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June 6, 2007

Teemu Selanne



Q. Is the experience everything you thought it was going to be?
TEEMU SELANNE: Absolutely. Obviously, we have to wait a long time for something unbelievable. And it really makes it even more special. And I can't imagine to have getting the win in our own home building. I'm so proud of my teammates. We've been like brothers. And we have had one dream together, and that's why it's so special.

Q. On the way down here, a lot of security guards were slapping you on the back saying how proud they were of you. Did you ever feel how many people were pulling for you to finally win this?
TEEMU SELANNE: Not really. I've been here a long time. And I've played so many games for this dream, and there has been times I didn't know if it was ever going to happen, especially there were tough times with my knee and everything. But last two years have been by far the part of my life. And I enjoy it every day. So that's why this is so special for me, and there's so many people I should thank and I'm so thankful to make this happen.
And it's a dream come true.

Q. Semi tongue in cheek, did you mind not going second? Did you mind not getting the Cup second?
TEEMU SELANNE: No, I wanted to wait. Obviously, the captains, they do that first, what a great feeling to hold that Cup in my arms. It was heavier than I thought. I've been waiting and dreaming about that moment for so many times and years and finally it's in my hands. It's an unbelievable feeling.

Q. What was going through your mind as you lifted the Cup up for the first time?
TEEMU SELANNE: I was just like I couldn't believe it, it's going to happen. And so much hard work, so many years to dream about that moment. So I don't know what to say. It was so emotionnal and, obviously, I was so happy that my parents were here, my brothers, my friends, and there's so many people who deserve this as much as I do. So it was very special.

Q. Back and forth, you would come back; what was it like being involved in a game, series like this where everything seems so close?
TEEMU SELANNE: It was quite a weird game. And, obviously, there were some moments we were struggling big time, but somehow we got the goal. The next one, the next one. And we have three goal lead, I start believing, now we can't blow this away anymore. Obviously, all that really matters is we won.
Like I said, I'm so proud of my teammates and the coaching staff and the trainers and organization, owners, I think this is a big boost for hockey in California and this community. We did it.

Q. Would it have haunted you in your career to end your career without a Cup?
TEEMU SELANNE: Now, it's really hard to imagine it. Because, obviously, I've had a lot of success individually, but I don't really know how much that means. And, obviously, I've been trying to do whatever I can do to help the team that I have played for.
But this is a very tough league to win in. I've been so close to winning an Olympic gold medal, and World Championship gold medal, and it's never happened. I'm so happy that I finally won something; that was the biggest trophy for a hockey player, and that's why this is so special.

Q. When you had the knee and before that the achilles tendon, especially the knee in Colorado, things weren't going well. How far away did this seem?
TEEMU SELANNE: For almost two years, when my knee was so bad, I couldn't even enjoy hockey anymore. Winning this Cup, it didn't even come in my mind. I thought it was so far away. And after my knee surgery, when I finally realized that my knee is going to be 100 percent, and I can play like I played my first ten years, it was an unbelievable feeling. It's almost a feeling that somebody got glasses, when you can't see very well, then all of a sudden, you can see the world so bright.
And I knew that there's a chance again and, ,obviously I'm very happy and thankful that Brian Burke gave me a chance to come back here. Because this is the happy place for me and he built a winning team here and everything. I'm so thankful for this organization.

Q. I know you haven't had a chance to think about it or reflect on it, but right at this minute, the level you're playing on, would you anticipate playing next year?
TEEMU SELANNE: Well, last two years have been best time of my life, and I think I played pretty much overall best hockey in my career, too. So I've always said that I tried to keep playing as long as I feel the same passion and motivation and dedication that I've had the last couple of years.
On the other hand I've always dreamed about retiring in the top. And I don't know if you can go more top than this. But I decided before the season that emotionally you're going to have some high and low points and I didn't want to make any decision before I'm stable and I have the time to think about the future. Because so much hard work and dedication that I've done the last two years, summertime and every day, if I don't have the same desire and passion and motivation in the future, there's no reason to play this game. It's too hard.
So there's some big decisions coming. But now it's time to play.

Q. The day you realized you couldn't be 100 percent again, was it a practice? Was it a game? Do you remember vividly? Let's talk about that?
TEEMU SELANNE: It was just unbelievable feeling to skate pain-free again. I got all my strength back and the speed and everything. And the passion of the game back. The fun. I was smiling driving to the rink.
I was missing that a couple years and it was very tough time for me. And so that's why it's so special feeling, because I have been some low points in my career, too. But right now like I said it's a dream come true.

Q. Having played a good part of your career in California, San Jose and here, how significant might it be for hockey in this part of the country, you guys to have won the Cup?
TEEMU SELANNE: Obviously, the hockey has gained huge support in this area and I believe this gave a big boost for hockey in California. That's unbelievable. Junior Ducks' program, my kids all play there, and they've done a great job the last couple of years and I think this can really boost hockey here even more, and in the future, you're going to see more and more great hockey players coming from this area. I think we've done a very important job.

Q. You've often called this your happy place for the last few years, why is that? You came from Winnipeg and the franchise wasn't very good, then why do you think it fits you so well?
TEEMU SELANNE: Well, obviously, you know, there's so many things. My family is so happy here. This is the place that obviously the sun and warm place, doesn't hurt. And this organization has been so good for me.
And I have had so many great times and memories here in the past. My first trip here, too. A team to compete at this level. After my knee surgery after I knew I was going to be 100 percent I wanted to make sure that I would go to a place where I'll be happy no matter what happens. And this was the place. And obviously the privacy what you can get here it's a big factor, too.
Because obviously you want to raise your family and your kids in a place that you can be yourself and you don't have to worry about the fans and people too aggressive and everything.
So there's so many reasons why this place has been a happy place.

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