The Last Day
It's kind of like the last day of school here today at Honda Center -- always a somber occasion as the Ducks players come in to have one-on-one meetings with coaches and management, clean out their lockers, sign oodles of objects for our Community Relations purposes, spend some time with media and generally say goodbye for the summer.
This one is even a little more gloomy, as it comes on the heels of a mostly disappointing 2011-12 that ended last Saturday with a somewhat fitting 5-2 loss in Calgary. The only positive was Bobby Ryan scoring his 30th and 31st goals of the season, making him the only active player besides Alex Ovechkin (and the 16th all time) to score 30 in each of his first four NHL seasons.
But while we might reflect a little on that, and this frustrating Ducks season, today will be a lot about looking to the future -- and about one player in particular. For the sixth straight summer, we'll be wondering if we've seen the last of Teemu Selanne here, or whether he'll come back for at least one more season. He will certainly be asked about that by reporters when he's on his way out the door today, and it was a topic after that game (could it have been his last?) on Saturday.
"If this was my last game, that's fine. I can live with that," Selanne told reporters in the visiting locker room at Scotiabank Saddledome. "Obviously it's a little more tougher to swallow that we didn't make the playoffs. Because I really believe that we have a better team than we played this year. That's the toughest part. Everything else, I'm fine with."
Selanne led the Ducks in scoring with 66 points, and that along with his 26 goals kept him climbing up the NHL's all-time lists.
"I really do think that I can play well," Selanne said. "But, same hand, I don't know if you always have to play as long as you can. You know that it's going to end somewhere. "My dream always was that I can retire with my own terms. I'm healthy. And I (can) still enjoy the game and life after hockey."
(Ah, "same hand." I'm gonna miss that someday. Hopefully, not soon.)
And while Teemu's words might might not be the most encouraging to Ducks fans, Ryan provided some optimism with his remarks to the OC Register.
"There's nothing different to him alluding to it being his last game," Ryan said. "My gut feeling is that Teemu comes back and grants us another year. You never know. He's at an age where he's got four kids doing different things. They're all busy ... they're starting to drive and things like that."
(So...they can drive him to the rink then, right?)
We'll definitely cover that topic more today and in the days leading up to Teemu's self-imposed July 1 deadline (when NHL free agency officially opens.)
Keep an eye on AnaheimDucks.com, as well as our Twitter page and Facebook page for updates from today.
Some nice tweets from the players after the end of the season: