From the Orange County Register
March 24, 2010
By Eric Stephens:
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Sitting out the Stanley Cup playoffs wasn’t something Saku Koivuhad in mind when he signed on with the Ducks as a free agent last summer after a long run as the face of the Montreal Canadiens.
That wasn’t the plan. The plan was to join forces with Teemu Selanne, create an explosive second scoring line to complement the club’s young scoring stars and take a reasonable shot at hoisting the silver chalice that has thus far eluded his grasp.
Playing for a winner will be high on his wish list and the Ducks face an uncertain future with the very possibility that Selanne and, perhaps, Scott Niedermayer won’t be back. But Koivu is very much a believer and said he intends to have them in the mix when it comes to options he’ll look at.
“This team has tremendous potential,” Koivu said. “And obviously we haven’t been consistently effective. We’re out of a playoff spot right now. But my opinion about this team hasn’t changed one bit from how I felt a year ago.
“I’m even more confident that this team can do something. Obviously there’s going to be some question marks in the future.”
“When I came here, I knew that my role was going to be different from Montreal,” he said. “I knew that the adjustment period won’t happen in a week or a couple of days. It was going to take some time. But I didn’t expect how long, what with getting everybody settled in here and getting all the off-ice stuff the way it should be.
“It just took longer than I expected.”
It was an overtime goal against Dallas on Dec. 8 that seemed to get Koivu going but with just 15 goals and 27 points, it’s near certain that he’ll see his string of 50-point seasons end at six unless he finishes with a flourish.
One of the reasons Koivu signed for only one season was because he wanted to see how he fit with a new team. He said he hasn’t spoken to the Ducks about a contract extension but added that it was his preference to wait until the season is over.
The Ducks are eager to retain his services as they’ve spoken glowingly about the competitive fire and solid two-way play that he brings to the ice. General Manager Bob Murray met with Koivu’s agent, Don Baizley, last week and they agreed to talk again after the season.
But the one thing that could be in the Ducks’ favor is that Koivu has appreciated living in relative anonymity and having fewer media responsibilities, a radical departure from what he experienced in hockey-mad Montreal.
“The life and the part outside of hockey has been great,” Koivu said. “I think it’s exactly what we needed and we’ve been enjoying that a lot as a family.”