Selanne Practices, Talks to Media
Selanne skated for about an hour with a Ducks team that was missing injured Samuel Pahlsson and All-Stars Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who returned from Atlanta today.
Following practice, Selanne spoke to a gathering of reporters at Honda Center.
"I’m very happy and excited to be back," Selanne said. "I’m very happy that things worked out with Brian Burke and the Samuelis. It’s awesome that they gave me the chance to come in this late. Obviously, there are great teammates and great fans here. It’s awesome to part of it again.
|Photos of Selanne Practicing, Talking with Media|
“It was a pretty busy day today. After today, it’s going to be much more fun. The first practice back with the teammates was very exciting. It was a pretty hard practice. I almost forgot how tough it is. I really feel this is a good time to come back and go on the road with my teammates. I think that gives a little more privacy and the ability to get together with new teammates and get back into action. I don’t know when I’m going to be ready to play. I’m sure it’s going to take a couple of games. I’ve been skating three weeks now, so that helps a lot, but not to this level and to this tempo."
Selanne Press Conference Video
Audio: Teemu Selanne on his comeback (13:24)
Audio: Randy Carlyle on Teemu Selanne's comeback
Teemu Selanne Press Conference Transcript
Teemu Selanne: “I’m very happy and excited to be back. I’m very happy that things worked out with Brian Burke and the Samuelis. It’s awesome that they gave me the chance to come in this late. Obviously, there are great teammates and great fans here. It’s awesome to part of it again.”
Can you talk about today itself, what it’s been like for you and how long do you think it will take you before we can see you in the lineup?
Teemu Selanne: “It was a pretty busy day today. After today, it’s going to be much more fun. The first practice back with the teammates was very exciting. It was a pretty hard practice. I almost forgot how tough it is. It was good. I really feel this is a good time to come back and go on the road with my teammates. I think that gives a little more privacy and the ability to get together with new teammates and get back into action. I don’t know when I’m going to be ready to play. I’m sure it’s going to take a couple of games. I’ve been skating three weeks now, so that helps a lot, but not to this level and to this tempo. Let’s see.
When did you decide that you were going to come back and when did you tell the team?
Teemu Selanne: “Earlier I thought I was going to be done. But when I started coming to the games and I saw my teammates again, I started feeling that I wanted to be part of it again. If Brian Burke had told me he needed a deadline in training camp or November, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m very thankful to Brian Burke and the Ducks that they were able to wait this long and make this all possible. We had a little baby about seven weeks, so I think that was the timeline. Before that I wasn’t going to decide anything. I was very happy to home and spend the time with my boys and the newborn also. After that, I thought I would start skating and see how I feel. Every day I started feeling better and better. Then I called my agent and asked him to see if there was a deal available. Every thing went very smooth, so I’m very happy about that.”
How do you gauge where you are at right now physically?
Teemu Selanne: “I’m healthy, that’s the biggest thing. I know that it takes a certain time to get used to this tempo. The game shape will probably come a little later. The only reason why I came back is that I really felt that I wanted to play hockey again. That’s why I’m here. I’m not expecting to everything to happen automatically right away. You have to patient a little while, but I’m expecting to feel better every day. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
How much contact had you had with your teammates during these last few months? Were guys calling you trying to get you to come back and trying to get you to make a decision? Were they giving you any input or were they leaving alone to make your decision?
Teemu Selanne: “They weren’t asking all the time, ‘Do you want to come back?’ I think they were very good with that. They really made sure that I just thought about the whole thing and not rushing anything. I have a lot of good friends on this team, who I talk to maybe not on a daily basis but every week with many times. I knew exactly what’s been happening around the team. That’s why it’s so easy to come back because I pretty much know everybody in there. It almost feels like I didn’t really miss a day before I stepped on the ice.”
How much did Scotty’s decision to come back effect your decision? Secondly, if he hadn’t come back, would your decision have been different?
Teemu Selanne: “That’s a good question. I knew Scotty’s was going to come back because he called a couple of times to see if I wanted to skate. I said I could skate, but the ice time was like midnight, so I said no, it’s okay. I wasn’t ready for that yet. I knew he was going to come back when I heard that. I was very excited because I know how big of a part Scotty is to this team. At that time, I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I was still processing my thinking. Obviously, of course it helped me. It got me more excited about it. If he wouldn’t have come back, I don’t know what could have happened. Scotty’s situation was a little bit different than mine. I tried to be honest. If I didn’t feel like I wanted to play anymore, I wouldn’t be here. For sure, I’m in the right place.”
Where the team is in the standings, how did that effect your decision?
Teemu Selanne: “I don’t think that was a big deal. I know how good of a team we have here. The league is very tight right now, which is awesome. I think that’s how it should be. The biggest thing for me is I know how much I enjoy playing hockey with these guys and that’s why I’m so excited. We know what we can do. With what happened last year, we want to repeat. There’s a lot of work to do here.”
How do you feel the chances are of repeating?
Teemu Selanne: “I think this team has all the tools we need. Nothing is going to happen automatically. There’s a lot of work ahead. It’s going to be a good challenge for our team to do what we want to do. Let’s go one step at a time. I feel very good about this team. It’s going to be an exciting time.”
Was there every a point that you thought you were done?
Teemu Selanne: “I think so. During the summer, when I didn’t have to think about hockey, I thought that was it. But I knew when the season starts, I was going to come to the games and be a little closer to my teammates again. Then I knew it was going to be time to make the final decision. I thought I was done, but I didn’t really want to make the decision until I knew for sure. That’s why I think Brian Burke and the Ducks gave me the chance to think this long. I’m very thankful for that.”
Is there anybody in the locker room today that you had never met before? Did you introduce yourself to anybody or did anybody introduce themselves to you?
Teemu Selanne: “I knew almost everybody. Brandon (Bochenski) I didn’t know. Everybody I met many times. It’s just a great locker room. Everybody is in the same boat and there’s just a great chemistry. This is a very easy team to come to. With every thing that we have been through together, it’s great to be back.”
Was there any part of you that thought you were letting these guys down or that you should be with the team?
Teemu Selanne: “No, not really. I didn’t have a contract. I was pretty much able to do what I wanted. I didn’t feel that at all. Everybody has their own opinion about things and that’s fine, but you have to do what’s best for you. At that point, I wasn’t ready to start playing. It was an easy decision not to report to camp because I didn’t have a contract and I was doing other things.”
Did any other teams try to contact you other than the Ducks?
Teemu Selanne: “I think there were a lot of teams that tried to call my agent. But he knew right away that this was the only place where I wanted to play. Paul Kariya called me all the time and said if you want to play, I know one spot. That wasn’t the case really. We were just joking about that. This has been a happy place for me. It was not even questioned.”
Had you made up your mind prior to today and when did you make your decision?
Teemu Selanne: “About a couple of weeks ago when I started feeling better and better on the ice. I started to think I was going to come back, but I wanted to take it slowly and make sure I felt the same after that couple of weeks. I think this was a good time to come back. It’s good to go on the road with the boys and start there. I think it will be easier. Obviously, it’s not very easy to on a 14-day road trip, but it’s a good time to start spending time with my teammates and get the team together.”
Was doing this road trip any condition on coming back?
Teemu Selanne: “I really wanted to come on this trip. I told my agent let’s try to do everything that we can so I can go because I really feel this is the time to come back. I need as much ice time as I can to get back into game shape. That’s why it was very important to be on the trip.”
Do you think your role is going to be any different now than it was last season?
Teemu Selanne: “Not really. I try to do the things that I can do well and help the team that way. I haven’t really had the chance to talk with the coaches about my role. Let’s see what happens. I will pretty much try to be the same player that I’ve always been.”
Have you had any thoughts beyond this season?
Teemu Selanne: “The last five, six years I have been signing only one year contracts just because I want to control my future. It’s a little bit too hard to think further than this year. This is a big challenge for me and the rest of the team to have success this year. I don’t even want to think about next season because it’s too far. Let’s see what happens after that.”