It was a practice day in Nashville, two week from Christmas.

The Ducks had lost, yet again, the previous night in St. Louis. From where they sat, it was easier to see Helsinki than the playoffs.

Teemu Selanne was 41, two time zones away from his four kids, surrounded on this team by incompetence and reticence, the pointlessness hovering over every head but his.

You would have thought Selanne would be furious, or at least depressed, over the turn that his Fifth Final Season had taken.

Unless you knew him.

After the workout, Selanne walked out the dressing room door and saw a woman who worked in the corridor at Bridgestone Arena. He was not mic'd up. There were no cameras.

"Smile!" he said brightly. "It's a great day."

A professional athlete's life is full of great days if only he chooses to recognize them. That is Teemu Selanne's gift, the one he redeemed Thursday by announcing that he will play a Sixth Final Season for the Ducks.