True to his nature when the subject arises, Teemu Selanne isn’t going to make a commitment one way or the other on whether he will retire or play a 20th NHL season until this summer when he is away from the game.
But while he is usually very coy about his future, Selanne expressed how he still has the desire to play even as he pushes 42 years of age.
“There’s more inside me that wants to play than retire,” the Ducks winger said. “But it’s got to be 100 percent when I make the decision.”
His level of play hasn’t dropped very much. Selanne scored his 24th goal of the season Sunday night in a 3-2 loss to Boston and his 63 points leads the Ducks, who next face the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.
Like in recent years, Selanne again will take five or six weeks off after the season. In mid-June, he and his family will return to Finland for 10 weeks. Soon after arriving there, Selanne will consider beginning workouts aimed for the start of training camp.
“I want to feel like I have to start working again, start getting ready,” he explained. “That’s the feeling I want to have again. That’s a good feeling. That’s when I’ll know if I still want to do it.”
Selanne said he plans to inform the Ducks of his intentions by a personal deadline of July 1. Just like in recent years.
There is the possibility that Selanne could play for his native Finland in the world championships, as he will certainly be recruited by good friend and boyhood hero Jari Kurri, the national team’s general manager.
And there is also the prospect that the 2012-13 season may not start on time if talks on a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union break down.
The Ducks’ reasons for Selanne to continue his Hall of Fame career aren’t just sentimental. At this point, they aren’t sentimental at all. If he retires, this team instantly becomes notably worse.
“I still think I haven’t lost much, so that’s a good thing,” Selanne said. “But that’s also the way I want to go out. I don’t want to be the guy who’s just grinding and grinding and trying to survive.
“When I’m playing, I want to be effective, not be the guy who looks like he’s just surviving out there.”
NOTES, QUOTES Ducks not happy Beleskey goal was disallowed –The Ducks were livid afterward as an apparent goal by Matt Beleskey that would have tied the game at 2-2 in the third period was disallowed by referees Brad Watson and Rob Martell after they determined that Andrew Cogliano was in the crease and had impeded Boston goalie Marty Turco’s ability to make a play on Beleskey’s shot.
“You can watch the replay over and over again,” Beleskey said. “The puck’s in before there’s any contact. To me, that’s just a hope call there. They didn’t really review it. They just decided that’s the call. And that’s how it’s going to be.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau was furious on the ice as Martell came over to the Ducks bench to explain the ruling. “I really didn’t give him much of a chance to say too much. I was ready to hit him. It costs us the season, you know.”
–Jonas Hiller made his 69th start of the season, which made for the most games any Ducks goalie has appeared in during a single year. The franchise’s previous mark was 68 set by Guy Hebert in 1998-99. There have been only seven games in which Hiller has not played in. And he’s done this while entering 2011-12 as a significant question mark because of continued symptoms related to vertigo that kept him off the ice for all but two games after Feb. 2 of last season.
“I just have a lot of fun playing, even if it’s a lot of games,” he said. “Sometimes in the morning, it hurts getting out of bed. At the same time, I’m just excited I can play. I found out how it could be the other way like at the end of last year. I just wasn’t able to play at all. I enjoy every game I can play. It’s always nice to go out there.”
Hiller was nominated for the Masterton Trophy by the Anaheim chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Assn.
–Buried by Calgary and then put on waivers, Niklas Hagman’s season was salvaged when the Ducks claimed him in mid-November. The veteran forward has just nine goals and 12 assists in 65 games with both teams this season and now has six games left to show the Ducks or another NHL team whether he is worthy of a contract in 2012-13 as he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
“You want to still play your best,” Hagman said. “I don’t have a contract right now. But it’s more than that. You don’t want to get to where people are saying you’re just skating around out there. You want to play hard for your teammates and the fans.”
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It was a horse (bleep) call. What do you want me to say? It cost us. It cost us the game. Sure, they got another goal, but we would have played completely different if there was a 2-2 tie with 10 minutes to go. … I don’t know. I give up trying to figure these guys out.” — Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, on an apparent tying goal in the third period that was disallowed in an eventual 3-2 loss to Boston.
ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: –D Toni Lydman returned to the Ducks lineup against Boston after sitting out the last three contests due to an upper-body injury. Lydman has been playing hurt for a while and it is one reason why he hasn’t been as effective as last season, when he was a plus-32, the best plus-minus mark in his career. –D Lubomir Visnovsky scored his sixth goal of the season when he tallied late against Boston. It is a sharp dropoff from last season, when Visnovsky had 18 goals as part of a career-best 68-point season that led all NHL defensemen in scoring. The veteran blue-liner has just 27 points in 63 games. –D Cam Fowler got an assist on Sunday against Boston, giving him points in five of his last seven games. Fowler has taken over the team lead in defenseman scoring with 29 points as he has two goals and eight assists over his last 17 contests. –C Ryan Getzlaf got an assist against Boston to give him points in his last six games, which is one short of a season-high seven-game point streak he compiled from Nov. 16-30. Getzlaf has eight points during his current streak. –RW Teemu Selanne scored the 248th power-play goal of his career, which moved him into sole possession of fourth place on the NHL’s all-time list.
MEDICAL WATCH: –G Dan Ellis will be out for four-to-six weeks following sports hernia surgery on March 2 after having it detected when he saw a specialist in Los Angeles. The injury is on top of the torn groin muscle that he suffered during a Jan. 7 practice.