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Chances are ‘very good’ that Selanne will return

Teemu Selanne gave the strongest indication yet that he may come out of semi-retirement when he said Friday there’s a “very good chance” he’ll return to play for the Ducks.

Selanne insisted he would not make a final decision until he talks with General Manager Brian Burke next week, but the 10-time All-Star forward admitted he is leaning in a certain direction.

“It could happen. I’m leaning one way. I’m not going to say which way,” Selanne said. “Right now, I feel there’s a very good chance I’m going to come back. When? That’s the question. When I feel ready. Every week, I’ve been feeling better and better and better.

“Obviously that’s why I decided before the All-Star break that I wanted to see how my body feels.”

Selanne resumed skating 2 1/2 weeks ago and has been participating in daily pickup games in order to get back into shape. Looking fit and dressed the part in a Ducks’ practice jersey, the popular 37-year-old forward flashed his vaunted burst of speed at times during a 75-minute workout at Anaheim Ice.

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In Toronto for a Stanley Cup presentation to the Hockey Hall of Fame along with Ducks owner Henry Samueli, Burke said he “expects a decision very soon.”

“Our arms are open,” he added in an e-mail before boarding a flight to Atlanta for the NHL All-Star weekend festivities.

Earlier Friday, Burke expressed to Toronto-area reporters that he doesn’t want Selanne to detract from the league’s showcase event.

“I told his agent, if he makes any decision before the All-Star weekend is over, I’m going to wring his neck,” Burke said.

“There’s no reason to take away from” the All-Star game.

Selanne said he is mentally ready to play and is excited about the Ducks’ prospects of repeating as champions. Now it’s about making sure if his body is willing.

“Otherwise I wouldn’t be here every morning,” he said.

Meanwhile, Burke reiterated that he is not interested in being general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs and said he has not been contacted about the job.

Burke said he has had preliminary discussions with Ducks CEO Michael Schulman on an extension to his current four-year contract, which runs through the 2008-09 season.

-- Eric Stephens

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Former Vancouver Canucks coach Marc Crawford will testify that he yelled at Todd Bertuzzi to get off the ice before the attack on Colorado Avalanche player Steve Moore, an Ontario court heard Friday.

The statement by lawyer Alan D’Silva, who represents the Canucks and their owners, shocked a pretrial hearing in Moore’s multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Bertuzzi and Orca Bay Hockey.

Moore’s lawsuit stems from an NHL game between the Canucks and Avalanche on March 8, 2004, in which Bertuzzi grabbed Moore from behind, punched him in the head and landed on top of him. Moore had three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a concussion and facial cuts, and hasn’t played since.

Bertuzzi was suspended by the NHL and charged with assault in June 2004 after a four-month investigation.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation and community service.

Bertuzzi now plays for the Ducks and Crawford is the coach of the Kings.

Rookies Ted Purcell and Matt Moulson were returned to the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Manchester, N.H.

-- Dan Arritt


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