By Kyle Shohara
An ageless wonder took part in this afternoon’s optional practice at Honda Center, less than 24 hours after the Ducks earned a hard-fought point in a 3-2 shootout loss in San Jose. Teemu Selanne, who turns 43 in July, skated with players half his age, including 20-year-old Emerson Etem who made his NHL debut last night.
“I tried to hide Teemu’s skates but he found another pair,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau. “I didn’t want him going on [the ice]. It’s hard to keep him off the ice.”
On last night’s game: “The good news is that I thought we played very well. Now, the harder news is now you have to bottle it up and it can’t be a one-time thing. So, we know the capability is there. But until I see things happen two, three, four, or five times in a row, it doesn’t become a matter of fact with me, because anybody can do anything once or twice. It’s when, game in and game out, you’re doing the same things and the same teams are having trouble with you.”
On the team’s effort last night: “We’ll [watch] video today. You never play a perfect game. There are things we did wrong and we’ll show the negative stuff, but it’ll be followed by a lot of positive.”
On what was said post-game: “I didn’t talk to them [after the game]. I knew they worked their [tails] off and they didn’t need me coming in saying, ‘Hey, good game, nice try.’ But I’ll address them today. I didn’t really say anything. They talked amongst themselves about the game, but that was it.”
On the team’s work ethic: “That’s the way we have to play. I think the best reputation you can get is the reputation of being the hardest working team. And if you can finally garner that reputation, then the talented guys have the reputation of being the harder workers, too. And, usually, it relates to a championship team or a team that’s very good.”
Emerson Etem made his NHL debut last night in San Jose, skating on a line with Rickard Rakell and Kyle Palmieri. The trio was dubbed “The First-Round Line” in reference to all three players being former first-round picks (Etem – 29th overall in 2010, Rakell – 30th overall in 2011, Palmieri – 26th overall in 2009).
Etem became the 13th player in NHL history born and trained in Southern California to appear in an NHL game, with nine of those 13 coming in the last eight seasons (since 2005-06).
“I was just trying to take it all in,” said Etem. “It was a great experience. I knew what was coming with the fans and how rowdy it was going to get. It was a great barn to play in.”
On generating a Grade-A scoring chance on his first shift: “I was able to use my speed and Kyle [Palmieri] made a great saucer pass about a foot off the ice to me, and he knew that I was flying down the left wing. I just wanted to get a quick shot and hope for a rebound and I did just that. It was good to get that first one out of the way. I felt good out there.”
Coach Boudreau said of Etem, “He was fine. He didn’t look like he was a deer in the headlights or anything. He looked like he took it in stride. He did his job. He did exactly what I expected of a guy that’s from this town, from California, and played his first pro game in California.”
RED: Selanne – Beleskey
GREY: Ryan – Winnik – Smith-Pelly
BLUE: Cogliano – Bonino – Palmieri
WHITE: Etem – Rakell – Staubitz
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