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Ducks' Teemu Selanne to return for one last season

The 43-year-old veteran right wing announces via a YouTube video that he will play the 2013-14 season for Anaheim but that it will be his last in the NHL.

August 30, 2013|By Lance Pugmire

Teemu Selanne decided to return and retire Friday, the Ducks' 43-year-old legend announcing in a humorous video that he'll play the 2013-14 season, his last as an NHL player.

"I'm very happy, very excited," Selanne said after spending another summer in his native Finland mulling the decision. "Obviously, we have a good team. We have all the tools to go all the way."

The defending Pacific Division-champion Ducks will pay Selanne $2 million, a cut from his $4.5-million salary last season, according to a hockey official unauthorized to speak publicly about financial information.

Selanne's announcement was released by the Ducks in a YouTube video filmed at Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club.

In a script written by Selanne, the 90-second video shows him frustratingly taking hacks on the golf course, striking a drive through a window, hitting a ball into the woods, struggling to hit out of a sand trap and finally slicing a shot into a lake.

Frustrated, he tosses his club into the same body of water, then throws his entire bag of clubs into the lake before realizing his cellphone is in the bag. He enters the water to retrieve the phone and places a call.

"Hi Bob, it's Teemu," Selanne says, apparently to Ducks General Manager Bob Murray. "I'm coming back. Yeah, this is it, this is my final one."

Murray indicated after last season that the decision was entirely Selanne's, and said in a statement Friday, "He clearly still has the passion for the game. ... We are so pleased that Teemu will end his career where he belongs."

Selanne met with Murray and Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau this month, and said he never felt he'd crossed a threshold to choose retirement now.

His age appeared to be an issue last season when he went nine consecutive games in March without a goal, saw his minutes shrink in five consecutive games in April, and was given a game off late in the month. He played a bit tired as the season closed.

"I never had that feeling" of wanting to retire, said Selanne, who had 12 goals and 12 assists in last season's lockout-shortened campaign. "I've been able to enjoy the game so much, even the tough days and nights I enjoyed.

"I knew it was going to end somewhere, so I decided to make it after this season."

Selanne said he also will pursue a sixth Olympics — playing for Finland in the Sochi Winter Games — and noted, "I would've probably played anyway, but the Olympics make it more complete."

When the Ducks were upset by the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, it left a bitter taste for the veteran.

"If we had gone to the finals, it'd be different," Selanne said. "I felt like everyone else: that there's unfinished business. We have so many good things going on. We know we can do better. That's the main reason I'm here. If it was a bad team, it'd be an easy choice. I felt we can do better."

Selanne, who's played 14 of his 21 seasons with the Ducks, said a recent conversation with Boudreau sealed the decision.

"He's actually expecting a lot from me," Selanne said. "That was the final thing I wanted to hear."

Selanne said he expects to sit out some of the 82-game season at his or Boudreau's discretion.

"That'd be smart," Selanne said. "There's going to be a lot of depth on this team."

Twitter: @latimespugmire

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