Teemu Selanne talks nothing but respect for Kings prior to Game 1

Etem Mighty Ducks
Ducks forward Teemu Selanne shared the following thoughts after Anaheim’s morning skate in advance of Game 1 vs. the Kings later today…

On what this means not only for California hockey, but for entire league as well:

“Obviously this is something new for us, even last year it was very close to happening but now it’s something, and a lot of people have been waiting for it. It’s going to be great for everyone, and obviously a lot of respect for each other, but we’re competing in the same market and the same fans so it’s going to be exciting.”

On the atmosphere in Round 2 compared to Round 1:

“Nothing less than that, even more. Obviously there’s going to be more Kings fans here, and then when we go to Staples and there’s going to be more Ducks fans. It’s going to be great, like I said; this is something we haven’t faced before so I think both sides are really looking forward to this.”

On the Ducks keys in the first ten minutes of the game:

“Well, we want to play our own game obviously, and the first ten minutes there’s going to be a lot of energy; it’s going to be a tough series, it’s going to be a good series. Both teams have some much respect towards each other, but like I said both teams want to win so it’s going to be fun.”

On this being a good way to end your career, first the outdoor game, now a playoff series vs. the Kings:

“Obviously this is something I haven’t faced before so I’m very happy that this happened because even last year it was very close but now it’s real, and it’s going to be another great experience in my career; so I have to enjoy it.”

On the hatred level between the two teams:

“There’s always hatred; doesn’t matter who we play against. It’s funny, there’s a lot of respect, but at the same time like I said its competing and it’s going to be hard and we want to beat those guys and they want to beat us so that’s a good match up and both teams are very strong and that’s what makes this very special.”

Did you watch any of the Kings series and their historic comeback?

“Oh absolutely, that doesn’t happen often and it was actually fun to watch because every time someone is doing something like that coming back from being down three to nothing its remarkable, unbelievable, so you got to give a lot of credit to those guys.”

On what you saw that changed in the way the Kings were playing, going from down three to winning four straight:

“Just their will and belief. They have a team that just keeps coming. It was funny, they lost game three, but you saw their confidence level building higher and higher and then they really started believing and they almost had another gear; and the Sharks they didn’t have that.”

Bonus quotes from Emerson Etem (pictured above, rocking his old school Mighty Ducks hat this morning)…

On what it would mean to a kid from SoCal to be part of this series:

“Well see if I’m in the lineup for tonight, but just being here with the guys and just experiencing this with them is pretty special. The fans are definitely into it. For us young guys, we just have to take it game by game and play that energy role and try to spark the team… It would be huge though for us guys who battled all year down in Norfolk and [worked to] improve our game. It would be exciting.”

On paying attention to the Kings series with the Sharks:

“I wasn’t paying too much attention to it [due to being in the AHL for part of the series]. I was happy for my buddy Matt Nieto playing there in San Jose, I wanted him to do well. Other than that I wasn’t paying too much attention. [MM: Did you talk to Matt at all?] Yeah, I talked to him before and after, and all through the series, before and after the game seven loss. He wasn’t too pleasant but hats off to him on a great year.”

On both the Norfolk team and John Gibson’s play in their series, eliminating the Kings’ affiliate from Manchester:

“We’ve been riding Gibby all year down there. He’s a great goalie and he’s definitely going to be part of this Ducks future. He’s a great guy, great goalie.”

On how many tickets he had to get for tonight’s game:

“Probably five or six. I’m trying to keep it light.”

If you missed Etem on West Coast Bias earlier this season, he told some great stories about growing up in SoCal and training with NHL players. Give it a listen here.

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