Jeff Miller of the OC Register made a plea for Teemu Selanne to stay one more year. I have been thinking for a couple of months that I think Selanne should retire after the season. My rationale shall be explained in the letter that appears after the jump. However, before I begin I wanted to offer a minor disclaimer, and Arthur can probably verify this for me. I am a HUGE Teemu Selanne fan. He's been my favorite player since he showed up in Anaheim. If Arthur and I were born 5 years later to more affluent parents, we would have been playing hockey wearing numbers 9 and 8 respectively. My point is that I did not arrive at this conclusion without a lot of thought. I hope everyone will be patient enough to hear my rationale for what I am sure will be a very unpopular opinion.
I would like to start by saying that if Paul comes back next year, feel free to ignore the following plea. The return of the dynamic duo would probably be the second greatest moment in Anaheim Ducks history.
I wanted to get this letter to you before the Hockey Gods decide our playoff fate. I don't want to be swayed by anything amazing that may or may not happen in the Ducks heretofore undecided postseason future. Teemu, please retire at the end of this season. There's no doubt you are still a dominant player at the age of 40, and you probably could be dominant next year as well. All I ask is that you hear me out.
I'm probably one of your biggest fans, fan not fanatic. I don't stalk you, keep videos of all your greatest goals, and I don't know what you did with your day with the Stanley Cup. I do have a very distinct memory of me sitting on a couch while my girlfriend was making dinner and you were faking Garon down to the ice and going backhand. That move would later become instrumental in passing the Red Wings to go on to an eventual Cup victory. After Garon became a footnote in the history of your career, my girlfriend came running into the room to find out why I was jumping up and down and screaming. There were tears in my eyes.
I always wanted you to do well. I suppose if you follow a sport long enough, it's inevitable that you feel attached to a particular player's fate. I was attached to yours because you are the reason I started watching hockey so religiously. Your arrival in Anaheim marked the end of my casual following and emergence as black sheep in a family committed to L.A. teams. It led to me watching double headers on ESPN and probably the eventual emergence of this blog.
I apologize for the sentimental words, but without recalling the countless fond memories I have of your career, my sentimental nature is the core of my argument. I always want to remember you as the Finnish Flash. I know your skills won't magically deteriorate in one year, but injuries are becoming a regular part of your season. Let's face it, there's no telling when the rug will be pulled right out from under you. I don't want you to be Rod Brind'amour. I don't even want you to be Mark Recchi. I want to remember this forever. Streaking down the wing, ripping slap shots, and finding all the soft spots in the defense.
Not everyone can be Ray Bourque and retire after winning the Cup, but maybe being one of only 4 players in the history of the game is enough of a feather in your cap to skate away into the sunset. My perception is, of course, entirely selfish. I want to remember my hockey hero at his best and not as a guy who has trouble getting around the rink. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but Anaheim fans can be a little fickle. I never want to read comments talking about how you should hang them up; I want everyone to be sad you left. I want them to remember the Finnish Flash, and how good he was to our team.
I'm sorry for taking your time. I realize I am an inconsequential fan from an inconsequential blog, don't tell Bobby Ryan I said that though. I appreciate you reading my letter. It's one of the best things about you. No matter the decision, I will cheer for you as loud as ever. I would only make one other request, can you tell Anaheim fans to let up on Kariya so he can come back like he should. Again, I'm hoping you'll consider leaving Anaheim fans with this memory of you and not risking your skills deteriorating. Thank you for everything.
Anaheim Calling Contributor
P.S.: Seriously, if Kariya decides to come back to Anaheim, forget I ever wrote this letter.