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November 3, 2008

Teemu Selanne

DAVID KEON: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm David Keon with the National Hockey League's public relations department and I'd like to welcome you to our call. Our guest today is Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne. Thanks to Teemu for taking the time to join us today and answer your questions, and thanks to Alex Gilchrist of the Ducks' public relations department for arranging the call.
Earlier today, Teemu, along with teammates Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, were named as the First Stars for last week after the three collected 28 points for the week as Anaheim recorded three wins and a shootout loss. Teemu notched 6 goals and 3 assists, bringing his season totals to 8 goals and 4 assists for 12 points in 13 games played.
He has pushed his all-time goal total to 560, good for a tie for 20th on the all-time goal list with Hall of Famer, Guy Lafleur. His current point total of 1170 ties him for 45th all-time with another Hall of Famer, Bobby Hull. He is the fourth highest scoring European player in league history, trailing Jari Kurri, Mats Sundin and Peter Stastny.
Thanks again to Teemu for joining us to answer your questions and we'll open it up now to questions.

Q. A lot of players have played a long time and don't get hat tricks. Why are you so successful at it? I think you've got more than Gordie Howe had in his career and you're two back of Jari Kurri. Will you feel badly if you get three hat tricks to pass him?
TEEMU SELANNE: That's good question. I don't know what's the secret. Obviously, especially when I was younger, when I got the first goal, I was so hungry to try to get another one. Usually when I got two, I know there's a good chance to get a third one.
When you get older, you're not so greedy anymore. But still it's always very special to get hat tricks. Even myself, I haven't got many hat tricks last five, six years. Maybe that's one reason.

Q. What about passing Jari Kurri?
TEEMU SELANNE: Obviously, you know, Jari was my hero and my idol when I was growing up. Any day when you can compare yourself to Jari Kurri or you hear the conversation, it's obviously big honor. You have to have some great things if you can be in the same company than Jari.

Q. Can you talk about what happened with this team, why the turnaround after an awful start.
TEEMU SELANNE: Well, I think we had a pretty good pre-season. Maybe we thought it's going to be a little too easy, or easier than what we thought. And then finally it was almost attitude like the joke is over right now, let's start playing, let's start working, and the good things happen. That road trip we had, we turned everything around. We started playing better, with a lot of confidence. Our special teams improved. You know when you do those things right, you're going to get some wins.

Q. Talk about tomorrow night's game against the Kings. It's always a war, right?
TEEMU SELANNE: Yeah, you know, it's always special against Kings, you know. Obviously they have a very young team. They have a lot of young, hungry players. They want to show and prove that they having good company. It's always tough to play against Kings. Same hand, it's always nice to have the rivalry we have between each other.

Q. You love those short road trips?
TEEMU SELANNE: Yeah, only 40 minutes.

Q. How good is Getzlaf right now?
TEEMU SELANNE: You know what, Getzlaf, he's unbelievable. I don't even know if he knows by himself how good he can be. I can't see any reason why he couldn't be the best player in this league. He has all the tools what you need. I think it's just a matter of time when he realize that he can do it.

Q. Halloween night was kind of scary. 26 shooters on the penalty shot line and only 3 goals. Does it make you think maybe a penalty shot isn't what it used to be when it happens during a game and you'd be better off having a two-minute power-play?
TEEMU SELANNE: You know, lots of times when you have a shootout, you have too much time. It's so much more harder than normal breakaway. Obviously, of course it's very exciting time, and I like shootouts.
But that was a weird night. I haven't seen 30 shooters per team is going to go and only 3 goals. Percentage is not very good for us.

Q. So you like the shootout? Do you think it should ever get to the playoffs?
TEEMU SELANNE: I don't think the playoffs, no. The regular season, I think it's good, entertaining. The fans like it. I like it. Even our record hasn't been very good over the years, but there's an excitement factor. I think it's good for the regular season, but not in the playoffs.

Q. It seems that you're taking it year by year now. How do you feel? Do you think you can keep going on more years?
TEEMU SELANNE: Yeah, that's good question. Obviously when you reach this age, you just want to think about one year at a time. Obviously, you know, when you get older, the hardest part of playing the NHL is the recovery time. When you were younger, it was pretty easy to get ready for that next game, and your energy level is normal. But when you get older, you have to be so much more smarter with the eating and resting and do the right things to get the energy level where it should be.
Obviously it's not easy. Even I signed two-year deal, I still try to look just one year at a time and go from there. Older you get, harder it gets.

Q. How important was it for you to enter this season with that new contract, the two-year contract, as compared to last year when you had to wait until January until you finally signed?
TEEMU SELANNE: Yeah, it was a little bit different situation. Last year at this time I thought I'm done. Obviously winning the Stanley Cup was something that got me so empty physically and mentally, too. I took long time when I realize I want to play again.
Last summer that wasn't the case. I knew I want to play. Obviously the salary cap issue with the Ducks, obviously I couldn't sign before. But I knew I want to play. That's why it was easier. You know, that's why I signed two-year deal because you never know what the salary cap's going to be. If I want to play next year, I don't have to worry about those things.

Q. What unique quality do you, Corey Perry and Getzlaf bring to the top line? How are you able to pull it all together?
TEEMU SELANNE: Well, obviously Corey and Ryan, they're both players that they have all the tools what you need to be a great hockey player. They can see the game very well. They can pass. They can shoot. Especially those two guys, they're so strong down below. They're really hungry to do some damage.
Obviously when you get open, you know that those guys going to find you. Same things when you have guys like Pronger and Niedermayer, it's going to make your game so much more easier. Obviously that's why I think the power-play has been pretty good lately.

Q. In the first eight games, the scoring just wasn't there. All of a sudden everything just seemed to click. What was the reason for that?
TEEMU SELANNE: Well, obviously the power-play improved a lot. I think we had pretty good pre-season. Honestly, I think we thought it's going to be a little too easier than what it really is. There's no easy games.
The secret with the Ducks is that we have to out work the opponent. That's the only chance we going to win some games. We realized that. We start working hard, get this thing rolling.
So far so good. But we still know that we can do even better.

Q. A lot of players that get to your age, the goals start dropping off. I know you had the knee problems. They fixed your knee. At this age usually the 40 goal-scorers are down to about 25, not 40. How have you been able to defy nature and still be able to score?
TEEMU SELANNE: Well, I think my speed is still there. Maybe I'm not fast as I was when I was 22. But I think the speed is still the key for me. I like to use that on my advantage.
You know, I still like the game and I'm very lucky that I'm always playing with great players, which really makes my game easier. But obviously you just have to love this game and play with a passion and hope that you can stay healthy. That's the bottom line.

Q. You didn't come over till you were 22. A lot of players in the league are starting at 18. Do you think you got shortchanged three or four years?
TEEMU SELANNE: I know for a fact when I was 18, I wasn't ready to come over. That wasn't even in my mind. Obviously the reason I stayed a little longer is '89, when I just turned 19, I broke my leg and I missed whole year. I just wanted to play one more extra year there and get the confidence level where it should be. For sure I was more ready mentally as a hockey player when I came over of age 22.

Q. Your tied with Guy Lafleur in goals and Bobby Hull in points. Illustrious players.
TEEMU SELANNE: You know what, it's amazing to hear that. Obviously when I was real young player, somebody would tell me this gonna happen, I would say, You guys are crazy. Obviously a lot of great things has happened. I'm very thankful for that.
DAVID KEON: Thanks very much, Teemu, for your time today.

End of FastScripts

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