Speed and Energy Still There for Selanne

Tuesday, 11.04.2008 / 2:12 PM / Features
By Mike G. Morreale  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Speed and Energy Still There for Selanne
At age 38, Teemu Selanne still has the flash and the fire that made him a superstar.
It was about this time last season that Teemu Selanne was contemplating retirement after 14 electrifying seasons in the League.

"I thought, 'I'm done,' " Selanne said. "Winning the Stanley Cup (in 2007) was something that got me so empty, physically and mentally, and the only way I would come back was if I still felt it in my heart to play again."

That itch returned following the birth of his fourth child, Veera, in December 2007.

After posting 23 points in 26 games with the Anaheim Ducks last season, the 38-year-old Finnish Flash has rediscovered the fountain of youth after signing a two-year deal in September. How else can you explain the sudden offensive outbreak alongside linemates Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf?

"When you get older, the hardest part of playing in the NHL is the recovery time so you have to be so much smarter with eating, resting and getting the energy level where it should be," Selanne said. "When you're younger, it was pretty easy to get ready for that next game, and your energy level was normal."

Selanne won't openly admit it, but maintaining a high energy level hasn't been a problem for the 10-time NHL All Star. Not only did he record 6 goals and 9 points in 4 games last week, but he notched his 21st career hat trick, the most among active players; equaled Hall of Fame right wing Guy Lafleur with 560 career goals; and tied Hall of Fame left wing Bobby Hull with 1,170 career points.

"If someone told me (I'd be mentioned with Lafleur and Hull) when I first broke into the League, I would have said you were crazy," Selanne said.

Additionally, Selanne's 23-year-old linemates, Getzlaf (10 points) and Perry (9 points), combined for 19 points and a plus-8 rating over the 4 games. All told, the line accrued 10 goals and 28 points with a plus-7 rating last week for the surging Ducks, who are 6-0-1 in their last 7 games.

"If someone told me (I'd be mentioned with Lafleur and Hull) when I first broke into the League, I would have said you were crazy," Selanne said.
"They are getting inside and creating chances," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told the Ducks' Web site. "When you have the amount of skill that they have, those things will eventually turn the tide in their direction. As long as they continue to work hard to get inside and control that puck, they can be an effective group."

The entire first line, in fact, earned a collective NHL First Star of the Week -- the first time since the inception of the award in 1981-82 that a group of teammates were given such an honor.

"Corey and Ryan are players who have all the tools that you need to be a great hockey player -- they see the game very well, can pass and shoot," Selanne said. "They're so strong down low and really hungry to do some damage. When you get open, you know that those guys are going to find you. It's the same thing with guys like (Chris) Pronger and (Scott) Niedermayer -- they make playing the game so much more easier."

It's also the reason the Ducks' power play has risen from the depths of the League standings to ninth overall with a 20.4-percent efficiency. Selanne leads the NHL with 7 power-play goals, including 6 he collected last week.

"I think we had a pretty good preseason. Honestly, I think we thought it was going to be a little easier, but there are no easy games. The secret with the Ducks is that we have to outwork the opponent. That's the only chance we have at winning games and we realize that." - Teemu Selanne
"Our power play has improved a lot and is one reason we've been able to turn things around (after starting the season 1-5-0)," Selanne said. "I think we had a pretty good preseason. Honestly, I think we thought it was going to be a little easier, but there are no easy games. The secret with the Ducks is that we have to outwork the opponent. That's the only chance we have at winning games and we realize that. Once we started working harder, we got this thing rolling but we still know that we can do even better."

Despite his age, Selanne has defied the odds by scoring at least 40 goals and 90 points in 2 of his last 3 seasons.

"My speed is still there," Selanne said. "Maybe I'm not as fast as I was when I was 22, but I think the speed is still the key for me. You know, I still like the game and I'm very lucky that I'm always playing with great players, which really makes it easier. But you just have to love this game and play with a passion and hope that you can stay healthy.  That's the bottom line."

Selanne needs to just 3 more hat tricks to surpass Hall of Fame right wing and fellow Helsinki native Jari Kurri for the most by a European-born player.

"Jari was my hero and my idol when I was growing up, so any time you can compare yourself to Jari Kurri or you hear the conversation, it's obviously a big honor," Selanne said. "You have to have done some great things if you can be in the same company as Jari. 

"When I was younger and got the first goal, I was so hungry to try to get another one. Usually when I got 2, I know there's a good chance to get a third one. As you get older, you're not so greedy anymore but it's always very special to get hat tricks."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48


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