LCS Hockey: Born Again
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July 18, 2019
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Team Teemu

Teemu Selanne is like a fine wine. He smells of grapes and should be kept in a dark place. But at 38, there’s still plenty of flash left in the wily old Finn.

“When you get older, the hardest part of playing the NHL is the recovery time,” said Selanne in a media conference call Monday.  “When you were younger, it was pretty easy to get ready for that next game, and your energy level is normal.  But when you get older, you have to be so much smarter with the eating and resting and do the right things to get the energy level where it should be. . . .  Older you get, harder it gets.”

That’s what she said.

It’s been a Jekyll and Hyde start for Selanne and the Anaheim Ducks. After losing five of their first six, the Water Fowl rallied on the road, sweeping a four-game trip through Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Columbus to salvage the season. They’ve since added wins over Detroit and Calgary to raise their season mark to 7-5-1.

“Maybe we thought it's going to be a little too easy, or easier than what we thought,” said Selanne.  “And then finally it was almost attitude, like the joke is over right now, let's start playing, let's start working, and the good things happen.  That road trip we had, we turned everything around.  We started playing better, with a lot of confidence.  Our special teams improved.  You know when you do those things right, you're going to get some wins.” 

Selanne has been a big part of those improved special teams, with seven of his eight goals coming on the man-advantage. He’s been skating with Brendan Morrison and Todd Marchant at even-strength, but he anchors the top power-play unit alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. The trio has combined for 28 points in the past four games, and Teemu can’t help but be impressed with his young charges.

“Corey and Ryan, they're both players that they have all the tools that you need to be a great hockey player,” said Selanne.  “They can see the game very well.  They can pass.  They can shoot.  Especially those two guys, they're so strong down low.  They're really hungry to do some damage.  Obviously when you get open, you know that those guys going to find you.  Same thing when you have guys like Pronger and Niedermayer, it's going to make your game so much more easier.  Obviously that's why I think the power-play has been pretty good lately.”

Teemu loves Getzlaf. He wants to have his babies.

“You know what, Getzlaf, he's unbelievable,” said Selanne, knitting a pair of booties.  “I don't even know if he knows himself how good he can be.  I can't see any reason why he couldn't be the best player in this league.  He has all the tools what you need.  I think it's just a matter of time when he realize that he can do it.” 

At the tender age of 23, Getzlaf has already played 228 games in the NHL, recording 67 goals and 193 points. Selanne didn’t even enter the league until he was 22. He can’t help but marvel at Getzlaf and the game’s other young superstars.

“I know for a fact when I was 18, I wasn't ready to come over,” said Selanne.  “That wasn't even in my mind.  Obviously the reason I stayed a little longer is '89, when I just turned 19, I broke my leg and I missed whole year.  I just wanted to play one more extra year there and get the confidence level where it should be.  For sure I was more ready mentally as a hockey player when I came over of age 22.”

All these years later, Selanne’s game hasn’t changed much. He still relies on his skating and smarts to light the lamp.

”I think my speed is still there,” said Selanne.  “Maybe I'm not fast as I was when I was 22.  But I think the speed is still the key for me.  I like to use that on my advantage.  You know, I still like the game and I'm very lucky that I'm always playing with great players, which really makes my game easier.  But obviously you just have to love this game and play with a passion and hope that you can stay healthy.  That's the bottom line.”

Selanne will always be a personal favorite around the offices of LCS Hockey. Not only did his 76-goal rookie campaign help define the golden year of 1992-93, Teemu’s proven to be a Red Wing killer. He scored a wicked awesome overtime goal to bury Detroit in the 2007 playoffs, and last week he hung a hat trick on the filthy Wings. It was Selanne’s 21st career hat trick, the most among active players.  

”When I was younger, when I got the first goal, I was so hungry to try to get another one,” said Selanne.  “Usually when I got two, I know there's a good chance to get a third one.  When you get older, you're not so greedy anymore.  But still it's always very special to get hat tricks.”

With his eight goals and 12 points on the season, Selanne is now the sixth-highest scoring European player in NHL history, trailing only Jaromir Jagr, Stan Mikita, Jari Kurri, Mats Sundin, and Peter Stastny. Teemu’s 560 career goals tie him with Guy Lafleur for 20th on the all-time list, while his 1,170 career points rank 45th, tying him with Bobby Hull. Those are some pretty good names.

”It's amazing to hear that,” said Selanne.  “When I was real young player, somebody would tell me this gonna happen, I would say, ‘You guys are crazy.’  Obviously a lot of great things has happened.  I'm very thankful for that.”

And we’re all thankful for you, Teemu. Well, except for that one year in Colorado. Wow, did you suck. But other than that, you’re the tops. Don’t you go changing.

EDITOR'S NOTE: When I originally posted the article, I wrote that Selanne was the fourth-highest scoring European player. So my thanks to our buddy Matthieu "Frenchy" Masquelet for pointing out the error. There are a few lessons to learn from this. First, never drink before editing. And second, never trust the NHL media relations department! I took that right from their notes! David Keon, you just got yourself a blood feud, my friend.

But how could I forget about Jagr? Egad. Anyway, here are the actual stats...


1. Jaromir Jagr   1599
2. Stan Mikita    1467
3. Jari Kurri     1398
4. Mats Sundin    1321
5. Peter Stastny  1239
6. Teemu Selanne  1170


1. Jaromir Jagr    646
2. Jari Kurri      601
3. Teemu Selanne   560
4. Mats Sundin     555  
5. Stan Mikita     541 
And even though he lived almost his entire life in Canada, Mikita was born in Slovakia, so he makes the cut.

LCS Hockey: Born Again
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