San Jose Sharks v Anaheim Ducks

Selanne continues to contemplate retirement; channeling his inner-Brett Favre?


Another offseason and another Teemu Selanne watch. Will he come back for one more go-around with the boys? Will he step away from the NHL and take his rightful place in the Hall of Fame three years from now? These are the questions that hockey fans around North America have been able to look forward to every summer for the last few years. There’s the NHL Awards, the draft, free agency, and then the Selanne retirement watch. At least there’s a predictable routine to rely upon.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that this will be Selanne’s decision to make—GM Bob Murray and Ducks have publically stated they’d be happy to have him back. Last season the star right winger played on a one-year deal that had a $4.5 million cap hit. If he were to return for another tour of duty, it’s fair to expect a similar deal for the 2011-12 season. The Ducks have plenty of space both under the salary cap and on their roster for Selanne as well. If he were to retire, the Ducks would have two spots to fill for their opening night roster with either prospects or minor free agent acquisitions. Life would certainly be easier if they could pencil Selanne and his 30 goals into the 2nd line.

Selanne has silenced the critics over the last few years and has proven he still has plenty left in the tank. He had a few hiccups during the four seasons he spent in San Jose and Colorado before the lockout, but ever since he returned to Anaheim he’s returned to form. In the six season since he’s returned, he has 389 points in 380 games played. Not bad considering he started that run of points at the youthful age of 35.

But there are some who think that Selanne needs to stop wasting time and make a decision. As 41-year-old contemplates retirement, Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register went as far as to drop the F-word: Favre.

“When I left for vacation July 4, I figured Selanne would make his intentions known by the time I returned. But here we are. I’m back and we still don’t know if Selanne will be.

I understand he had work done on his knee, clouding a situation that had been unclear for months. But, come on, Teemu. We’re waiting. We’re hoping. We’re dying.”

Nevermind he’s recovering from offseason knee-surgery.  After giving 637 goals, 703 assists, 1,340 points in 1,259 games, most people would agree that the man has earned the right to contemplate his future. Statistically speaking, here’s what Selanne has meant to the franchise:

Anaheim Ducks franchise records held:

– Goals, career (410)
– Goals, season (52)

­ – Assists, career (416)

­ – Points, career (826)

­ – Points, season (109)

­ – Power play goals, career (163)

­ – Power play goals, season (25)

­ – Power play points, career (367)

­ – Power play points, season (54)

­ – Games played (774)

­ – Plus/Minus, career (+123)

Let the man take as long as he wants. Either way, there will be a spot for him Anaheim. If he comes back for another season, it’ll be on the ice and on the power play unit. If he chooses to retire, there will be a spot for him at his jersey retirement ceremony as soon as possible.

After 20-game absence, Elias to make season debut for Devils

Patrik Elias
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It took a while, but Patrik Elias‘ campaign is ready to get underway.

Elias, who’s yet to play this year because of a knee injury, says he’ll be in the New Jersey lineup tonight when the Devils host the Blue Jackets at Prudential (per The Record).

The 39-year-old’s presence should provide an emotional lift in front of the home crowd.

A lifelong Devil — only Ken Daneyko and Martin Brodeur have appeared in more games — fans may be witnessing Elias’ last year in uniform. It’s fair to suggest he could be on the verge of retirement, given he’s in the last of a three-year, $16.5 million deal and will turn 40 in April.

As for tonight, it’s not yet official who Elias will play with — or how much he’ll play. He did take line rushes with Jacob Josefson and Stefan Matteau at Tuesday’s practice.

After three-game absence, Johnson back for Bolts this week

Carl Gunnarsson, Tyler Johnson
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The Lightning have a busy stretch of the schedule coming up, with three games in the next four nights.

And it sounds like they’ll get a big lineup reinforcement to help them through it.

Per LA Kings Insider — the Kings are in Tampa tonight — Bolts head coach Jon Cooper confirmed that Tyler Johnson will be back in the lineup “at some point” this week, after missing the last three games with an upper-body injury.

Johnson has been out of the lineup since taking a Dave Bolland hit on Nov. 14. The timing of the injury was lousy, especially since Johnson looked to be rounding into form — after a rough October in which he failed to score a goal and had just five points in 12 games, Johnson was playing well in November, with three goals and five points in his first six games.

There’s no denying the Bolts could use Johnson back in the mix.

The club has been ravaged by injury lately and is currently without the services of Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and Cedric Paquette at forward.

The injuries are a big reason why Tampa is off to a mediocre 10-9-3 start. That said, the team has looked good in each of its last two games — a 2-1 win over the Rangers in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Final, followed by a 5-0 blowout of the Ducks on Saturday.

As for when Johnson might get back in? The Bolts play tonight at home against L.A., on Friday in Washington, then back at home on Saturday against the Islanders.

Will the Bruins re-sign Loui Eriksson?

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Loui Eriksson, one of the key pieces Boston acquired in the Tyler Seguin trade, is in the last of his six-year, $25.5 million deal and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

And, at least for now, there doesn’t appear to be much certainty about his future as a Bruin.

“I’ll never, ever comment publicly in regard to individual players and negotiations and such,” B’s GM Don Sweeney told the Boston Herald this week. “Whether (comments) come out from the other side or wherever, they’re not going to come from me.

“He’s a big part of our team and he’s off to a really good start.”

Eriksson is certainly off to a good start — nine goals and 18 points in 20 games, his highest points-per-game average (.90) since coming to Boston, and the second-highest of his career.

He’s also playing nearly 20 minutes per night, enjoying great chemistry playing alongside David Krejci and, after an injury-riddled first year as a Bruin followed by last year’s playoff miss, seems to have really found his groove.

So why the silence on the extension front?

Two weeks ago, Eriksson told the Globe his agent, J.P. Barry, hasn’t had any discussions with Sweeney about re-signing in Boston.

“There’s not much you can really do about it now,” the 30-year-old Swede explained. “I’m trying to focus on playing good and trying to help this team as much as possible. Then we’ll see what happens after this year.”

Obviously, money is a factor.

Looking ahead, Boston’s current cap crunch doesn’t project to get much lighter. The club already has $61 million in salary committed for next season (per War On Ice), and Sweeney has to be mindful of other important contracts on the horizon.

Torey Krug is a restricted free agent at year’s end, and in line for a raise on the $3.4 million he made this season. Brad Marchand will be a UFA following the ’16-17 campaign.

And you’d think Sweeney would want to keep money free to eventually sort out Boston’s defense. The blueline has been an issue this season; it’s also getting old and will likely need an injection of new blood in the near future.

There’s also the question if, should he head to free agency, Eriksson couldn’t be replaced internally. The B’s are flush with young wingers — Jimmy Hayes, Brett Connolly, Seth Griffith, David Pastrnak, Frank Vatrano and Alexander Khokhlachev are all 26 or under — which could make Eriksson expendable.

PHT Morning Skate: There’s a third Strome brother on the horizon

Ryan Strome, Johnny Boychuk
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Matthew Strome — the younger brother of the Isles’ Ryan and the Coyotes’ Dylan — is making waves as a 16-year-old rookie with OHL Hamilton. (

Vern Fiddler caught country legend George Straight’s hat at a concert this summer. He’s apparently received big money offers for the lid, but isn’t willing to sell. (Ottawa Sun)

Is Anders Nilsson the Oilers’ No. 1 goalie? (Edmonton Journal)

Good piece here on Max Pacioretty‘s captaincy in Montreal. (New York Times)

Some appreciation for gritty Leafs forward Leo Komarov. (Toronto Sun)

According to this piece, GM Marc Bergevin has been the Habs’ MVP this season. (Montreal Gazette)