Selanne's passion burning brightly

And his usage as a bottom-six forward clearly is an adjustment for Selanne. He made that clear in Sochi when, during an emotional media session after winning bronze with Finland, he repeatedly talked about how it was refreshing to have a team still believe in him as a first-line player.

"I wasn't trying to hurt anybody," said Selanne. "I was asked the questions and I answered them, it's easier to play on the first line than the third or fourth line. I've found the last few years, playing less has been the hardest thing in my career. Your body doesn't work if you're not going all the time."

Scott Niedermayer can certainly appreciate both sides of that decision. Selanne's former teammate is now part of Bruce Boudreau's coaching staff. Scratching Selanne for a playoff game last round was not easy.

"I'm obviously in there now whenever those discussions happen," Niedermayer told Sunday. "It's not easy for anybody. But really at the end of the day, no one is immune from getting older and slower. Maybe it's when you're 30, maybe it's when you're 45 or 50, but no one is immune to it."

Selanne has played better of late, scoring goals in Game 1 and Game 3, seemingly reaching down and finding another energy level. Fact is, we might never again see a 43-year-old play at this level in this league.

"It's definitely, in my opinion, become a younger player's game since the rules were tweaked a bit," said Niedermayer, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last November. "But he's kept himself in good shape. I mean, you know, there were times this year when you could see he definitely wasn't the player he was 10 years ago. But he still contributes. He knows where to go, he knows what to do with the puck when he gets it in those areas, just like he did two games ago when he scored that big goal for us. It's fun to watch. It's nice to have him around."

After winning the Stanley Cup together here in 2007, Niedermayer and Selanne both decided to retire. But then they both returned to play.

"You get to that point, you win the Stanley Cup, you played two months of this type of hockey, you're pretty worn out," said Niedermayer. "I think at that point, we both felt we didn't have much left. I guess we were both wrong. Teemu was just a little more wrong than I was, I guess."

Seven years later, Selanne is still going.

"I know, unbelievable," Selanne says as he sits back in a chair at Honda Center.

Heck, he's had a book written about his life and career ready to go for a long time. It's finally going to be published in September.

"It was first supposed to come out in 2004. I was supposed to retire then," Selanne said, laughing. "But every year since we've added another chapter."

No question it was in 2007 when he came closest to truly retiring.

"Very close. I thought for sure I was done," said Selanne. "I thought there couldn't be any motivation to come back. Eight months later I came to a couple of games, I started to get itchy. It still looked fun."

And it still is fun. That was his message to teammates when the team was down 2-0 to the Los Angeles Kings in the series. Just enjoy the opportunity at hand.

"I try to tell the young guys, you don't know if you're ever going to get this kind of chance again to play for such a good team and get this kind of opportunity," said Selanne. "When you're young, you think you're going to play forever and get lots of chances like this. It doesn't happen like that."

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