ANAHEIM – The Ducks are chasing history, and nobody seems to know it.
If the Ducks make the playoffs this season, it would qualify as the biggest comeback in NHL history since the current playoff format was adopted in 1993-94.
Article Tab: 'I think we all know that we came from far away to get back in the race,' the Ducks' Teemu Selanne said, 'but I don't think anybody is satisfied, and that's a good thing. We just have to keep pushing and pushing.'
'I think we all know that we came from far away to get back in the race,' the Ducks' Teemu Selanne said, 'but I don't think anybody is satisfied, and that's a good thing. We just have to keep pushing and pushing.'
KEVIN SULLIVAN, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
That season, the Ducks' inaugural year in the NHL, was also the season in which the New York Islanders rallied to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs after being as many as 12 points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team has been farther out of contention than that and advanced to postseason play since the top eight teams in each conference became the automatic qualifiers.
That distinction, however, would be obliterated if the Ducks' late-season surge results in a playoff berth, because on Jan. 6 the team was 20 points out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Going into Sunday's home game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Ducks are six points behind the eighth-place team. And when they closed out a franchise-best 5-1-2 road swing Thursday, they were only four points back.
Making history hasn't been a motivating factor because the players weren't even aware of that possibility until now. But Teemu Selanne's eyes lit up when informed of the record his team has a chance to smash.
"That could be a great business card for this team," a smiling Selanne said after Saturday's practice at Anaheim Ice. "I think we all know that we came from far away to get back in the race, but I don't think anybody is satisfied, and that's a good thing. We just have to keep pushing and pushing."
Corey Perry, the Ducks' leading goal scorer and reigning Hart Trophy winner, said the team is more focused on winning each game than making the playoffs and making history.
"We're not even thinking about that," he said Saturday when told of the historical significance of this run. "We're just trying to keep piling up the wins and piling up the points."
Since Jan. 1, the Ducks are 16-4-4, tied with Detroit for the best record in the NHL.
Bobby Ryan sounded as if he didn't want to know about the record the Ducks are chasing.
"I don't think anybody in this room is aware of that, and I certainly won't tell anybody," he said.
But couldn't it be motivational?
"I just want to let this train keep rolling," Ryan said. "Hopefully, nobody ever finds out. It'll be our little secret."
Sorry, Bobby, not anymore. History beckons.
Teemu staying put: Selanne, obviously, isn't going anywhere else before Monday's NHL trading deadline, and he insists he never seriously thought about the possibility of asking to be traded before the team's recent surge into playoff contention.
But because Selanne has said that this will be his final NHL season, there had been considerable speculation in the past two months about such possibilities, fueled by previous comments from Selanne in which he left the door slightly ajar.
"I think it was speculation that was started by the media," Selanne said Saturday, repeating that he never talked to General Manager Bob Murray about it because he said it wouldn't have been fair to him or his teammates "to think about any other options" during their playoff push.
"Anything is possible ... but I never wanted to go anywhere," he said. "If I hadn't won the (Stanley) Cup before, it would have been a different story."