Teemu’s smilestone

Selänne scores 600th NHL goal as the third European player

22.03.2010
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Teemu Selänne presents the puck he scored his historic 600th regular season goal on Sunday. Photo: Debora Robinson / NHLI via Getty Images

STOCKHOLM – Teemu Selänne, the Finnish forward who a month ago became the all-time Olympic scoring leader, added another milestone to his resumé when he scored once in the Anaheim Ducks’ game against the Colorado Avalanche, and became the 18th player, and third European, to get to 600 regular season goals. "The way my teammates, and my linemates, have been feeding me recently, has been amazing. I think they wanted this more than I did," Selänne said, laughing. And yes, Teemu – even if he’s also known as "the Finnish Flash" and "Teme" – is one of those superstar athletes who are on a first-name basis with the world. "It was fun to get it, but to have it happen at home makes it way more special. I remember the first one like it was yesterday, it was at the Cow Palace against the Sharks. I remember a lot of them, but still .. Time is flying .. If somebody had told me that I'd get 600, I would have called the doctor," he said. Teemu Selänne, the forever-young, ever-smiling Peter Pan of the hockey world had just emerged as the next big Finnish superstar when Queen, the British rock band, released its 1991 hit single "These Are the Days of Our Lives", but the song's lyrics may resonate with the veteran forward today. 'cause these are the days of our lives
They've flown in the swiftness of time
These days are all gone now but some things remain
When I look and I find – no change
Back in the 1990s, a there was a margarine commercial in which a kid asked his mother: “What did we have before we had Flora?” Looking at Teemu Selänne’s career, Finnish hockey fans can be excused for asking what they had before Teemu. Of course, there was Jari Kurri, Selänne's former Anaheim and national team teammate, currently Team Finland GM, and a full history of Finnish legends, but Selänne’s career achievements make him sound even older than 39, like he's always been there. Even if he entered the NHL first as a 22-year-old, Selänne played his first games and scored his first goal in the Finnish Division I in 1987-88, as a 17-year-old. The next season he led the way when Jokerit Helsinki stormed back up to the SM-liiga, scoring 36 goals (and 69 points) in 35 games. He broke his leg the next season, and was limited to just 11 games but returned, and in 1992 he led Jokerit to a Finnish title, having also won the goal scoring title. He was the poster boy for milk in Finland in the early 1990s, working part-time at a kindergarten by day, and scoring goals for Jokerit by night. He won the Calder Trophy, shattered the rookie goal record, scoring 76 goals in a season, and then led the NHL in scoring in 1993, 1998, and 1999. He was in a famous car crash in 1999 when his rally car hit the car driven by Finnish federation’s chairman Kalervo Kummola head on when Selänne was testing his car for a race. He's scored big goals for the Finnish national team, and he’s also been voted the Most Positive Person in Finland. And when Selänne finally won the Stanley Cup in 2007, and brought the world's most famous trophy to Helsinki, ten thousand people came to the Train Station Square to celebrate the victory with him. While Selänne may be the most easygoing superstar in the world, in any sport - you’d be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't like the man who always seems to have time for everybody – he’s no stranger to hard work, or dedication to his profession. In an early biography, written by Teemu’s father Ilari Selänne, there’s a scene in which Teemu and Keijo Säilynoja – currently the CEO of Jokerit – massage each other at a junior national team camp, using olive oil, to make sure they’ll be ready to play the next day. The attention to detail and being prepared are also the secret of his long career, and that he’s still, at 39, the Finnish Flash. "Only 17 guys have (scored 600 goals) before me, so it’s a unique and special group. You need a lot of luck, hard work and great players to play with and I've had all of those things," he said. Next one on the list is a fellow Finn and Teemu’s friend, Jari Kurri, with 601. "Yes, Jari’s the next one, but getting 600 was more important," he said. Finland’s famous for goalies, not for playing high scoring hockey, and the fact that two out of three European 600 NHL goal scorers are Finnish, is a staggering fact. Jaromir Jagr (646) seems safe, as Selänne said in the fall that this season will be his last. But, maybe it wont be. "Since the lockout, after I fixed my knee, I’ve been enjoying hockey more than ever. I love the game, but at my age, recovering and getting back is so hard. To be healthy and to play with great players, you can’t ask for more than that. I’ve been very lucky, and I’m very thankful for that,” he said. "When I was young, I dreamt that I’d get 50 goals like the big players, but the biggest thing about playing team sports is that it’s so hard to win. You have to lift everybody to the same level and that’s why team sports are so challenging. If individual numbers were important to me, I’d probably be in an individual sport. There’s nothing better that team sports,” he added. Those were the days of our lives - yeah
The bad things in life were so few
Those days are all gone now but one things still true
When I look and I find
I still love you
He still loves the game. And we still love him. RISTO PAKARINEN  
A breakdown of Selanne’s 600 NHL goals:

<table> <tbody><tr><td>Scored as a Duck:</td><td width="3"> </td><td>373 (147 with Winnipeg, 64 with San Jose, 16 with Colorado)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>At Honda Center</td><td width="3"> </td><td>201</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>At Honda Center as a Duck</td><td width="3"> </td><td>198 (199 in Ducks “home” games – includes one goal in neutral site game in Japan)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>At Honda Center as a Visitor</td><td width="3"> </td><td>3 (one with Winnipeg, two with San Jose)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>As a Duck on the Road</td><td width="3"> </td><td>174</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>In Home Games</td><td width="3"> </td><td>321 (Jets/Sharks/Avalanche/Ducks combined)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>In Road Games</td><td width="3"> </td><td>279 (Jets/Sharks/Avalanche/Ducks combined)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>Number of NHL Arenas</td><td width="3"> </td><td>52 (Includes every active arena except New Jersey’s Prudential Center)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>Number of NHL Goalies</td><td width="3"> </td><td>132</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>Against Hall of Fame Goalies</td><td width="3"> </td><td>17 (2 goalies, Grant Fuhr, 7 & Patrick Roy, 10)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>Against Vezina Trophy Winners</td><td width="3"> </td><td>70 (against 13 goalies)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>Most vs. One Team</td><td width="3"> </td><td>46 vs. San Jose</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>Most vs. One Goalie</td><td width="3"> </td><td>17 (Curtis Joseph and Mike Vernon)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>Multi Goal Games</td><td width="3"> </td><td>114</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>Hat Tricks</td><td width="3"> </td><td>21 (12 with Ducks)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>Most Goals in One Game</td><td width="3"> </td><td>4 (Twice, both with Winnipeg)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>First NHL Goal</td><td width="3"> </td><td>10/8/92 with Winnipeg @ San Jose</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1"> </td><td rowspan="1" width="3"></td><td rowspan="1"></td></tr> <tr><td>First at Honda Center</td><td width="3"> </td><td>1/27/95 with Winnipeg (against Guy Hebert)</td></tr> </tbody></table>

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