SAN JOSE -- Former Shark Teemu Selanne has made it clear this is his final season in the NHL and he acknowledged Thursday morning that this is a unique stop on his farewell tour with the Anaheim Ducks.
Selanne, 43, is one of the NHL's most popular players and will get another video tribute Thursday night when the Ducks play the Sharks at the SAP Center. But Selanne will also get something he doesn't get anywhere else: Booing.
"I know," he said of the reception he's heard since leaving the Sharks after the 2002-03 season. Does he scratch his head about that? "I don't really think about it," he said.
The boos come in part because Selanne chose not to exercise his option to stay with San Jose after the one year in the past 14 the Sharks did not make the playoffs. There was also the case of a missed wraparound goal against the Colorado Avalanche in the seventh game of the 2002 Western Conference semifinals. San Jose lost that game, 1-0.
Despite the booing, Selanne had nothing but good things to say about Sharks fans and his time in San Jose.
"They have unbelievable fans here and I give a lot of credit to those guys. They have a lot of passion and that's what it's all about," said Selanne, who had 131 points in 176 games as a Shark. "I had a great time here. Too bad we couldn't pull it out, but I thought we had the team to do it."
Selanne is still a threat on the ice, though his production (21 points in 54 games) and ice time (13:59 average) are both down. And that hasn't diminished his enjoyment of his long goodbye to a career that will reach 1,442 games Thursday night.
"It's been awesome," Selanne said, who also won a bronze medal with Team Finland in the Sochi Olympics. "Knowing that it's the last one, somehow you enjoy it more and I've been enjoying it every day. A lot of good things happening. We have a good team here and now that we're close to the playoffs, it's even more fun."