It took him 43 years, but Teemu Selanne has finally accepted some limitations.
The Ducks winger told NHL.com he’s come to grips with taking games off for maintenance and to stay fresh — something he hasn’t been comfortable with in seasons past.
“Last year it was something new to me and I didn’t really want to sit out for the game,” Selanne explained. “But I realized after that it’s going to be really good for me.
“Down the road, I think [he and head coach Bruce Boudreau] can both sit down and see when the schedule is really hectic, I can take some nights off.”
After a red-hot start to the shortened 2013 campaign, Selanne slowed down the stretch and saw a decrease in playing time. He received less than 13 minutes in four different games in late March/early April and averaged just 14 in the playoffs, a full minute less than Daniel Winnik received.
Selanne’s shift in opinion also has to do with Olympic participation. He’s hoping to represent Finland in Sochi next year and knows that, once he returns from the games, he’ll need to focus on rest.
“It’s going to be better for me,” he explained. “There are going to be nights when I’m going to say or he [Boudreau] is going to say, ‘It would be best for us.’
“We’ve got to be smart.”
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.