Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Niedermayer, Selanne status known next week
Ducks General Manager Brian Burke said he will ask the players for a decision, probably this weekend.
By DAN WOOD
The Orange County Register
The Ducks expect to know by early next week whether to expect team captain Scott Niedermayer and fellow superstar Teemu Selanne on the ice when training camp begins Sept. 10.
It doesn’t look promising in either case.
"Obviously, at some point I have to ask Scotty if he plans to come to camp or not," General Manager Brian Burke said Tuesday. "I have to ask them both that. I probably will pretty quickly, probably by this weekend.
"My guess would be that they’re probably not. If that were their intent, I think I would have heard by now."
Since Niedermayer and Selanne went public with thoughts of retirement in the wake of the Ducks winning their first Stanley Cup championship in June, Burke has followed through with a commitment to withhold pressure and give both players as much time as necessary to reach decisions.
Selanne, who is spending the summer in his Finnish homeland, and Burke have not spoken in more than a month, while Niedermayer and Burke have had only two brief telephone and voice-mail exchanges since July 1, when Niedermayer announced that he was leaning "strongly" toward retirement.
That same day, the Ducks signed unrestricted free-agent defenseman Mathieu Schneider as a potential replacement for Niedermayer. One day later, the Ducks dipped into the unrestricted free-agent market for right wing Todd Bertuzzi to potentially replace Selanne.
"The fact of the matter is we are faced with the potential retirement of two players that I think are going to stroll into the Hockey Hall of Fame," Burke said. "That could be a devastating loss in most situations, but I think we’ve covered ourselves adequately."
While Niedermayer has two years, at $6.75 million annually, remaining on his contract, Selanne is an unrestricted free agent. If both were to return, the Ducks would almost certainly have to make at least one trade, probably involving a defenseman, to free up salary-cap space to re-sign Selanne.