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December 13, 2011

Teemu Selanne

DAVID KEON:  Good afternoon, everyone.  I'd like to welcome you to today's call.  With us we have Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne.  Thanks to Teemu for taking the time to join us and answer your questions.
This coming Saturday, Teemu will be in Winnipeg to play against the Jets, the first time in almost 16 years where he'll take the ice in the city where he broke into the National Hockey League in 1992‑93 by scoring 76 goals and 132 points, both rookie records which still stand, and he won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.
He last played Winnipeg February 4, 1996 when the Jets hosted the Vancouver Canucks, three days later he was traded to Anaheim where he's gone on to become the franchise leader in games at 803, goals with 409, assists of 481, and points 900.
In his 19th NHL season, the Helsinki, Finland native leads the Ducks with nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points in 29 games.
We thank Teemu for taking the time to join us and answer your questions.

Q.  In the relative size of your career, your time in Winnipeg was a minority of that time.  Can you tell me why that time here mattered so much to you?
TEEMU SELANNE:  Well, obviously that was my first NHL team, and obviously starting there, I always said that the hockey is just such a big thing and all the fans and the whole city makes the players feel so special.  It's a dream come true to start your career in Canada, and obviously all the memories that I have there is just so, so awesome.

Q.  Quick question about the Ducks this season.  You still have a great array of talent, but it's been a struggle to get wins.  What do you think has happened to this squad this year?
TEEMU SELANNE:  That's a good question.  We have almost tried everything.  There's a lot of nights that there's a lot of things missing.  Obviously, the confidence is the biggest issue right now.  I think we can all do it, but for some reason our team is so fragile right now.  One bad mistake, and it seems to me that every time it's in our own net.  We can't even get any breaks.
We still believe that we have a good team here, and we can turn this around.  But it has been tough for us so far, but it's a big challenge for us right now to turn this around and go in the right direction.

Q.  What went through your mind when you got the phone call in Winnipeg that you were traded?  Were you thinking, are you kidding me, or did you think, oh, well, I heard my name out there and, yeah, I was getting traded?
TEEMU SELANNE:  You know what, I was shocked.  What happened two weeks before that the new Winnipeg owners called me on the road and there were some rumors before that they might trade one of us three, Zhamnov or Keith Tkachuk or myself.  And the owner called me two weeks before and said, Don't worry about those rumors.  Just play hockey and you'll be a big part of our future down in Phoenix.
That's why I didn't really expect to get traded, but I remember that phone call.  It was tough, especially your first trade it's really hard because you almost feel that you have failed.
But a couple days later I realized this is going to be a great new opportunity for myself, and it has been a great road down here too.

Q.  When Bobby Ryan's name came up as a possibility in the trade, did you step back and say Winnipeg traded me when I was an awfully good player, and years later they didn't really get much of a return for me?  All that talk of Bobby Ryan getting traded, that should be silly too?
TEEMU SELANNE:  A little bit.  Obviously, when the team is struggling, there are all kinds of rumors of what's going to happen.  Obviously, this time so far the coaches paid the price, and it was not really their fault.
Even I heard rumors about Bob.  I hope he's not going anywhere.  He's an unbelievable hockey player, and we know how important he can be for this franchise.  I think right now we're very appreciative that Bob Murray has been so patient with this thing and not to do anything more than that.
Still as a player, we know that we have responsibilities, and if we can't do it, there is something that can happen.  So the pressure is for sure on our side.

Q.  I was going to ask you about the trade, but I think you've already answered that.  Though I know it stung at the time, how long did it take you to sort of put it into perspective?
TEEMU SELANNE:  Obviously, the first couple days I was just totally shocked about what happened.  But then when you start learning the business a little bit more and how this works, and how excited I am with the new franchise.  They really wanted me here.  You almost want to move on as soon as possible.
Especially coming from Finland, we don't have that culture there that you're going to be traded.  There are a lot of guys that play their whole careers on the same team.  So it was kind of a weird business to realize that there's no feelings.  You can get traded any time, and there's no control with that.
That was a big adjustment here.  Obviously, when you get older and you know the business a little better, you can accept it a little better.  But when you're young and you get traded, it's really, really tough.

Q.  I was talking to Bruce Boudreau who was talking about how when he went to Washington there were players there that he knew because he coached them in the minor leagues and it's different in Anaheim.  You've got to introduce a lot of new things and new philosophies in his tactics.  How have the first two weeks under Boudreau been?  And especially the last two days where you finally got good practice time in with a little break in the schedule?
TEEMU SELANNE:  Yeah, obviously, it was not an easy situation to come in, especially from a different conference.  Like I said, you didn't know a lot of players here before.  But he's done a great job.  He's a really positive guy, and obviously, we'll be watching a lot of videos, and there are a lot of things that he wants to bring this hockey club systemwise.
Everything takes a little time to dial in. That's why we've all been patient and watching a lot of videos, lot of teaching.  So far, so good.  We know we can be a good hockey team again.  So I can't wait to turn this around and start winning games and enjoying the game.
I know that Bruce and our coaching staff are excited about the situation.  It's a big chance for everybody right now to find a way to turn this around because it has been a tough road.

Q.  Has he been‑‑ you mentioned him being a positive guy and very optimistic guy.  Has he been constantly reminding you of the success you can have and have had in this league as a team, and how it can happen again and you can get back to it?  Is that one of the messages that he's been hammering in?
TEEMU SELANNE:  Absolutely.  I think if you look at our lineup, we still like what we have.  I think we have all the tools here.  Right now it's just to believe and do the things right and learn a new system and stick with that and stick with our game plans.
Just you always try to remind that hard work always pays off.  Like I said, it's going to be a challenge for us.  But we're in the same boat, and we really want to go forward and start playing well.

Q.  I wanted to ask what it's going to be like for you coming back here on Saturday?
TEEMU SELANNE:  I'm very excited.  It's funny.  Right when the season came in the public we knew the schedule, I marked that day on my calendar.  Even I didn't know if I could play still this year.  So obviously I knew it was going to be very special to have a chance to come back there and play.
But I don't really know what to expect.  It's a long time when I played there last time.  But all the memories that I have, I'm very excited.  I heard that that building is rocking, and the people, the fans are so excited about their team and the whole situation there.  It's going to be a very special day there, and I can't wait.

Q.  Yeah, they booed Shane Doan when he was here.
TEEMU SELANNE:  That's funny.  Hopefully they're not going to boo for me.

Q.  I was talking to some people in Winnipeg, and they were saying that they gave up other tickets just so they could go to this game and be there when you return.  It seems like it's been a long time since you played there, but there still seems to be such a strong connection between the fans there and you.  Why do you think that is?  Do you keep in touch with anybody that you knew from your days in Winnipeg?
TEEMU SELANNE:  Yeah, I actually still have a lot of friends there.  I keep in touch with them all the time.  I think pretty much every place I've played I've always had a special relationship with the fans.
Winnipeg was really, really special.  Like I said earlier, the people, the reason their plates and cars have "Friendly Manitoba," because it's a really friendly city and unbelievable fans.  It was a great four and a half years there.
Obviously, when I got traded, I really didn't have a chance to say goodbye to the people and the city because on the next day I'm gone.  So it's pretty tough when you get traded.  Everything's rushing and you're going to be gone the next day.  So that's why I'm really looking forward to going back there.
Obviously, I know there are still a lot of fans, but it's funny, when I go to visit their teams buildings, there are a lot of Winnipeg Jets 13 jerseys still there, so that makes me feel really good.

Q.  If last year you weren't sure whether you'd be back for this year, what are you seeing for next year?
TEEMU SELANNE:  It has been working great that I don't say anything during the season.  Like the last five years I've been thinking this has to be my last year, and that's the way I'm going to think this year also and see how I feel and everything.
But we all know it's going to get harder and harder.  I don't know how long my knee's going to hold up also.  This year I still felt that I want to play, and I still enjoy the game so much.  We have been struggling so badly.  But the passion and the fun for the game, that is the only reason I'm still playing.
Obviously, I have to worry about my enjoyment and everything after the season to see how much fun it was, and if I'm ready to push it again.  But right now I still feel this is it, and go from there.

Q.  What role will winning or losing have on your decision, do you think?
TEEMU SELANNE:  Obviously, a little bit.  I still think we have a really good team here.  Even the standings doesn't show that right now.  But I've been very lucky lately that the last five or six years I've played with a very good team and really with great players.  So that is the biggest reason I'm still playing.  Obviously when you go through some tough times like we are right now, it's not so much fun than when you're playing well and winning.
After the season, I have to be honest and see how much I enjoyed.  Then I'll know more what I'm going to do.

Q.  Just wondering this summer when you were still a free agent, how far talks went with the Jets about possibly returning here?
TEEMU SELANNE:  Winnipeg called my agent and asked if they can even make an offer, but I told Don Baizley, my agent, earlier that the biggest question is right now if I can play, not where I'm going to play.  I have been here such a long time in Anaheim, and I've been so happy with this franchise and this team, I don't think I can leave anymore from here.  But I was very honored that they called, but it's too late to move.

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