First off, let me say that I am a huge Teemu Selanne fan. I was bummed when the Ducks let him go the first time, and have immensely enjoyed watching his resurgence this second time around. More so than his stats, I have been a fan of his because of the way he played on the ice, and handled himself off of it. As far as I know, he has handled himself with class and integrity his whole career, and everyone I know that has met him (including myself) say that he is a genuinely good guy.
It is because of all of that, that I have a hard time understanding the current rumors running rampant, not just on Hockeybuzz, but elsewhere as well, saying that Teemu is actively looking at other teams to play for. This coming after a summer where he has repeatedly stated, as late as a few weeks ago, that the only two choices he was considering were retirement or a return to the Ducks.
The rumors are stating that while Teemu will give the Ducks the first shot at resigning him, if they are unable to give him what he is asking or feels he should get, due to their proximity to the cap, that he is open to going elsewhere. If this is true, I will find it awfully hard to continue to be a Teemu Selanne fan.
Following an amazing playoff run, culminating in the Ducks first Stanley Cup championship, the team committed to letting Teemu make up his mind about returning, without pressuring him. But the longer he held out, they obviously needed to protect themselves against the possibility that he might not return. Does anyone honestly think we sign Bertuzzi for $4 mil a year if Teemu had already said he was coming back? That money, plus whatever cap cushion we have left would have been more than enough to sign the Flash to a contract concomitant with his stature as an elite player in todays NHL.
I am the first one to argue that professional athletes are professionals first, and athletes second. I have no problem with anyone taking a job elsewhere where they can get paid more. This is these guys job, and regardless of how many times an athlete says its not about the money, all you have to do is look at ticket prices these days to see that usually, it is.
If Teemu had said at any point after last season that he didnt know where he would play next year, and that while he would like to play for the Ducks, he might go elsewhere, I would have no problem. The guy has earned the right to play wherever he wants. But using a salary cap issue that he helped create as an excuse to get out of what he has been saying all summer does not speak very highly of his integrity to me.
Once again, I am just a fan. I do not know if any of these rumors are true, and I hope that they are not. If they turn out to be just the baseless ramblings of some bored hockey fans and reporters, I will be the first one to say I should never have doubted him. However, if they are true, I will be among the most disappointed. After all that Teemu has done to promote my love of hockey and the great guys that play the game, I would hate for the last memory I have of him to be one of dishonestly and selfishness.
Any comments would be appreciated.