If Teemu Selanne doesn’t play in 2010-11, the Ducks are prepared to go forward with a “Plan B.”
That plan may be closer to reality than it was a week ago. General manager Bob Murray said he spoke with Selanne three days ago and the 41-year-old has hit a snag in his recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery in June.
“He’s been struggling a bit,” Murray said. “I think he was getting depressed with the whole thing. Last week I think he had a few days where it wasn’t bugging him. I think he intends to go hard this week with the bigger boys in Helsinki. We are scheduled to speak after this week is over.”
Murray said he won’t hang a timeframe on Selanne, who recently told a Finnish newspaper that he won’t decide whether to retire or re-sign until September at the earliest. The Ducks took the same approach in 2007 when the right wing contemplated retirement, ultimately waiting until December-more than two months into the regular season – for Selanne to return.
“Teemu has always expressed he wanted to play tennis, play golf, after his playing days,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “If his body is telling him it’s time to stop playing, he’ll stop playing.”
Added Murray, “I want him to be healthy.”
If Selanne isn’t healthy, Murray said, “we’d have to look at building the team a different way without Teemu. You don’t replace him. So you go about it in a different way without Teemu.”
The general manager declined to say how exactly he would re-tool the roster, but the mere thought invites some intriguing — if not desirable –possibilities. Would Murray try to swing a trade for a top-six right winger? If so, would he be willing to sacrifice a player on the current roster? Or would he turn to a thin talent pool of free agents?
“I think we’ve always lived – since I guess ’06 or ’07, the 07-08 season – we’ve always lived with the possibility of Teemu not playing for our hockey club,” Carlyle said. “As a coaching staff and management, we want him to play, but there is a time when he’s not going to play. His body is going to tell him if he’s going to play.
Murray had a more positive update on Jonas Hiller in the goalie’s comeback from the vertigo symptoms that ended his season: “He feels great ever since that week. He feels good about himself. I think Jonas is in a good place.”