What does Selanne have left to accomplish?

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If Teemu Selanne decides to retire rather than keep his NHL career going at the age of 43, he’ll be hanging up his skates as one of the all-time greats. He has more goals and points than any Finnish player ever, he’s won the Stanley Cup, the Calder Trophy, and was the first player to ever capture the Maurice Richard Trophy.

He’s a future Hall of Famer, but even for a guy like him, there’s always that one extra milestone or accomplishment that’s still out there to be claimed, especially in the NHL with its long and rich history.

So what major accomplishments could Selanne achieve if he decides to extend his career? As part of our Anaheim Ducks day coverage, we’re going to highlight some of the big ones:

— Among Finnish-born players, there’s still one major statistical category that Selanne isn’t the leader in: assists. Jari Kurri has 797 career assists to Selanne’s 755. In other words, Selanne would need to have a pretty good season to surpass Kurri in 2013-14, but that’s certainly not an impossible goal given that Selanne recorded 49 assists as recently as 2010-11.

— Selanne is already the Anaheim Ducks’ franchise leader in games played, goals, and assists, but he could also become the first Anaheim player to ever record 1,000 points in their uniform. Currently Selanne has recorded 961 points as a member of the Ducks, so it wouldn’t take a great season from him to reach that milestone.

— When it comes to games played, Selanne ranks 36th in the NHL’s all-time leaderboard with 1387. If he plays in at least 71 games next season, he’ll rocket up the list and surpass Glen Wesley, along with retired greats like Luc Robitaille and Paul Coffey. The question is where Selanne will end up if he surpasses Wesley and there’s no simple answer. Selanne could end up as high as 20th, but Jaromir Jagr and unrestricted free agent Roman Hamrlik are both ahead of Selanne, so it’s possible for The Finnish Flash to play in a full 82 games and still end up in 22nd place.

— Selanne has 1430 career points, which is good for 15th place on the NHL’s career list. That’s just 37 points shy of Hall of Famer Stan Mikita.

— Perhaps the most interesting thing to watch would be the goal race between Selanne and Jagr. Selanne is 11th on the NHL’s all-time list with 675 while Jagr ranks 10th with 681. Even if Selanne can’t catch up to Jagr though, he is in a position to pass some legendary players like Mario Lemieux (690), Steve Yzerman (692), and Mark Messier (694). Keep in mind that after Selanne and Jagr, the next highest goal scorer on the active list is 36-year-old Jarome Iginla with 530 goals and after that Marian Hossa has 434 goals, so it might be a very long time before anyone else reaches the heights that these two aging stars have achieved.

— An Olympic gold medal. After all, he was invited to Finland’s orientation camp. The best Selanne has ever done in the Olympics was a silver medal in 2006.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

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Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.