Penguins Notebook: Ducks' Selanne, 40, remains mighty force
November 6, 2010 4:15 AM
Lori Shepler/Associated Press
Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne brings the puck up the ice against the Penguins Friday night.
By Shelly Anderson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It's a little like asking a centenarian the secret to his longevity.
"I got a couple days off Sunday and Monday. That was huge for me," Anaheim right winger Teemu Selanne said leading up to his team's game late Friday night against the Penguins.
"I think the key thing is when you feel energized and you feel fresh, you play better."
It might seem like Selanne has been playing in the NHL for a hundred years. Actually, it has been since 1992, and that was after five pro years in his native Finland.
He is 40 now, and, although he has wrestled with the idea of retiring, he shows no signs of slowing in a league that more and more has featured rising young stars since the league resumed play following the 2004-05 lockout.
Selanne entered the game against the Penguins leading the Ducks in goals with eight and second in points (14).
Probable goaltenders: Brent Johnson for Penguins. Ilya Bryzgalov for Coyotes.
Penguins: Are 1-0 in second half of back-to-back scenarios. ... Mike Comrie has 12 points in 14 career games vs. Phoenix, Chris Kunitz 20 points in 28 career games. ... Before Friday night, ranked among lowest in power play on road (8.8 percent) and among best in penalty-killing on road (90.9 percent).
Coyotes: Are 1-3-2 vs. Eastern Conference. ... Forwards Shane Doan, Ray Whitney and Wojtek Wolski had no goals before last night. ... Rank among lowest in power play at home (13.3 percent) and among best in penalty-killing at home (87.5 percent).
Of note: Both teams will be playing their third game in four nights.
"Teemu has been a pretty consistent player since the lockout," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "I think the biggest thing with him is, when the lockout took place, he reconstructed his knee, and, when he came back, he was in better shape then and has been able to maintain that.
"He still loves to play the game. He still loves to score goals. When he's scoring goals, that's his happy place. We just try to find him as many happy places as we possibly can."
Friday night, Selanne appeared in his 1,200th NHL game. He is the 87th player to do so, the 10th European behind Nicklas Lidstrom (1,422), Teppo Numminen (1,372), Mats Sundin (1,346), Bobby Holik (1,314), Jaromir Jagr (1,273), Jari Kurri (1,251), Sergei Fedorov (1,248), Roman Hamrlik (1,242) and Alexei Kovalev (1,241).
He became one of seven active players to reach 1,200.
"He's drinking from the fountain of youth somewhere along the line," Carlyle said.
"He's a fan favorite here, and he's the face of our franchise. It's just amazing to watch a 40-year-old get a step on somebody and they can't catch him."
Selanne has been playing with a couple of other veterans, center and fellow Finn Saku Koivu, who turns 36 later this month, and left winger Jason Blake, 37 -- relative pups compared with someone still playing at the big four-oh.
Selanne professed a deep affection for the game.
"That's why I'm still here," he said before he returned to the subject of staying physically fit and being prepared to play.
"I think the biggest thing is to try to recover as quickly as you can from the practices and games," he said. "Especially at my age, that's even more important."
Happy Dupuis is back
Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis rejoined the team after rushing home from Dallas Wednesday to be with his wife, Carole-Lyne, for the birth of daughter Lola -- rush being the operative word as he arrived at the hospital minutes before the delivery, thanks in part to a cooperative man transporting him from the airport.
"Chuck was quite the driver," Dupuis said with a smile that no longer looked out from under a heavy moustache.
Dupuis grew it after losing a team shootout competition. He shaved it as soon as he got the call at 3:30 a.m. that he needed to head home. He did not want to show up in Lola's first photos with the hairy upper lip.
He reported that "mom and baby are doing great," and that their other three children "already love her and are excited."
The fight Penguins center and captain Sidney Crosby had Wednesday against the Stars' Matt Niskanen in Dallas was still a topic of discussion Friday.
Asked about the first thing that went through his mind when Crosby dropped the gloves, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said, "Don't break your hand."
Crosby and Niskanen both wear visors. Crosby, who threw Niskanen around and landed several punches, merely scraped the knuckles on his right hand.
They looked less red and swollen during the day Friday than Thursday, when Crosby didn't practice.
Ryan turns into blogger
Anaheim winger Bobby Ryan, the player taken behind Crosby in the 2005 draft, has gone a step beyond just embracing social media. He has started a monthly blog for USA Today.
He said the first one, which appeared this week, was a little tough, even though he blogged during the Olympics for a local paper and the Ducks.
For his new blog, he wrote some about the Ducks' start to the season and his disappointment that he didn't get any trick-or-treaters for Halloween.
"I'm on Twitter and I've kind of been an advocate of other guys getting into it," Ryan said.
"I think it's important, especially in mainstream sports, where hockey's always kind of taken a back seat to the footballs and the basketballs. The one thing about our players is, we're a little more accessible, a little bit more open to that kind of thing."
Bylsma's clock ticking
Bylsma said traveling west through different time zones on this trip has had a specific effect on him.
"It just means I get up earlier thinking about hockey than another trip," he said. "I know it was 4:30 [Friday] when I woke up."