Surgery To Sideline Selanne

Actor Robert Blake smokes as he waits for the verdict in the civil wrongful death lawsuit against him, Friday, Nov. 18, 2005, outside the Los Angeles Superior courthouse in Burbank, Calif. The civil jury decided Friday that the tough-guy actor was behind his wife's slaying, and ordered him to pay her children $30 million in damages.(AP Photo/Nick Ut)
AP Photo/Nick Ut
A day after joining the San Jose Sharks, Teemu Selanne found out he needs surgery on his left knee and will be sidelined for up to two weeks.

The Sharks announced Tuesday the star right wing was to undergo arthroscopic surgery later in the day. He has loose cartilage in the knee that recently caused soreness and minor swelling.

"This is a minor procedure," said Sharks director of pro development Doug Wilson. "We are proactively performing this procedure so that it is not an issue for the rest of the regular season and playoffs. We are comfortable with Teemu having this done and expect him to join the team in the next two weeks."

Selanne, obtained in a trade with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Monday, had hoped to play Wednesday at Florida and to make his home debut Saturday against Nashville.

In five years together in Anaheim, Selanne and Paul Kariya never came close to bringing the Stanley Cup to the West Coast for the first time. After the blockbuster trade, Selanne will try to accomplish that goal with Owen Nolan and the Sharks.

The Ducks' prolific scoring duo was broken up Monday when Selanne, the NHL's leading goal-scorer two seasons ago, was traded to San Jose for goalie Steve Shields, wing Jeff Friesen and a conditional draft pick.

After Selanne heard the news early Monday morning, one of his first calls was to Kariya. The two talked "for a long time," Selanne said.

"He was really shocked that this happened," Selanne said. "I think we're going to miss each other a lot because it was a very unique situation that two players can find a chemistry so well. I think both of us are going to do very well without each other."

After Selanne was acquired from Winnipeg in 1996, he and Kariya became marquee stars for the Disney-owned franchise. But their luster faded, even while both posted impressive numbers each season.

Anaheim advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs just once, and the team failed to find a center who could keep up with its talented wings.

With the trade, the Ducks freed money to begin rebuilding the club, currently in last place in the Western Conference. The Ducks also announced plans to trade Guy Hebert, their ongtime starting goalie and the only player remaining from the franchise's first season.

Anaheim GM Pierre Gauthier said he wasn't worried about dealing Selanne, whose personal charisma and elegant playing style made him a fan favorite in Winnipeg and Anaheim.

"I believe the fans, once they see these players on the ice, will be happy with our team going forward," Gauthier said. "It's a huge move for this franchise with Teemu and Guy gone, but we needed a change. It's time to look at the team going forward, not look to the past."

Selanne, who had 26 goals and 59 points for the Ducks this season, flew to San Jose on Monday night to meet with the Sharks' doctors.

"I have spent all my years in the NHL with teams where the biggest goal is to make the playoffs first," Selanne said. "This is a different situation. Now I'm with a team that is winning and that can go a long way in the playoffs."

The deal is a bold move for the Sharks, who slipped out of first place in the Pacific Division last week. General manager Dean Lombardi stayed within his division to acquire one of hockey's most dynamic scorers well before next week's trade deadline.

"Does this make us a better team? Hopefully, it does," Lombardi said. "Sooner or later, if you keep getting better, you're going to be at the top."

San Jose's offense suffered last month without injured center Vincent Damphousse and suspended captain Nolan. The Sharks, whose woeful power play also should be helped by Selanne, are fighting for their first division title and winning season.

Still, the deal cost San Jose two talented players who struggled even as the Sharks surged into contention this season. Shields lost his starting job, while Friesen struggled to score.

Selanne, who has played in two Olympics for Finland, won the Calder Trophy in 1993 after scoring 76 goals and 132 points both NHL rookie records for the Winnipeg Jets.

A seven-time All-Star, Selanne was the game's MVP in 1998. He also was the first winner of the Maurice Richard trophy, awarded to the NHL's leading goal-scorer, after getting 47 goals in 1998-99.

The Ducks also agreed to pay $3 million of Selanne's hefty salary over this season and the next.

Selanne, who will make $8 million this year and $9.5 million in 2001-02, becomes the Sharks' highest-paid player, but Anaheim's payments will keep the Sharks' commitments comparable to Nolan's salary.

The Ducks will pay $500,000 toward Selanne's salary this season, and they will pay $1.5 million next year in addition to a $1 million prorated portion of Selanne's initial signing bonus.

Friesen is a free agent after this season, while Shields' contract contains a club option for next year.

The Mighty Ducks also will get a second-round pick in 2003 if the Sharks re-sig Selanne, but the pick will revert to San Jose if Shields reaches undisclosed performance incentives.

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