is good.

On this day especially, it certainly is.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 13 50 14 63
C. Perry 82 34 28 2 62
R. Kesler 79 21 32 5 53
R. Rakell 72 20 23 -1 43
J. Silfverberg 82 20 19 8 39
S. Vatanen 71 9 29 8 38
A. Cogliano 82 9 23 2 32
H. Lindholm 80 10 18 7 28
C. Fowler 69 5 23 -8 28
C. Stewart 56 8 12 2 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 22 9 7 .919 2.30
J. Gibson 21 13 4 .920 2.07

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