Around the interwebs, the topic of the day seems to be Teemu Selanne. I will not break trend. However, instead of analyzing the same speech he gives every year, "I'll decide this summer" and "I have no feeling either way", I'll go with what I think it's going to take to get him back.
1) Most obvious - if he feels healthy and wants to play. Do you realize that this year, Teemu has played in every game of the season? Even Corey Perry missed time, but not the 41 year-old Selanne, who is usually beset by aches and pains along the way. Remember, he had his knee scoped over the past off-season, and it seems to have worked out just fine.
2) How the Ducks finish these last six games. Bruce Boudreau will play a big part in this because he's probably going to try to remind Teemu how good this team can be with a full year of his coaching. His return looks more likely if the team can finish strong.
3) Saku Koivu. The reason Saku came to Anaheim was for Teemu. There hasn't been much talk of Koivu's plans following the expiration of his contract this off-season. My hope is that he comes back for another year, and can convince his BFF Selanne to come too. Saku is still on the hunt for his first Cup, and I'm sure he's going to play all that he can to get his chance - hopefully it's with us.
4) Bob Murray's Off-Season Moves. To me, this is the most important to get Selanne (and probably Koivu) back in a Ducks uniform next season. Each year when he signs his one-year deal, Selanne always mentions that he talks to Bob Murray about his plans for the team and he examines the moves he's made thus far. The youth coming up the system give us a lot of hope, but the team will need a couple proven veterans to really make any serious changes. I always come back to the year we got Chris Pronger. He is evidence that one key player can make the difference on a team with a mix of youth and vets. The Ducks need to find another Chris Pronger-esque player this off-season without having to sell off the farm.
Am I way off base here or do you think I hit everything that it's going to take to have Selanne return? He's the heart and soul of the organization. I'd hate to lose him at the same time as we're going into the final year of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf's contracts. Enjoy him while he's here folks. If you can get down to Honda Center on Sunday, bring the Kleenex. It's going to be an emotional game for the fans and Selanne. Let's give him another reason to stay - the fans.
(Earl Sleek and I participated in an SBN blogger roundtable for the Pacific Division teams. Apparently everyone else is trying to get in the playoffs. Whatever that means. Read about it here.)