GDB LXXIV: Selanne’s last game at RX1

Colorado Avalanche v Anaheim Ducks

The Finnish Flash will take one last skate at Rexall Place, before skating off into retirement, and he has a chance to make it a very memorable evening.

This past Sunday, Teemu Selanne became only the 18th player in NHL history to score 600 goals. He trails his childhood idol, Jari Kurri, by only one and good tie him or even surpass him in the same rink that Kurri used to rip one-timers.

When we asked Selanne about that possibility he admitted he hadn’t thought about it, “That would be really neat. I never thought I’d score as many goals as Jari Kurri. I had his and Wayne Gretzky’s poster on my wall as a kid. They were my idols.”

Selanne is lock to make the Hall of Fame and in his 15th NHL season he can still score. Selanne has a respectable 21 goals in 47 games, but the game has changed a lot since he tore up the NHL in 1992/1993. Selanne scored 76 goals as a rookie for the Winnipeg Jets, and that record will never be broken. A player would have a better chance to break Gretzky’s 92 goal season, than score 76 goals as a rookie.

Selanne has scored 147 goals as a Jet, 64 with San Jose, 16 in Colorado and 373 as a Duck. He has 21 hat-tricks, two four-goal games and he has scored in 52 different NHL arenas. He scored his first goal at the famous Cow Palace in San Jose beating Jeff Hackett. Selanne told us the story this morning like it had happened last night. Even after 600 goals, he still remembers the first one very vividly.

Funny thing is Selanne didn’t even work that hard in his rookie year according to him and his then-teammate-and-now-head-coach, Randy Carlyle. “Lots of practices I barely broke a sweat back then,” laughed Selanne. “Rest was the weapon, and I saved all my energy for the game.”

Carlyle was a 36-year-old veteran in his last season when Selanne sniped 76 goals, but he didn’t like Selanne’s laissez-faire attitude. “The one thing he does now is he works a lot harder than he did as a rookie. That is where the conflict personally between the two of us started. I was a veteran player and I didn’t appreciate a young kid coming and not working as hard as he needed to, or as hard as I thought he needed to.

“His answer to that was I wasn’t the coach and I was a player and why should I have any comments on his work ethic,” laughed Carlyle. “That wasn’t the same answer when I got the job in Anaheim. Teemu is one of the hardest workers on our team and is a great influence on everyone on the team. The rink is his happy place. He still comes to the rink with a smile on his face and that rubs off on the young guys.”

Selanne vs. Kurri

Both are Fins, and both are in the 600-goal club, so it is only natural to ask who was better. Saku Koivu put it best I think. “Teemu is the most dynamic Finnish player ever. He has the ability to make highlight plays and his first step is one of the best of all-time. Jari’s was a better all-around player. Both are legends in Finland so I don’t know if you can say one is better. But Teemu was flashier.”

Hard to argue with that comparison, and the eras they played in are different. Selanne is a better goal-scorer, (not as good of a one-timer though) but Kurri was a better overall player.

Selanne also made it clear that his 600th goal means more to him than 602, if he gets it, and surpasses Kurri. A classy player and one hell of a goal scorer.

JDD and Gagner

Jeff Deslauriers will start tonight because according to Pat Quinn, “Basically it was a 50-cent piece that decided it,” chuckled Quinn. It came down to Devan Dubnyk still not being 100% ready to go. He hasn’t eaten a lot of food and he will start in St. Louis. It sounds like the goalies will rotate the rest of the way, but Quinn wasn’t guaranteeing anything in that department.

Sam Gagner will sit out tonight due to a sore hip. It’s been bothering him for a couple of weeks, and he re-aggravated it in practice yesterday. With Gagner sitting out Patrick O’Sullivan will draw back in and play with Ryan Potulny and Robert Nilsson. Marc Pouliot will shift back to centre and play with Zach Stortini and Mike Comrie tonight.

Ryan Getzlaf will sit out tonight for the Ducks and rest his ankle. According to Carlyle, they plan on playing him Sunday.

  • I'll say this about Teemu Selanne–he was absolutely unstoppable on NHL 95. The only thing was that you had to move him to the left side so you didn't lose him if you were shorthanded.

    He sure could do that breakaway move (on the backhand too!)

    Glory days, they'll pass you by glory days . . .

    As Principe would say "the guy has got some Finnish!"

  • Evil Ginger

    just wanted to comment on something i heard on the jason gregor show and have seen on this site lately …. Calling and or emailing into the jason gregor show or commenting here and saying "War Tyler seguin 4 point night" is stupid. Taking someone elses tagline that they have created for their show or station and using it in other forms is annoying. If your on Jim Romes show you should feel free to "War" whatever you would like, but when 1 o clock hits and that arrogant american is off the air the "Waring" should stop.

    Power 92 plays todays best music now show me my money: calgary not making the playoffs

    ^
    stupid isn't it?

  • Selanne's numbers speak for themselves, but there's a lot more to him than that.

    I can tell you first-hand Selanne isn't one bit different today as he heads for the hall of fame than he was as a rookie in terms of being professional with reporters, gracious with fans and in simply enjoying and appreciating life as an NHLer.

    Teemu has never become full of himself. He will do every interview asked of him and happily sign autographs for fans until every one of the them leaves with what they came for. He loves to sit around and just shoot the sh*t when it comes to hockey — or cars.

    The word "class" gets thrown around a lot, and in some cases it doesn't apply — not every great player is classy and, obviously, not every classy player is great — but Teemu is both.

    • Reggie

      Great compliment to Selanne. I appreciated the class of the man when the Ducks were in the Stanley Cup finals and he paid for a number of his friends from Finland that he grew up with to fly over and watch and enjoy. That's pretty classy. At the time he said, it was a promise he made to them a long time ago and he was finally glad to be able to fulfill.

      Another story was Brent Severyn from Vegreville. When he got his day with the Stanley Cup they had a big to do in his home town for people to do a meet and greet with the cup, then he rented a bus and took all his high school friends, buddies, fellow hockey players to party down Whyte Ave with the cup for the night.

      Two examples of men who remember what is important in life – hockey, friends and sharing.

      • Brent Severyn's cousin was my coach when I went back to jungle B for half a year the year he won the Cup. Brent, my coach and the boys took the Cup to the Iron Horse that night and I drank out that sumb!tch like it was going out of style! At that point, the dream was dying – 3 dub camps, a season in the AJ & relegated back to the jungle, it was already dead – so I figured why not, its not like I'll get the chance to win it. AWESOME night!

        • Pajamah

          thats 3 WHL camps, 1 AJHL season than the majority of us.

          Midget Tier 3 drop out.

          That said, playing in Edmonton Rec. Leagues you occasionally get games against some pros

          Erik Christensen lighting our team up for 11 points, thats the closest I've been to the "dream"

          • Not to be THAT guy, but a funny story nonetheless:

            When I tried to fight Chris Phillips in Lethbridge camp (he was getting ready to head to Ottawa, so really he had no reason to fight), he just looked at me and said something along the lines of "Don't waste my time, rook". It made me mad at the time, but I LOL at that now.

            But when Shaun Sutter (Brian's boy, I think) wouldn't go me (ya, that's right – I tried to fight a Sutter), it pissed me off! That chickensh*t tucked-tail-and-ran all over the ice. I'm only 5-11, so I dunno what his problem was. I'd say he suffered from cowardice.

            I also remember with great pride the time Dale Purinton lambasted me into the boards. Good times!

            Oh ya… and my buddy's jaw still clicks ever since he fought Eric Godard there, LOLZ. BIG mistake!

          • Pajamah

            That's not like a Sutter not to drop em (or smile)

            Scrapping Chris Phillips would make a damn good story, I could see him with that attitude though, he sure hasn't lived up to his draft position though

        • Reggie

          Brent's dad was my coach for a couple seasons and I played midget hockey with his brother. Brent would come out every once and while to our practices. He was hell on wheels and had amazing skill compared to anyone else on our team. To see him just be a journeyman in the NHL shows the elite level of the NHL players. In aside, also played a season of hockey with Brad Werenka – a Two Hills boy who was drafted by Edmonton and who ended his career in Calgary due to concussions.

  • I remember in the World Cup in 96 when Finland played Canada in the semis. There was a stretch of about 20 minutes where I thought Teemu was the greatest hockey player on the planet. He showed a physicality and intensity there that I've never seen him match since.

    He's had a great career but I always think of how amazing he was in that game and wish that he could have translated the passion he played with then into every game. He would have gone from "just" being a Hall of Famer to being one of the select elite few on the short list for best of all time.

    EDIT: it was the finals in 2004–messed up my dates

  • Crackenbury

    You'll be hard pressed to find a fan that doesn't like and respect Teemu. The amazing thing with him is he's still a player. He could walk into any dressing room in the league today and still provide a positive influence. He may not be at the top of his game, but what a way to retire.

  • Bruthah

    76 GOALS? Rookie???? This doesn't even compute in today's league. The Oil would be lucky to get somebody with 76 points this year. Or next.

    It's going to be better next year, right?

  • Pajamah

    I think I'm possibly the only guy who didn't like Selanne, I grew up the biggest Joey (Zhoey Zhuneau) Juneau fan

    good ol' 49/90 will still likely go down as the second highest rookie scorer, and highest scoring rookie ever to not win the Calder

    • Jason Gregor

      Juneau had a great rookie year same year as Selanne. Better than you remember. Juneau scored 32 goals an 102 points in 84 games. Very good.

      But Mike Bossy's rookie season of 53 goals and 91 points in 73 games is better in my opinion. More goals and a slightly better points per game…1.24 for Bossy…1.21 for Juneau. But 53 goals was unreal.

      Joe Nieuwendyk's rookie season of 51 goals and 92 points was pretty good too.

      But Selanne's was unreal. No one will come close to his rookie records.

      • Pajamah

        As a Juneau fan, the fact hes even in the same sentence as Nieuwendyk, or Bossy, is unbelievable

        Will never forget his goal in Gm. 6 of the 98' Conference final against Hasek and the Sabres. Beauty pass by one of my other faves, ex-Minnesota Northstar Brian Bellows.

        Selanne rightfully will go down as the most productive rookie ever though, there is no doubt about it.

    • Keep in mind though that the Penguins were voted the 2nd best Franchise. Proof that winning makes people change their minds about how bad a franchise is or is not. The Penguins were a joke for a long time. They enter the lottery several times for being amongst the worst and take Crosby, Malkin, Staal, and Fleury. All of a sudden everybody forgets this was a team that couldnt put fans in the seats and almost had to relocate. So, we have hope I guess.

    • That's too bad. It would be more interesting if they had some sort of 'demographic' of the 50 players. If it was an anonymous poll of 350 players I would be a bit more upset. Also with the exception of Chicago, all of the "best" franchise are in the East? Seems a little fishy to me.

      It hurts, but I don't think that the 50 players are really a quorum on the state of the league. We just acquired a new owner, are in the middle of a tear down & have the most loyal fans in the league. Those 50 players from New York & New Jersey can go suck an egg.

        • True, I wouldn't put much stock into it either way. I am not privy to perks & 'carrots' handed out by owners & organizations. I remember Stauffer discussing some of the carrots Katz gave before he even owned the team. One of them was a private Tragically Hip concert. Now any of us dummies posting on here would appreciate that, but that is the kind of stuff that nobody ever hears about.

          Now if I was employed by a person like that I probably wouldn't be carving him up. I would probably be telling all of my friends the kind of boss I have.

  • Lofty

    I wonder if Moreau told Whitney after the game that his penalty cost the team? Now that would be funny!

    Whitney is a keeper, a healthy Souray and him would stop some players from going into the corners.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Caught the game at our new Original Joes. Not a bad establishment – aside from the fact that the Oilers game was on ONE of the like, 10 TVs. The rest were tuned to curling and basketball.

    Also, our appetizers were free because the waitress spilled a glass of water on my girlfriend.

  • Everything is relative to the time and opposition they played against at the time of their accomplishments . In otherwords , how they distanced themselves from the competition . Very doubtful he would be that successful in present day , just like Gretzky would have a tough time repeating his accomplishments; which ,to be frank ,were the best distance ever seen or recorded when one sees how far he exceeded the competition . No doubt Selanne was elite, and Oilers tried hard to bring him here more than once .

  • @ Travis & Cory

    'War' comes from The Jim Rome Show. 'Clones' call in and give their take and then usually at the end of their call (if they make it that far), they say "War…"

    For example, I might say something like "war the Flames making the playoffs" (no, not this year) or you may say "war Taylor Hall/Tyler Seguin scoring 50+ pts next year for the Oil".

    Capiche?

      • EX:

        Hey Romie, whats up… I hear that Travis Dakin is a great guy… We need more people like him in this world… the guy's a class act and always has a smile on his face… really he's someone every kid should look up too… that's all I got Rome… war getting drunk with Travis Dakin at The Pint sometime in the next year or so… GOODNIGHT NOW!!

        Capiche?