Right wing Teemu Selanne is scheduled to return to the Ducks’ lineup Friday against Dallas at Honda Center for Game 5 of the teams’ playoff series — and no, Coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t have to be demoted to the American Hockey League for that to happen.
Selanne, 43, was a healthy scratch for Game 4, a 4-2 Stars victory Wednesday at Dallas. Selanne's exclusion from the lineup prompted his teenage son, Eemil, to send out a tweet that mimicked the forms that teams usually use to announce call-ups, trades and other transactions:
"Roster Move: Bruce Boudreau has been reassigned to Norfolk Admirals (AHL)."
Papa Selanne told Eemil to take the tweet down — which he did — but said he thought it was funny. Eemil, who later tweeted that it was a joke and said, “sorry to those who felt offended,” did not announce his father’s return to the lineup — though maybe he should have.
“He’s my PR manager. I don’t have one,” Teemu Selanne joked after the Ducks’ morning skate Friday.
In a more serious vein, Selanne said he’s “very excited” to return to the lineup for a game that will tip this series one way or the other. The Ducks won the first two games, at home, and the Stars won their two home games.
Selanne, who had one assist and was minus-1 defensively in the three games he played, was to be reunited with his previous linemates, Mathieu Perreault and Patrick Maroon.
“It’s huge,” Selanne said of Friday’s game. “We know what to do. We didn’t expect this to be easy. We want to turn the ship around tonight and play our best game of the series. That’s our goal.”
To accomplish that, Selanne said the Ducks would have to be more disciplined and ignore the Stars’ efforts to distract them. They’ve allowed the Stars’ agitators, notably Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt, to lure their top players into scrums and into taking bad penalties, a counterproductive habit the Ducks have developed over the years.
“That’s why I said discipline. That’s what it’s all about,” Selanne said. “Everybody has a job on our team and their team, and when those guys can do their job and get under our skin, they have done their job. It’s our job just to play hockey and do our thing, and you can instigate but not retaliate. That’s not the way we do it. When we try to retaliate for stuff on the ice, bad things happen …. You have to have the approach that nothing is going to bother you. There’s a lot of areas of discipline where we can improve.”
Perreault said he values the veteran presence of Selanne, comparing Selanne's influence to that of veteran center Saku Koivu.
“He's a guy, like Saku, that really wants it, who gets the guys going,” Perreault said. “He really wants it. We all do. We're fine 2-2 with two of the next three at home. We feel real confident with where we are. We've won here all year, and now we've got to do it again.”
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