Teemu Selanne passed his idol Jari Kurri to become Finland’s all-time leading NHL goal scorer last night. The Finnish Flash potted career goals number 602 and 603 against the Canucks in a losing effort.
Selanne and Kurri developed a friendship over the years, even playing together for a brief period of time with the Ducks in the 1996-97 season. Kurri traveled to Anaheim to congratulate his countryman. Here’s what was said a few days ago in the Los Angeles Times.
“Six hundred was by far the bigger goal – 601 or 606 doesn’t really matter – but if you can pass your idol, that would be very special,” Selanne said, calling Kurri’s decision to make the long trip and his enthusiasm for the milestone “awesome.”
“I’m so happy for him,” said Kurri, a Hockey Hall of Famer who last month served as the general manager for Finland in Selanne’s fifth Olympic Games. “Why wouldn’t I be happy for him? It’s great.”
As a youngster, Selanne had a picture of Kurri and Wayne Gretzky on his bedroom wall. He wore a replica of Kurri’s No. 17 Edmonton Oilers jersey so often that, one year, he posed for a school picture in it.
With all due respect to Mikko Koivu, it will be quite some time until another Finnish hockey player will threaten the 600 goal mark. Simply put, Kuri and Selanne stand shoulder-to-shoulder as the best scorers the country has ever seen.
It’s been a year of milestones for the classy sniper as he also hit career powerplay goal number 218, which apparently places him ninth all-time on that list. Check out the top 10 all-time leaders in PPG, according to hockey-reference.com. (Asterisks are for players who are in the Hall of Fame.)
1. Dave Andreychuk 274
2. Brett Hull* 265
3. Phil Esposito* 249
4. Luc Robitaille* 247
5. Brendan Shanahan 237
6. Mario Lemieux* 236
7. Marcel Dionne* 234
8. Dino Ciccarelli 232
9. Teemu Selanne 218
10. Mike Gartner* 217
It’s pretty mind blowing that Dave Andreychuk is the all-time champion in goals with the man advantage, besting the likes of Brett Hull, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. Other active players who are high on the list include Keith Tkachuk (12th all-time with 212) and Mark Recchi (17th all-time with 194).