Selanne sidesteps Red Wings trade rumors

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Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press caught up with Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne prior to tonight’s Ducks-Red Wings game to discuss, among other things, speculation of him moving to a contender prior to the NHL trade deadline.

One of the contenders that’s come up in speculation?

The Detroit Red Wings!

There are a few reasons Detroit has emerged as a potential destination for the 41-year-old:

— Red Wings forward and fellow Finn Valtteri Filppula is a good friend (okay, Selanne is kind of his idol.) The two were Olympic teammates in Vancouver and with Filppula in the midst of a career year, the pair could potentially play on a line together.

“I’m not surprised about Val, because I know how good a player he is and can be,” Selanne said. “I think it’s great. I’ve been waiting a long time to see him play like this.”

So, would Selanne like to have Filppula as a linemate?

“We have good chemistry, let’s put it that way,” Selanne said, smiling. “But I try to avoid that question, because the only main focus is on here.”

— Detroit has often been a landing pad for veteran players: Mike Modano, Ruslan Salei, Brad May, Dominik Hasek and Dallas Drake were just a few of the over-35 set that caught on with the Wings at the tail end of their careers. (Drake and Hasek both won Stanley Cups in Detroit.)

— GM Ken Holland has a history of swinging big at the deadline, acquiring the likes of Todd Bertuzzi, Mathieu Schneider, Brad Stuart, Robert Lang and Chris Chelios.

All that said, Selanne swears his focus is solely on the task at hand — getting Anaheim into the playoffs.

“We don’t go that far,” he said. “[This trip] is so important for everybody right now and we know the urgency, what we have to do. But that’s the only focus we have right now. Everything else is stuff to put aside and forget from now on.”