DUCKS' FLASHBACK NEW NHL RULES ARE HELPING VETERAN SELANNE THRIVE AGAIN.Byline: ELLIOTT TEAFORD Staff Writer
The game was all but won, but Teemu Selanne wanted more.
The Ducks' right wing had already scored two goals, but he had promised an ill friend back home in Finland that he would try for three that night against the Dallas Stars The Dallas Stars are a professional ice hockey team based in Dallas, Texas. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Prior to 1993, the team was known as the Minnesota North Stars. .
Selanne skated into the attacking zone along the left wing, stopping on a dime and then faked out a befuddled defenseman when he suddenly rocketed away again. He shifted the puck to his backhand and waited until the goaltender made the first move. Almost casually, he slipped the puck into the back of the net.
Later, he would tell reporters he only scored the third goal as a gift to an unnamed friend dying from cancer. He said he did not wish to appear greedy.
Selanne's performance Jan. 11 in Dallas was merely another reminder of his uncommon grace on and off the ice. His hat trick hat trick
1. Three goals scored by one player in one game, as in ice hockey.
2. Three wickets taken in cricket by a bowler in three consecutive balls.
3. also was the 19th of his career and cemented his selection for the 10th time to the NHL NHL Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, see there All-Star Game An all-star game is an exhibition game played by the best players in their sports league. The players are often chosen by a popular vote of fans of the sport and the game often occurs at the halfway point of the regular season, although this is not the case for some all-star games .
In the days that followed the Ducks' 5-1 victory over Dallas, as the tale of Selanne's promise to a friend spread like wildfire around the league, his selection to the Western Conference team seemed all the more fitting.
``It's always a big honor to be selected,'' the 36-year-old Selanne said. ``It's not the first time, but it could be the last one. You never know. It is a nice compliment.''
It's also a no-brainer.
Selanne is tied with four others for the league lead with 30 goals going into the All-Star Game tonight in Dallas. He is on pace to top last season's total of 40 and might even surpass 50 for the first time since he had an NHL-leading 52 during his first stint with the Ducks in 1997-98.
``In my opinion, he's one of the best, most powerful skaters out there,'' St.Louis Blues forward Bill Guerin William 'Bill' Robert Guerin (born November 9 1970, in Worcester, Massachusetts) is a professional ice hockey right wing for the NHL's New York Islanders. Playing career
Bill Guerin has played for the Dallas Stars, the Boston Bruins, the Edmonton Oilers, the St. said of Selanne. ``He's great on the power play. He's got a great shot. And it's all because of his legs. He had a stop-and-go move the other night in Anaheim, and it was like he was 22 years old again.''
Not to be overlooked, Selanne also has the Ducks parked in first place in the Pacific Division and second overall in the Western Conference with a 30-12-8 record, the franchise's best mark at the All-Star break.
What's more, although no one keeps an official tally of such things, he might just lead the league in autographs, smiles and pats on the back. Certainly, he keeps the Ducks smiling because of his good humor Noun 1. good humor - a cheerful and agreeable mood
amiability, good humour, good temper
humour, mood, temper, humor - a characteristic (habitual or relatively temporary) state of feeling; "whether he praised or cursed me depended on his temper at the time"; .
``It's just the way he enjoys the game, the way he goes about his business, his work ethic work ethic
A set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.
a belief in the moral value of work ,'' said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle Randy Carlyle (born April 19, 1956 in Sudbury, Ontario) is a former hockey defenceman and currently the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks. He was raised in a town called Azilda, just northwest of Sudbury. , a teammate when Selanne scored 76 goals with the Winnipeg Jets The Winnipeg Jets were a professional ice hockey team based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. They played in both the World Hockey Association (WHA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1972 to 1996. and earned Rookie of the Year Rookie of the Year may refer to:
Alex Gilchrist, the Ducks' media relations director, is the unofficial team historian, which means he keeps tracks of Selanne's wisecracks as well as his goals, assists and off-ice good deeds.
``He's always the last guy on the bus because he has friends in every city,'' Gilchrist said. ``He signs autographs for everyone who wants one. Forty-five minutes later, it's me grabbing him and telling him we have to go.''
Selanne's best humor is often reserved for teammates, coaches and staff members as the club travels from city to city during the NHL's 82-game grind. Gilchrist recalls story after story, but twostand out above the rest.
Once, after a dispiriting dis·pir·it
tr.v. dis·pir·it·ed, dis·pir·it·ing, dis·pir·its
To lower in or deprive of spirit; dishearten. See Synonyms at discourage.
[di(s)- + spirit.]
Adj. loss on the road, Selanne broke the silence during what seemed to him to be an extraordinarily long bus ride to the airport.
``OK, the joke's over,'' he said. ``Let's go Let's Go may refer to: Television
Frowns turned to smiles, silence to laughter.
Another time, when informed the team might have to fly through a hurricane to get from Tampa, Fla., to Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale (lô`dərdāl), residential, commercial, and resort city (1990 pop. 149,377), seat of Broward co., SE Fla., on the Atlantic coast; settled around a fort built (c.1837) in the Seminole War, inc. 1911. , Selanne protested.
``I'm not going,'' he said. ``Let's rent cars and drive. Who's with me?''
The storm passed and the Ducks arrived safely.
And to think, all this might just be ancient history if the longest labor impasse in sports history hadn't forced the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, giving Selanne a chance to undergo reconstructive knee surgery and his peers the opportunity to devise several new rule changes to open up the game after nearly a decade of defensive drudgery.
In 2003-04 while with the Colorado Avalanche The Colorado Avalanche are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver, Colorado, United States. They are members of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Avalanche have won the Stanley Cup twice, in 1996 and 2001. , the Finnish Flash looked, well, finished. It was clear to even the most casual observer that Selanne's speed was gone as he slumped to a career-low 16 goals.
His skills had seemed to be on the decline since the Ducks had traded him to the San Jose Sharks The San Jose Sharks are a professional ice hockey team based in San Jose, California, United States. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). late in the 2000-01 season, but this was rock bottom.
Surgery and a crackdown on hooking, holding and interference gave Selanne a chance to prolong his career after the lockout lockout, intentional closing up of a company, factory, or shop by an employer to prevent employees from working during a strike or labor dispute. The term lockout was settled in the summer of 2005. All he needed was a new place to play.
As it turned out, he found an old place to play.
``We gambled on him, but it was a good gamble,'' Ducks general manager Brian Burke For the hockey executive, see .
Brian Thomas Burke (born in Perth, 25 February 1947) was premier of Western Australia from 25 February 1983 until his resignation on 25 February 1988. In 1994, Burke was imprisoned for seven months after being convicted of rorting travel expenses. said of signing Selanne to a one-season, $1 million contract for 2005-06.
Selanne rewarded Burke's faith in him by scoring 40 goals, adding 50 assists and leading the Ducks to the Western Conference finals, where they lost to eventual Stanley Cup Stanley Cup: see hockey, ice.
Trophy awarded annually to the winning team of the National Hockey League championship. Named for its donor, the Canadian governor-general Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston Finals runner-up Edmonton.
Selanne then accepted a one-year contract for a modest $3.75 million for this season, enabling Burke to trade for All-Star defenseman Chris Pronger last July and giving the Ducks the look of a genuine Stanley Cup contender.
``(Getting another chance to win the Stanley Cup) is the only reason I came back,'' Selanne said. ``The individual stats don't mean anything to me. The first 10 games I had a tough time. I got a little bit of a slow start. I wanted to go to the playoffs right away. The playoffs were so much fun last year.''
For his part, Pronger said he is pleased to be on Selanne's side for once instead of chasing after him for so many seasons with the Oilers and St. Louis Blues. Fierce rivals on the ice as opponents, they have become friends as teammates.
``He's enjoying the team we have here,'' Pronger said. ``It wasn't always like this when he was here the first time (with the mediocre Ducks from 1996 to 2001). I know a lot of the guys I've talked to around the league have been saying he is pushing himself to higher levels.''
Ask Selanne for the reason behind his late-career resurgence, and he sounds baffled. A healthy knee is part of it, and so are the new rules that fit his game perfectly, but Selanne can't pinpoint just one reason.
``I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. , honestly,'' he said. ``I don't think about it. It just feels good to skate. When you play with such good players and the team is winning, everything feels quite easy. When you feel healthy, you feel so young. When you're hurting, you feel so beaten down. It's only how you feel that is most important.
``Obviously, these last two years are the most fun I've had in my career.''
3 photos, 3 boxes
(1 -- color) The Ducks' Teemu Selanne, known as the `Finnish Flash,' is tied with four others for the league lead with 30 goals going into the All-Star Game tonight in Dallas. He is on pace to top last season's total of 40.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
(2 -- 3) To pay homage to a sick friend, Teemu Selanne scored three goals against Dallas on Jan. 11, much to the chagrin of Stars goaltender Marty Turco, below. Selanne's play has helped the Ducks to a 30-12-8 record at the All-Star break.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Matt Slocum/Associated Press
(1) ALL-STAR ROSTERS
(2) MOST GOALS IN AN ALL-STAR GAME