Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 02/17/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Coach Bruce Boudreau's serious attempts to give 42-year-old Teemu Selanne a day off often play like a comedy routine inside the Anaheim Ducks dressing room.
"Bruce tried to hide his skates last week, so Teemu went in and got a new pair and went on the ice anyway," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said.
Selanne actually rummaged around until he found an old pair of skates he could use to join teammates at practice.
"I tried to hide behind the other guys, and (Boudreau) saw me and said, 'What are you doing out here?' "
What Selanne was doing was the same thing he has been doing since 1992, when he entered the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets. He was enjoying his work.
"He walks in the room, and he's full of life," Murray said. "What better for a young player to see ... this guy who is old enough to be their dad showing up every day at the rink and just going."
Selanne is five months shy of his 43rd birthday, and he's in the top 20 in the NHL scoring race with 15 points in 13 games entering Saturday play. He has two four-point games this season.
Ed Olczyk, who played with Selanne in Winnipeg two decades ago, says he marvels today at some of the same attributes that impressed him about Selanne years ago.
"If you watch him play, his hands are always ready to shoot," Olczyk said.
Olczyk, an NBC television analyst, noted that on a five-on-three Anaheim power play Tuesday the Chicago Blackhawks were paying the most attention to Selanne, who is Anaheim's top points leader.
"They were not going to allow that backdoor pass to the most dangerous player on the ice," Olczyk said. "You can pick your poison in those spots ... and they were not going to allow the pass to him. That's respect."
Olczyk said Selanne might have lost a step through the years. "But losing a step when you are Teemu Selanne means you are still as quick as more than half of the players in the league," Olczyk said.
The Selanne fountain of youth is a simple formula, according to Murray.
"He is in amazing shape, and he loves to play. People underestimate how important it is to love to play," said Murray.
Selanne said he didn't want to take any days off because that felt right to him.
"I feel better, even if I just skate 20 minutes," he said.
He said the 2004-05 lockout, which cost him a season, had a profound psychological impact on him. He has enjoyed the game even more since then, he said, because he now knows what it is like not to have hockey in his life.
"When I leave the rink, I do not bring hockey home," Selanne said. "I've always had a good balance with that. My mind is not on hockey when I'm away from the rink."
In terms of extending Selanne's value to the franchise, the 2012-13 lockout might have helped the Ducks. Selanne had nine months away from the game, and he was thrilled to be returning.
"I had more time with my family (because of the lockout)," Selanne said. "The 48-game season almost seems tailor-made for me."
Selanne said the only issue for him was that the compressed schedule made game-to-game recovery more challenging.
But the season being shorter and 2014 being an Olympic year give rise to the idea that Selanne might play again next season. He is sticking with his plan to re-evaluate after the season.
"I just want to play one season at a time, and I want to take four weeks and maybe six weeks to make a decision," Selanne said. "The hardest thing for me is to do the right things in the summer."
In the meantime, every time Selanne has a big offensive game, the name that will come up is Gordie Howe, because he's the patron saint of scorers who cheat the aging process. Howe is one of three NHL players to have a four-point game at 42 or older. He was MVP of the World Hockey Association at 46 and scored 100 points at 48 in the WHA.
Selanne shakes his head in disbelief at the mention of being compared in any way to Howe.
"If someone would have told me when I was a young boy about what was going to happen in my career," Selanne said, "I would have ordered a doctor for that guy."
-- USA Today
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 17, 2013 A1
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Offense rules as Tavares scores 4 in Team Toews' 17-12 win
NHL pitches a no-hitter
Coyotes star had emergency surgery at HSC
ALL-STAR GAME Notebook
NHL all-star game
Johansen gets hometown nod in NHL All-Star game MVP vote
Canadiens recall Thomas from Bulldogs
Blackhawks place LW Versteeg on long-term injured list
Is NHL ready to gamble on Vegas?
Buff just wants to have fun
Flames' Gaudreau added to all-star game
World Cup format a winner
Weber shows off shot at skills competition
Ex-arena official sues NJ Devils GM over lost wages
Lightning's Johnson ruled out of All-Star skills competition
What World Cup all-star teams may look like
World Cup of Hockey returns in 2016
Dream come true for Seabrook
Nugent-Hopkins, Forsberg picked last in NHL All-Star Draft
Kessel at centre of all-star draft laughs
Penguins star Crosby has injection for lower-body injury
NHL all-star weekend missing big stars
Crosby out of all-star game with injury
Predators rookie added to All-Star Game; Malkin, Crosby out
McDavid lucky to have Orr to lean on
NHL All-Stars, Ohio State football share stage in Columbus
CBJ's Bobrovsky to miss All-Star game with lower-body injury
Malkin to miss all-star game with injury
Bieksa out indefinitely with broken hand
Sharks beat Kings 4-2 in final game before All-Star break
O'Reilly's tying goal helps Avalanche to SO win over Bruins
Lovejoy propels streaking Ducks past Flames 6-3
Jets win fifth straight, 4-0 over Columbus
Blackhawks beat short-handed Penguins in shootout 3-2
Sharks hold special Metallica night for game against Kings
Karlsson scores twice as Senators edge Leafs
Red Wings send LW Teemu Pulkkinen to AHL
Former all-star Ray Whitney retires
Predators send goalie Mazanec back to AHL for All-Star break