The Hockey Guys take a look at the amazing career of the “Finnish Flash” Teemu Selanne.
Craig Anderson became an answer to a National Hockey League trivia question.
The question, “Who did Teemu Selanne score his 600th National Hockey League goal against?”
Don’t feel bad Craig, the man known as the Finnish Flash has made many goaltenders answers/victims over his illustrious 16 year career.
In those sixteen seasons, he has played in Winnipeg, Anaheim, San Jose, Colorado and Anaheim again. He says after this season this is going to be it for his NHL playing career. ” A man of my age doesn’t belong in this league.” Could’ve fooled us, Teemu, you look pretty in step, from where we can see.
But age(39) and a myriad of injuries have made it tougher for this future Hall of Fame-bound right wing from Helsinki, Finland. He can proudly look back on his career and do so without regret.
Even through a rocky, up and down career Selanne has put up numbers that only true superstar’s of the game can. However, aside from just black and white numbers the intangibles he brought to the ice spoke just as loud and hold equal value.
A ten time NHL All-Star and in 1998 Selanne was the first ever European born player to score a hat-trick during the All-Star game and be named the All-Star game’s MVP.
Teemu Selanne didn’t just light up the National Hockey League. He ranks as the all time points scoring leader in Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey, scoring a remarkable 38 points in 31 games for Team Finland. He was also named the Finnish ice hockey player of the year seven different times.
He received the Calder Memorial Trophy as the leagues Rookie of the Year in 1993.
(Finnish)”Flash” forward In 2006, Selanne received the Bill Masterson Trophy which is an annual award given to a player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.
However, there is only one trophy each and every player to ever take part in the fine sport of ice hockey truly play the game for.
On the night of June 6th, 2007, we saw why Selanne truly played this game. It was on this night his Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup for the first time in it’s brief history, a history that Selanne is firmly entrenched in.
European hockey players never get the credit for truly appreciating the honor of holding that wonderful 36 lbs. silver cup. Teemu Selanne shattered that myth for many.
Clearly overwhelmed with emotion, when lifting that cup over his head, he looked like any other North American hockey player, who’s dreams were truly fulfilled at this very moment.
If you were to ask him what his greatest accomplishment was during his pro career, without hesitation it would be winning the 2007 Stanley Cup.
To win the cup with Anaheim was truly significant for Selanne because he is the standard in scoring for this franchise. He is their alltime leader in goals, assists, points and powerplay goals.
Where his career started though, was a long way away from sunny Southern California.
It all began in the snowy city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he was selected 10th overall in the 1988 NHL Entry draft. He didn’t play right away, electing to stay and play for Jokerit, in his native Finland. It was there where he crafted his skills, enabling him to burst onto the scene in the 1992-93 season and dominate the league like he did.
The white, blue and red trim of the Jets home jersey would be more of a blur if you had seats up against the glass at the Ol’ Barn on Maroons Road. Especially when the Finnish Flash had the puck on his stick.
It didn’t take long for him to take the league by storm. On October 8th, 1992 against Jeff Hackett, another netminder to have his name placed within an NHL trivia question(he did that a lot) Selanne scored the first goal of his career. It was just the start of a record breaking season for the Finnish Flash.
Selanne became only the 18th player in the history of the NHL to score 600 goals. To top that, his name places on a list that’s compiled of only two other European born players.
His number may have changed a few times,his team a few more times, but his game – never.
He not only shattered New York Islanders legendary sniper Mike Bossy’s rookie goal scoring record, tallying 76, but he also set a National Hockey League rookie point scoring record of 132 points.
Sign of things to come? I would say that is an understatement.