Teemu Selanne

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Book excerpt: Teemu Selanne on Boudreau, end of NHL career

This excerpt from Teemu Selanne: My Life by Teemu Selanne with Ari Mennander is published with the permission of Triumph Books.  For more information and to order a copy, please visit Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Bookshop.org, or www.triumphbooks.com/TeemuSelanne.

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In the 81st game of the regular season, the Los Angeles Kings organized one of the finest celebrations of Teemu and gave him a personalized surfboard as a present. But because of Boudreau’s plan not to play Selanne in back-to-back games, he wasn’t in the lineup against the Kings. The Ducks were going to close out the season at home against the Colorado Avalanche the next night. 

Ryan Getzlaf didn’t play in the last game, nursing injuries and resting before the playoffs, so Teemu captained the Ducks in the last regular season game of his storied career. 

“It was a great honor and felt really good,” he said. 

The Ducks beat the Avalanche 3–2 in overtime and the crowd couldn’t get enough of Teemu, who played more than 18:00. 

After the game, Teemu stayed on the ice, and skated around to say goodbye and thank you to the fans. “These Ducks fans have been so special and so kind for me. I have always had so special relationship with our fans, and it feels so good to share all the great moments with them. 

“And then I saw [Avalanche goalie and former teammate Jean-Sebastien Giguere] Jiggy on the Avs bench, and I grabbed him and we did couple of laps together and celebrated also his career, which was ending after the season as well. Jiggy has been huge part of Ducks organization and has been very important player for the fans. And for me truly a friend and teammate with whom I had great years together. And of course, he was the Stanley Cup–winning goalie for us.” 

The fans appreciated seeing their favorite NHL superstars, and the crowd went wild. 

Selanne’s last game even managed to get Paul Kariya, who retired in 2010, to make a rare public appearance. Kariya came to the Honda Center to watch his hockey soulmate play his last regular season game. 

“I invited him to the game and he watched it from my suite together with another great friend, Joe Sakic. It meant a lot to me that these two guys were there,” Teemu said. 

Anaheim’s regular season record was the best in franchise history. The Ducks won 54 games, won their division and the Western Conference, and finished second overall in the league, behind the Boston Bruins. 

But Boudreau failed to guide the team past the second round. His Washington Capitals advanced to the second round twice in his four years as coach, and the Ducks had now gotten to the second round just once. 

They won their first two home games in the first-round series against the Dallas Stars but lost Game 3 in Dallas 3–0. The next day 

Teemu woke up to receive the biggest humiliation of his career when Bruce Boudreau made him a healthy scratch in Game 4. He had been a healthy scratch once before, in a playoff game in Colorado, but this was worse. He was in Anaheim, his happy place. His home. 

According to Boudreau, the team needed more physicality, and Emerson Etem filled the Teemu-sized hole. The 22-year-old had played 29 regular season games for the Ducks and had 11 points. 

Selanne was shocked but not completely surprised, since he had been benched for long stretches during Game 3, getting only 10:00 on the ice. Boudreau had told him about the change the day before Game 4. 

Throughout his career, the even-mannered Selanne had never criticized a coach or even raised his voice, let alone screamed at one, but there is always a first time for everything. 

He waited until the other players had left the ice and skated to where Boudreau was standing. 

“And then I let it go. I told him exactly how I had been feeling, and I wanted to get answers why this has happened. He was trying to explain something but actually it didn’t make sense to me at all. 

“Bruce is a super-nice guy but there was something weird. There was something that he didn’t tell me. I told him that if he wanted to win something, he needed me. Nobody else wanted to win as much as I did. Then I dissed him. I got two years’ worth of frustration out of my system. I didn’t feel good to say these things, but I felt I had to,” Teemu said. 

A few years later, Boudreau and Selanne sat down over a beer to see whether they could patch things up. 

“I asked him to tell me what really happened. He said, ‘Teemu, the only thing I could say is it wasn’t all my decision.’ He mentioned something that the scouts and GM were part of decision-making.” 

Boudreau later tried to lessen the tension with Teemu. 

“Nobody likes hearing anything negative about themselves, so in that sense I’m a little disappointed,” Boudreau told the media. “But I understand the frustration.” 

“I’m sure I’m going to see him again. And listen, he was one of my favorite guys. I’ve always liked him and admired him. I don’t think anyone here has ever heard me say a bad word about him, ever. And that will continue.” 

The Stars won Game 4 in Dallas 4–2 and Teemu returned to the lineup for Game 5. The Ducks advanced to the second round against the Los Angeles Kings, but not much had changed in the coach’s mind. 

The Kings took away the Ducks’ home-ice advantage by winning the first two games in Anaheim, but Teemu still didn’t get more ice time. 

Eemil Selanne, then 18, took to Twitter to support his father. 

During the Stars series, he tweeted: “ROSTER MOVE: Bruce Boudreau has been reassigned to Norfolk Admirals (AHL).” He later deleted the tweet, but the message was already out there. The Selannes were on the warpath. 

Sirpa was just as upset on social media, telling her Facebook friends the Ducks were going to be in big trouble. 

The Ducks won three straight games against the Kings, first 3–2 with Selanne scoring what would be the last goal of his career, and then 2–0 and 4–3. 

The Ducks had a chance to clinch the series, but the Kings won Game 6 at home 2–1. 

Game 7 was either going to be a great triumph for the Ducks or the last game of Teemu’s career. He didn’t give any interviews the day before the game because he didn’t want to distract the team. 

“I didn’t want anybody starting to think too much about some player’s maybe last game or stuff. It’s not about that, you know. It’s all distractions. The focus should be this game, and only this game,” he said after the morning skate. 

The game turned out to be Teemu’s last. . .and the furthest thing from a Ducks triumph. The Kings scored three unanswered goals in the first period. Teemu texted Sirpa, Syvahuoko, and his friend Mike Pagano during the first intermission: “[F—–g] joke.” 

Los Angeles won 6–2, sending Selanne into retirement bitter and frustrated. 

He did get the farewell he deserved, though, as he was on the ice for the last 1:00 of play and the entire crowd, both Kings and Ducks fans, gave him a standing ovation. Both teams stayed on the ice after the game to pay their respects to the 43-year-old legend. 

“I always remember the Kings players staying on the ice and clapping. It was so classy from their side. It was emotional and it was not the way I was thinking of going out. It was an emotional and melancholic moment. The Kings players were classy, every single one of them came to congratulate me on a great career,” Teemu recalled. 

He kept it together on the ice, but as he stepped off it and high-fived fans on his way to the tunnel, he saw his son Leevi in the crowd and burst into tears. 

“I realized it was truly the end. I had to calm myself down for a while before going into the dressing room,” he said. 

Afterward, he spoke with the media patiently, but he kept his emotions to himself. 

“It’s been a fantastic journey and I could never have imagined, not even in my wildest fantasies, that I’d get to have a career like this. It’s hard to understand that something I’ve done since I was a kid has now come to a sudden stop. 

“There’s nothing wrong in the relationship between Bruce Boudreau and me. We just have a difference of opinion on what kind of a player I am. I know I could still be a first-line player, but this is the right time to retire.” 

While Selanne was answering reporters’ questions, his family and friends were waiting for him at the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 restaurant at the Honda Center, and they were joined by Ducks player Saku Koivu and Francois Beauchemin. 

And when Teemu joined them, he quickly summed up his feelings. 

“This team deserved so much better. It was so disappointing to finish my career this way. I really believed that this team had all the tools to win the Stanley Cup,” he said. 

The Buzzer: Streaks go wrong way for Islanders, Flyers, Stars

Canucks extend Islanders losing streak, streaks go bad for Stars Flyers
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Stars, Islanders, and Flyers don’t get good breaks regarding their respective streaks

Tuesday was a bad day for streaks, whether teams wanted to end them (Islanders, Stars) or continue them (Flyers).

As discussed earlier, Tuukka Rask blanked the Flyers to end Philly’s winning streak at nine games. You can read more about that here, and get more info on Rask’s performance below.

Again, teams that wanted their streaks to end didn’t have luck, either. The Islanders put forth a valiant effort, taking the Canucks to a shootout. Vancouver took home the win, however, pushing the Islanders’ streak to seven straight losses. On the bright side, the Islanders are at least hanging in the wild-card races by managing four “charity points” during this skid (0-3-4). Still, being limited to two wins since Feb. 13 (2-7-4) is no way to secure a playoff spot. The Islanders also play eight of their next 11 games on the road, which won’t make things any easier.

The Stars aren’t in quite the same dogfight to secure a 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs spot, but they must be troubled by the Rangers extending their losing streak to six games (0-4-2). Home-ice looks unlikely after this slump, but Dallas seems reasonably insulated as far as holding onto the third Central spot is concerned … unless this really festers.

Three Stars

1. Nicolas Deslauriers, Anaheim Ducks

With some big performances in bigger games on Tuesday, it was tough to give this spot to a player who won a game between to dreary teams in the Ducks and Senators.

That said, a hat trick is tough to argue with … and a natural hat trick is nigh-undeniable. In this case, it’s fully undeniable, as I’m giving the nod to Deslauriers.

If you don’t like the highlight of the night pick later in this post, soothe your seething anger with this as the alt choice:

Deslauriers generated his hat trick 11:49 into the Ducks’ win, breaking Teemu Selanne’s old mark (12:58) as the fastest in franchise history. It’s also the earliest hat trick since Taylor Hall generated three 7:53 into a March 30, 2013 game as a member of the Oilers (both via NHL PR).

2. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

The Flyers probably have a point if they argue that they should’ve extended their winning streak to 10 games. They played quite well against the Bruins, but couldn’t accomplish enough to score against Rask. Rask managed a 36-save shutout to celebrate his 33rd birthday on Tuesday.

Rask helped the Bruins reach 100 points before any other NHL teams. This also happens to be the seventh time the Bruins reached 100+ points in 70 games or fewer (this time 70).

3. A tie between players with two goals and one assist

Look, if you have a convincing argument for Evgeni Malkin, Sebastian Aho, or Filip Forsberg authoring the superior two-goal, one-assist game on Tuesday, have at it. All three are excellent players, and I didn’t really see much that made one stand far above the other on this specific night.

Highlight of the Night

Hey, it technically doesn’t need to be the NHL highlight of the night, does it? Maybe not? Kings prospect and WHL goalie Lukas Parik scored a goal, and that’s good enough for me. Parik plays for the Spokane Chiefs, and may have a chance to score an NHL goal, as the Kings selected Parik 87th overall in 2019.

NHL Standings after a bad night for streaks

East, with wild card battles continuing to confuse

West, with a nice jump for Predators

Scores

 

TOR 2 – TBL 1
NSH 4 – MTL 2
PIT 5 – NJD 2
BOS 2 – PHI 0
CAR 5 – DET 2
NYR 4 – DAL 2
ANA 5 – OTT 2
VAN 5 – NYI 4 (SO)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Hat trick helps Ovechkin pass Lemieux, tie Yzerman for ninth on NHL goals list

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An historic week for Alex Ovechkin was capped off with a hat trick Saturday afternoon during a 6-4 win over the Islanders. His three goals pushes him past Mario Lemieux and into ninth place with 692, tying him with Steve Yzerman.

Ovechkin opened the scoring and then passed Mario Lemieux for 10th all-time in the third period as the Capitals mounted their comeback. He ended his day with an empty-netter to seal the win and tie Yzerman. The Islanders led 4-1 entering the third period.

Powered by two consecutive hat tricks, Ovechkin has eight goals in his last three games and 10 in his previous six.

That’s now three consecutive multi-goal games for Ovechkin, the first time he’s done that in his career. Earlier this week he not only passed Teemu Selanne for 11th on the all-time goals list but also hit the 30-goal mark for the 15th time in his career. He, along with Jaromir Jagr and Mike Gartner, are the only players to ever record 15 consecutive 30-goal seasons.

With three goals Saturday — the third time he’s recorded hat tricks in consecutive games — Ovechkin now has 34 on the season as he eyes a ninth 50-goal season. His hat trick was the 26th of his NHL career, tying him with Maurice Richard for eighth all-time.

Next in Ovechkin’s sights? Mark Messier, who finished with 694 goals in his career.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Hart, Hayes lead Flyers past Capitals

Carter Hart #79 and Kevin Hayes #13 of the Philadelphia Flyers
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The Philadelphia Flyers responded after a disappointing road trip with a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday Night Hockey.

Kevin Hayes scored a go-ahead shorthanded goal in the second period, Carter Hart made 26 saves and the Flyers snapped a four-game losing streak.

Nicklas Backstrom and Jakub Vrana scored, but the Capitals’ three-game winning streak came to an end. Braden Holtby added 24 saves.

Home is where Hart is

The young Flyers goaltender has been excellent on home ice and improved to 12-1-2 in 15 starts at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

It is common for an inexperienced goaltender to be more comfortable in his natural surroundings, but Hart does need to take the next step in order to solidify the Flyers goaltending position. In 15 road games, Hart is 2-9-1 with a 4.01 GAA and .850 save percentage.

Hart’s strong play at home is an encouraging sign for his development, but the Flyers need Hart to round out his game to be considered a threat in the Eastern Conference.

Ovechkin still tied with Selanne

The Capitals captain scored twice on Tuesday to tie Teemu Selanne for 11th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list but failed to pass the “Finnish Flash” in the loss against the Flyers.

Alex Ovechkin is currently 211 goals short of Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals and Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan believes he might be able to achieve something that was thought to be impossible.

“Health is obviously going to play a big factor,” MacLellan said on Sportsnet Wednesday. “He still shoots the puck well. As long as he has the shot, and we have a good enough team surrounding him, and our power play stays in the top 10, he has a chance to play for a long time. I think longevity is the key to him.”

Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

The Buzzer: Lightning score 9 goals; Predators lose big in Hynes debut

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Three Stars

1. Carter Verhaeghe, Tampa Bay Lightning. They are back. The Lightning won their eighth game in a row on Tuesday night by running the Vancouver Canucks out of the building in a 9-2 win. There were a lot of players that could have been a star in this one, including Brayden Point (four points) and Steven Stamkos (two goals). But top star honors go to Verhaeghe for his first career hat trick. Entering play on Tuesday the 24-year-old rookie had just two goals and four assists this season in 28 games. He topped that goal total against the Canucks. The nine goals tied a franchise record for the Lightning.

2. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes were able to inch back ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division (tied in points, but Arizona has played one fewer game) thanks to their 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Ekman-Larsson was a beast in this game with a goal, two assists, four shots on goal, and finishing as a plus-two while playing a game-high 24 minutes. Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall also had big games for the Coyotes were able to get two points while playing with their third-string goalie (Adin Hill).

3. Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets. As if the free agent departures were not enough to deal with, the Blue Jackets have also been dealing with a seemingly never-ending list of injuries. Despite all of that they are still right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race, and this guy is one of the biggest reasons why. He scored two third period goals on Tuesday to help lead the Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. They are now tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for the second Wild Card spot in the East with 50 points. Werenski now has 15 goals for the season, tops among all NHL defenseman. That puts him on pace for 30 goals this season.

Other notable performances from Tuesday

  • Artemi Panarin had three points for the New York Rangers as they were 5-3 winners over the Colorado Avalanche. Read more about their win here.
  • New coach, same result for the Nashville Predators. They lost John Hynes’ coaching debut in the music city by a 6-2 margin to the Boston Bruins. They have now lost five out of their past six games.
  • Alex Ovechkin scored two goals for the Washington Capitals as they were big winners over the Ottawa Senators.
  • Anders Lee scored the overtime winner for the New York Islanders as they were winners over the New Jersey Devils.
  • The Montreal Canadiens lost their seventh game in a row, this time losing to the Detroit Red Wings. Frans Nielsen scored two goals for the Red Wings while Filip Zadina continued his strong play with another goal.
  • Another game-winning goal for David Perron as the St. Louis Blues snapped their three-game losing streak with a win against the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks lost Logan Couture to injury in that game. Read more about it here.
  • On the same day they were added to the NHL All-Star Game (read more about that here) Kris Letang and Tristan Jarry played great games for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.
  • Elias Lindholm provided all the offense for the Calgary Flames in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. For Lindholm, it was the 500th game of his NHL career.

Highlights of the Night

Dougie Hamilton might be the best defenseman in the NHL right now (read about it here), and he scored a beauty in overtime for the Carolina Hurricanes. They also signed Justin Williams to a one-year contract on a big Tuesday night for them. Read more about that here.

What an incredible individual effort here by New Jersey Devils young star Nico Hischier.

The Lightning scored six goals in the second period, including these three in under a minute.

 

Blooper of the Night

It takes a lot of confidence to try this move in a game, especially when you are losing at the time. It will probably make your coach pretty unhappy if you end up losing the game. Fortunately for Andrei Svechnikov, the Hurricanes won.

Factoids

  • Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan gets his 200th win with the team. [NHL PR]
  • Alex Ovechkin’s two goals move him into a tie with Teemu Selanne for 11th place on the NHL’s all-time list. [NHL PR]
  • Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak now has an 11-game point streak, the longest active point streak in the NHL. [NHL PR]

Scores

Tampa Bay Lightning 9, Vancouver Canucks 2
Arizona Coyote 5, Florida Panthers 2
New York Islanders 4, New Jersey Devils 3 (OT)
Washington Capitals 6, Ottawa Senators 1
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Philadelphia Flyers 4 (OT)
New York Rangers 5, Colorado Avalanche 3
Detroit Red Wings 4, Montreal Canadiens 3
St. Louis Blues 3, San Jose Sharks 2
Boston Bruins 6, Nashville Predators 2
Calgary Flames 2, Chicago Blackhawks 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Vegas Golden Knights 3
Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Anaheim Ducks 3

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.