You'd be hard pressed to find a hockey fan that hopes the last six games for the Anaheim Ducks are the last six games of Teemu Selanne's NHL career.
He's an international treasure and an ageless wonder, good for 63 points in 76 games on a Ducks' team that was up and down more dramatically than James Cameron in the Marianas Trench.
To that end, we don't want to see him go out like this: On the outside of the playoffs looking in, without being 16 wins away from getting his name back on the Cup.
Helene Elliott of the LA Times asked Selanne about his future, as the Ducks prepare to face the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night. His answer? Like previous seasons late in his career, it's a summertime decision he's unsure of now.
From the Times:
"I'm not going to think about it before the season is over and then give it a couple weeks and get a feel from there," he said after the Ducks practiced in preparation for Wednesday's game against Pacific division-leading San Jose. "There are so many highs and lows during the season. I have to feel the situation."
He said much the same thing to Jeff Miller of the OC Register last weekend, explaining that there's "more inside him" that wants to keep playing than hang up the skates. From Miller:
"I still think I haven't lost much, so that's a good thing," Selanne said. "But that's also the way I want to go out. I don't want to be the guy who's just grinding and grinding and trying to survive. When I'm playing, I want to be effective, not be the guy who looks like he's just surviving out there."
So this is the impossible exercise of trying to read a player whose career has been built on his elusiveness and speed, speed that can blur. Because he is performing at such a high level, that's reason enough for Selanne to keep playing and to stop playing.
The variable in all of this is the CBA negotiation and a potential work stoppage, which could factor in a number of player's plans (Nicklas Lidstrom included).
As for Teemu … one more year, sir. If only to capture the ceramic pig again.