Selanne, Ducks Set for Emotional Night in Winnipeg
|Here is today's edition of the Winnipeg Free Press.
In what figures to be an emotional atmosphere inside the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Teemu Selanne and the Ducks close out their three-game road trip against the Jets at 5 p.m. PT (TV: Prime Ticket | Radio: AM 830).
This will be the last regular season visit to the city where it all began for the 43-year-old fan favorite. Selanne was drafted 10th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.
The teams haven't faced each other since December 17, 2011, when Selanne made his first trip back to Winnipeg since February 4, 1996. Selanne received a rousing standing ovation before the game and was cheered every time he touched the puck. After the game, Selanne saluted the crowd before exiting the ice. Selanne will have a chance to salute the crowd tonight.
WATCH SELANNE'S FIRST VISIT BACK TO WINNIPEG
Selanne didn't play in last night's 4-3 overtime victory against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul. Head coach Bruce Boudreau said Selanne won't play in both games of the team's 12 back-to-back sets, in an effort to keep him fresh over the course of an 82-game season.
Earlier this morning, Selanne spoke to the media about his return to Winnipeg. Below is a transcript:
On if he’ll savor the moment a little more this time around
I don’t know about that. When you come here for only one day, it’s kind of hard to think too much and do enough. But this place is really, really special. Even last night when we got to the hotel, there were a lot of people waiting. It’s unbelievable. It’s good to be here. I had a chance to come here two years ago, and that reception was unbelievable. I don’t really expect anything like that tonight, but it’s fun to be here.
On if anything can top that night on December 17, 2011
That was so special. I almost hoped I didn’t have to come back here anymore. That was an absolutely perfect night. We lost, but that was something I’m always going to remember. This place is so nice, and the fans are unbelievable. I’m very happy that I’ll have a chance to come back one last time.
On signing autographs and acknowledging the fans throughout his career
I’ve always said that’s the easiest part for hockey players, or any athletes’ job, to sign autographs. That takes five to ten minutes. I’ve always had a very special relationship with the fans. It’s been easy.
On his fondest memories of being a Winnipeg Jet
When I broke Mike Bossy’s [rookie goal-scoring] record. That was the night I’m always going to remember. And, when I threw the glove in the air and I shot it down. Now when I see it, I feel a little embarrassed, but I was young and excited at the time.
On what the Jets fanbase has meant to him over his career
They know how special they’ve been. Not only the time when I was here, but all the years in my career. I’ve really appreciated this city. When I came here as a young boy, they really treated me like their own. They treated me so well. I’m so happy I started here, and could create this relationship with the fans.
On if tonight’s game will be easier to handle emotionally
Absolutely. When I got traded in ’96, just a couple months before the team moved to Phoenix, it happened so quickly. The next day I was gone. I never really had a chance to say goodbye to all the fans and people who were so important here. Even to my teammates…just thanks and goodbye. It was tough to leave that way. The last time I came back here in 2011, that was really special. This is going to be special, too. Every time we come here, it’s fun.
On what would make the perfect night tonight
Hopefully we can play well, and it would be nice to score here.