Selanne Says He's 'Not 100 Percent Ready'

Friday, 09.14.2007 / 1:12 PM / News
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Selanne Says He\'s \'Not 100 Percent Ready\'

Selanne (right) and Scott Niedermayer are both undecided on their hockey futures.
Teemu Selanne met with local reporters at the Ducks practice facility, Anaheim ICE, today and said he's not quite ready to make a decision on whether he will retire from professional hockey. Selanne indicated he will wait until the regular season starts and then make a decision.

"The decision has been way harder than I thought," Selanne said. "I thought I could just make a decision and move on. When you’ve been playing this game since you were six years old, now I know how hard it is for players to retire. Part of me wants to still play and another part right now is not ready to do what it takes. I’m going to wait a little longer to see how I feel when the season starts. I’ll watch some games, get a little closer and by then I’ll know whether I want to come back and play again."

More from Selanne:

"But right now there is no way I’m as motivated as I need to be to play at this level. The last couple of years I have been motivated and hungry. If I don’t feel that same way, then it’s time to do something else. It’s a very hard decision, but it was to be the right one. So I’m very thankful that Burkie and the Ducks have told me to take as much time as I need. They haven’t been pushing me at all, and that’s unbelievable.

"I’m not 100 percent ready to make a decision. Part of me still wants to play. But right now it’s too early. It’s so satisfying when you achieve your dream [of winning a Stanley Cup], and I just want to make sure this decision is final and I don’t have to deal with this later. That’s why this has been very hard. There is no timetable where you can convince yourself. It has to come automatically. But when I come to watch a couple of games, I’ll know for sure if I want to be there. When the regular season games start, it’s a totally different feeling from training camp.

"I’ve been working out this summer, not the same level as in past summers, but I have been working out. I’ve only skated once though, back home in Finland. Just casual pick-up hockey. I’ve been trying to stay away from the rink to know if I miss the place or not.

"But the biggest thing for me is whether I am motivated enough to come back to this game and come back to the same level. You have to come back for the right reasons, when the love for the game and the passion is automatically there.

"So far I’ve enjoyed spending more time with the kids. I’ve probably spent more time at this rink in the offseason than ever before, watching their games.

"My family has been unbelievable and my wife has told me that it’s my decision and to do what I think is best. With my boys, there first question if I don’t play was, ‘We can’t skate at The Pond anymore?’[laughs]."

On whether Scott Niedermayer’s decision would impact his,

"I’ve tried not to think about that. Scotty has a very similar decision to make, even though he has two years to go on his contract. But I’ve been talking to Scotty about every week. And it’s the same thing with him. If you want to play hockey again, come back. If you don’t, it’s time to do other things. You’ve got to be very honest with yourself. But it’s an individual decision between the two of us, and I’ve tried not to think about what he’s going to do. But for sure it’s going to affect me a little bit.

"The guys have tried to ask me to come out and skate. One of the greatest things about team sports is the camaraderie with the guys and in the locker room. That’s the thing that guys miss the most when they retire.

"I’d like to make this decision as soon as possible, but I have to have a clear idea and feeling about what I want to do. I know when I watch the games and get a little closer to it, I know I’ll have the feeling about whether I want to play or not. If I’m not, it will be great to come watch the games. But like I said, it’s an unbelievably hard decision. I didn’t expect it to be this hard."

"When you retire, you'd like to go out on top and as a champion. And winning was so satisfying that my body has been mentally and physically empty since then. And that's why to come back it has to be for the right reason, and that's a love for the game and a desire to play. I haven't had that, but lately I've been thinking differently, and that's why I want to wait and see how I feel when the season starts. And again, that's why I'm thankful the Ducks gave me as much time as I need. Obviously they want me back, but they want me back in the same shape I was in the last couple of years. And I want to be in top shape if I come back."

On how long that would take,
"I think it would be about as long as a normal training camp. Then it would take a few games to get the timing down. But to get in game shape it would probably be two or three weeks. It's hard to say exactly."

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