Ducks’ Teemu Selanne has unfinished, and Finnish, business
One goal from 600 in his NHL career, Teemu Selanne was down on the ice Sunday, getting up excruciatingly slowly after slamming into the boards.
On Tuesday morning, the 39-year-old Finn was back on the ice with a slightly sprained left shoulder, and he is likely to be in the lineup Tuesday night when the Ducks play the Chicago Blackhawks.
Selanne has had a broken hand, a broken jaw and a sprained shoulder this season.
“It has been unbelievable,” he said. “How to even describe it, injury after injury.”
He has missed 26 games in what could be his final season. He doesn’t want to miss another, and not just because he’s sitting on 599 goals.
“That’s not the motivation. We still have a chance to battle for the playoffs,” Selanne said, though that chance is slim at 10 points out with 14 games to go. “You keep fighting as long as we have a chance. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Keenly aware of the two milestones Selanne is on the verge of — he’s also two goals shy of boyhood idol Jari Kurri’s career mark of 601, 17th in NHL history — his teammates were looking for him Sunday, and will be again.
No. 599 Sunday was a beauty, an end-to-end play with Selanne displaying the speed that earned him the nickname the Finnish Flash. He dropped the puck to Saku Koivu and Koivu sent it back, and Selanne put it in just inside the near post.
After he got that one, the Ducks kept trying to set Selanne up, especially on a five-on-three power play.
“I felt like the puck was coming from everywhere,” he said. “The boys were really trying to feed me.”
When he was foiled on one chance, he bent over, helmet to stick.
“I just couldn’t believe it didn’t go in,” Selanne said. “I was more laughing, like, ‘Come on!’ ”
He has 20 goals in only 42 games this season. The thing he doesn’t know is how many more there will be, since he might choose to retire, though he has flirted with it before.
“For sure, it comes in my mind once in a while, how many years I’ve been able to play and how many could be left,” Selanne said. “Still, with the schedule we have, you make sure you don’t think about it too much. You start preparing for the next one.”