ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -Teemu Selanne finally made it to hockey's big dance. His teammates are determined to help him take the final step.
``Teemu's been in this league for 15 years and he's never had a chance to play for the Cup,'' Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. ``We couldn't have any better teammate.
``He deserves this. I'd just love to see Teemu win this thing.''
Anaheim's Chris Kunitz, reduced to the role of cheerleader during the Stanley Cup finals because of a broken bone in his right hand, said, ``To win the Cup would cap off a fabulous career for Teemu, one of the game's pure, natural scorers.
``It would be great to see him hoist the Cup.''
Selanne, who turns 37 on July 3, has resurrected his career, thanks to knee surgery in 2004 and his return the following year to Anaheim, where he played from 1996-01.
He led the Ducks with 48 goals and 46 assists during the regular season. He has five goals - including the overtime game-winner in a Game 5 victory over Detroit in the conference finals - and seven assists during the Ducks' playoff run to the Cup showdown against Ottawa.
``He's still a great player,'' Senators defenseman Tom Preissing said. ``I think if you could point to one guy who has really benefited from the rules changes, he might be the one. He's such a good skater, and limiting the holding and other stuff means he can break free more.''
Selanne was a bit taken aback by all the fuss over his being in the championship round.
Told that his teammates want to win the Cup for him, his eyes widened and he jerked his head back in surprise.
``I don't know about that. We all want to win, and obviously a lot of players have played for a long time without winning the Cup,'' Selanne said. ``This is about family and your brothers and you want to win it together.''
Still, his teammates' comments obviously were meaningful to him, and he added, ``That's great. We all want to play for each other.''
Selanne said he first dreamed of playing for the Stanley Cup as a youngster growing up in Finland.
``Then there have been many times I wondered if I would ever get to play in the final,'' he said. ``The system we have in the NHL, you get drafted by a team that doesn't really have a chance to win, what are you going to do before you become a free agent? When I came into the league, the free agent age was like 35.
``The system is, if you're in the wrong time and wrong place, you're never going to win it.''
Selanne went chasing the Stanley Cup once, when he and former Ducks linemate Paul Kariya reunited in Colorado in 2003 because they believed the Avalanche had a good shot at winning the Cup.
That didn't happen, and after the NHL lockout for the 2004-05 season, Selanne - who had knee surgery during the time off - came back to Anaheim, and Kariya signed with Nashville.
``I learned that year that you can't try to find your happiness,'' Selanne said. ``It just has to come naturally. I'm so happy it's here (in Anaheim). I've always been happy here on and off the ice.
``This is the total package for me right now.''
Selanne said his pal Kariya had tried to phone him over the weekend. Kariya and the Predators were eliminated by San Jose in the first round.
``He tried to call me, but I wasn't available. Maybe in the bunker,'' said Selanne, an avid golfer. ``I called him back and he was surfing. I'm sure we'll talk.''

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Chicago hopes to hammer Calgary tonight The Blackhawks don’t resemble their usual selves through the first six games of the season. Fortunately for the Windy City faithful, a get-well card should...
Thumbnail Confident Canadiens welcome Philly to town   The Canadiens emerged victorious from their wide-open battle against Boston over the weekend. Will Michel Therrien’s club be able to thrive at a more...
Thumbnail Anaheim searching for early-season traction After commencing the season with four straight wins, Vancouver finally fell last night in shootout fashion. Will Willie...
Thumbnail Wild's top threat tries to snap out of funk Minnesota’s off to a 3-1-1 start despite getting no production from its best offensive player. But will Zach Parise finally light the lamp today?
Thumbnail Price's re-emergence heightens Habs' hopes The Canadiens managed to make it through the first three games of the season without Carey Price. Yet the Atlantic Division stalwarts were undeniably stoked...
More inNHL Articles  

NHL Team Pages