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

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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.

Five team stats you may find interesting

St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen is slow to get up after giving up a goal to Washington Capitals' T.J. Oshie during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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27.5 — Shots per game for the St. Louis Blues. Only one team, New Jersey (27.3), is averaging fewer. So while it’s true that goaltending has been their major issue, it’s also true that in the eight games since the Winter Classic, the Blues have averaged just 22.9 shots, and that’s not very many at all. Perhaps it’s related to the goaltending — i.e. they could be playing more conservatively in order to protect Jake Allen and Carter Hutton. But coach Ken Hitchcock said recently that Vladimir Tarasenko “is getting checked to death, and other people are responsible for creating the space for him. He’s trying to play against four guys right now. We need more participants in order to help him.” So it’s not all on the goalies. In his last six games, Tarasenko has no goals and just nine shots total.

58 — Goals scored by the Washington Capitals since Christmas. That’s an average of 4.5 per game. Only the Rangers (4.4) and Penguins (4.0) are averaging four goals or more in that time frame. Since Christmas, the Caps have been led in scoring by Alex Ovechkin (17 points); however, the resurgence of Evgeny Kuznetsov (15 points) has also been key. Kuznetsov only had 17 points in his first 32 games. He’s up to 32 in 45 now.

73.8% — The Buffalo Sabres’ penalty killing, which has been terrible. In fact, the Sabres are on pace to have the NHL’s worst PK of the salary-cap era:

pk

3 — Power-play goals for the Blue Jackets in their last eight games. In a related story, the Jackets are 3-5-0 in those eight games. “There’s gonna be times where it just doesn’t feel like it’s going in,” said captain Nick Foligno after last night’s 2-0 loss in Ottawa. Columbus went 0-for-3 with the man advantage against the Sens, who got a 42-save shutout from Mike Condon. The Jackets still have the NHL’s best power play (24.6%), but the Maple Leafs (24.1%) are catching up. The Leafs have scored 12 PP goals in their last 10 games.

14 — Games the Colorado Avalanche have lost by three goals or more, the most in the league. Just how bad are the Avs? Well, they’re 30th in goals for and 30th in goals against. And if they keep up their pace, they’ll be the worst team of the salary-cap era:

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Leafs claim Griffith off waivers… again

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 29:  Seth Griffith #24 of the Florida Panthers takes a shot on Al Montoya #35 of the Montreal Canadiens during a game  at BB&T Center on December 29, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Seth “suitcase” Griffith is off to join another team — a team he’s joined once already this season.

On Friday, the Leafs announced they’ve claimed Griffith off waivers, just two months after exposing him on the wire and losing him to Florida.

Toronto had originally acquired Griffith off — yup, you guessed it, waivers! — when the B’s cut him loose just prior to the start of the regular season.

The 23-year-old, who played under Leafs assistant GM Mark Hunter in OHL London, appeared in three games for Toronto this season, going pointless. Griffith had a bigger role in Florida — notching five assists in 21 games — but suffered a concussion earlier this month and, after recovering, was a healthy scratch for three straight games.

Per multiple sources, the Leafs are sending Griffith straight to their AHL affiliate, the Marlies.

 

 

After Allen’s horrific night, Blues call up a goalie

Jake Allen
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A new twist in the St. Louis goaltending drama on Friday — after a disastrous home loss against Washington, the Blues have recalled Pheonix Copley from AHL Chicago.

Copley, 25, was one of the players acquired in the T.J. Oshie-to-Washington trade. He’s played well this season, sitting 10th in the AHL in wins (11) and ninth in both GAA (2.32) and save percentage (.920).

To date, Copley has played in one NHL contest, coming on in relief of Jake Allen in a loss to Nashville last February.

Speaking of Allen…

We’ve written plenty about his struggles this year (see here, here, here and here), and things hit rock bottom on Thursday. Allen was hooked by Ken Hitchcock after allowing two goals on three shots to start the game, but was sent back in just a few minute later — a classic Hitchcockian move, designed to give his goalie an in-game reset.

But it didn’t work.

Hitch was forced to hook Allen for good in the second period, after the Caps scored for the fourth time — on just 10 shots.

Afterward, Hitchcock admitted his No. 1 netminder is a mess.

“There’s a lot going on right now. … He’s kind of locked up mentally and he’s going to have to fight through this,” Hitchock said, per Lou Korac of NHL.com. “What we see at practice, we like. That’s why we put him in quite frankly.”

To their credit, the Blues have tried to shake things up, like parking Allen and going with backup Carter Hutton.

Hutton has fared well in small stretches but, this week, he was given a chance to start three games in a row and bombed in the third, allowing five goals in just 23 shots in a loss to Ottawa.

So, enter Copley. It’s asking a lot of him to try and turn things around but, at this point, the Blues are desperate and have to try something.

Anything, really.

B’s get Beleskey back from 23-game absence

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 20:  Matt Beleskey #39 of the Boston Bruins takes a shot against New Jersey Devils  during the third period at TD Garden on October 20, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Devils 2-1.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Bruins have lost three of their last four, and are looking for a spark heading into tonight’s game against Chicago.

They’re hoping Matt Beleskey can provide it.

Beleskey, who’s been out since Dec. 3 with a knee injury, will play for the first time in 23 games this evening as the B’s host the ‘Hawks at TD Garden.

Beleskey suffered his injury in a game against Buffalo, in which he played less than six minutes before exiting for good. He’s been sidelined ever since, and will now draw back in what appears to be an energy role, alongside Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik.

The 28-year-old is no doubt ready to get his year on track. Beleskey had struggled prior to getting hurt — he had just two goals and five points through 24 games, and was made a healthy scratch back in early November.