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Teemu Week: AC Favorites

The AC staff recount some of our favorite memories and moments in the long and illustrious career of the Finnish Flash.

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Kid Ish: My favorite Teemu Selanne moment actually comes from Chris Pronger's take on an incident from the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002. In the 2000-01 playoffs between St. Louis and San Jose, Pronger nailed Selanne along the wall. At the Olympics in 2002, Selanne got his payback with a high boarding against Pronger.

Pronger has publicly said that Selanne's hit was the single most angry he's ever been with a player in his life. He confirmed that he told Teemu in the handshake line after, "I'm going to f***ing get you." It never happened, although Chris said he tried a few times before 2006-07. Pronger says when he got to Anaheim, the first thing he did was look up Selanne to (jokingly) get into it with him. Obviously the two made their peace, but there's always been something endearing to me about the Finnish Flash pissing off the dirtiest player in the game with a payback hit -- before the two became Cup winning teammates.

Daniel: I was on my couch watching the Ducks play the Kings. Selanne cut across from the right wing side, making a move to his backhand. He tucked the puck under the bar to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead. Before I knew it, I had jumped off my couch and was screaming, "He did it! He did it!" My then girlfriend, she who must not be named, came out of the kitchen to find me standing in my living room with my eyes full of tears. I don't know why I was so happy, but watching Selanne score his 1000th point was a great moment in sports for me. It was my favorite player, reaching an important mile stone. I'll never forget that moment.

Editorial Addendum to Daniel's Entry (Chris): That's one of my favorites too.  I was at that game, incredible moment, but more importantly, as I was compiling this post last night, I was watching the Prime Ticket rebroadcast of this exact game.

It was outstanding to see all of those old names and faces.  Todd Fedoruk riding shotgun with rookies Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, while 'stache-less George Parros was taking runs at Getzy (with a full head of hair); Mathieu Garon starting something like his 30th of the past 32 games for the Kings (the good old days); Scott Niedermayer and Andy McDonald tearing it up; The reprehensible line of Dustin Brown, Sean Avery and Eric Belanger; Even being reminded of the Lokomotiv tragedy by Pavel Demitra and references to Ruslan Salei (Rusty was injured) brought back good memories with the bad.

Not only was it fun to reminisce, it was an incredibly exciting game with plenty of scoring, chances galore, some intense hockey toughness when Matias Norstrom skated off, spitting blood, after being plugged in the face by a Getzlaf slapper.  Even though I knew the result I was on the edge of my seat.  Grandma Fiddler would have been proud. (s/t Puck Podcast)

It was all good, until....... "Due to time constraints, we now move ahead in our coverage on Fox Sports."  AND THEY SKIPPED TEEMU'S 1000th POINT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE ENTIRE REASON THAT THEY WERE SHOWING THE GAME WAS EDITED OUT OF THE BROADCAST! WHAT THE ACTUAL F***!?!?  DID PATRICK O'NEAL EDIT THIS GAME OR WHAT?!

I understand it was a fun game and tough to pick a spot to cut and keep it to two hours... but come the F*** on!  How about the three minutes where John Ahlers was joined by two UFC fighters in the booth?  Or any number of advertising bumpers for Honda or Jack in the Box?  ...or literally anything else (except Scotty's OT winner, good lord that was beautiful), but NOOOOOOOO, let's take out the only historically relevant moment from the game that you are rebroadcasting for it's historical relevance.  F-Minus, Fox Sports.  No soup for you.

Since they didn't show it, here's the goal, it was a beauty:

Derek: On January 12th 2007, Teemu talked to a friend in Finland who had terminal cancer that had just spread to his brain. The friend asked Teemu to send him the puck if he scored a hat trick, but Teemu cautioned him that it had been six years since he'd had one. Sure enough, he scored three goals that same evening against the Dallas Stars in a 5-1 win. The first was a classic power play one-time from the left dot, the second was a quasi-breakaway also on the power play, and the third was an absolute thing of beauty at even strength. Racing down the left side, he faked a slapshot then moved the puck to his backhand, where he delivered a perfectly placed floater right between the legs of Marty Turco. At 36 years of age, he had tied Alex Ovechkin and Martin St. Louis for the league lead in goal scoring while crushing a divisional rival. But more importantly, he honored his friend's request and sent him the puck. That's just Teemu being Teemu.

Eric: Having spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in the metro Detroit area, the Red Wings were a consistent point of reference for much of my early development as a hockey fan. Teemu's first go around with the Mighty Ducks was a wonder of production that I followed along by reading The Hockey News, yet when he and Anaheim met Detroit in their first two playoff series his play never seemed to match the ink thanks to the Red Wings early form as the NHL's new evolving Big Bad. By the time 2006-07 rolled around the Ducks were a contender and the Red Wings, while still the Big Bad, were a somewhat chastened one thanks to a string of early outs at the hands of Anaheim, Calgary, and Edmonton.

Come the Conference Final and it was the red menace in Anaheim's way, I couldn't help but flash back to the teams that made my hockey fandom (and existence being THAT GUY who didn't root for the Wings) in high school so miserable. May 20th rolled around and with game six tickets in my back pocket, I was hoping for something heroic. Going to overtime on the back of an '03-esque goalie god Giguere performance and snatching a last minute Niedermayer equalizer, the Ducks needed, nay, deserved the win after having been the better team in both of the previous games in Detroit and only winning one.

So when Andreas Lilja coughed the puck up to Teemu and Selanne backhanded it by a snow-angeling Dominik Hasek, it prompted a wild yelling celebration that sent me running out into the streets of the neighborhood jumping and pumping my fists (the only other time I've reacted like that since was for Landon Donovan's goal against Algeria to put the USA through in the 2010 World Cup). Selanne had done it, the red menace was set to be vanquished in my presence. It was a moment of pure sports joy born of a lifetime of experience that's still one of the most satisfying feelings I've felt watching hockey, all thanks to the magic of Teemu Selanne.

Kyle: It's probably extremely cliche of me to say that it's hard to choose just one moment of Teemu's illustrious career to designate as my "favorite" moment. But that's because it's true.

This is the guy who at every home game would toss multiple pucks over the glass to small kids who looked up to him with inspired eyes in an effort to make their night that much more special. This is the guy who repeatedly stays for hours on end to sign everything every fan brings to him so that nobody who wants an autograph leaves disappointed. This is a guy who never forgot exactly who it is that made him who he is today.

Not to mention this is a guy who leads the Ducks franchise in every major offensive category (for now) and holds records in the league's history that are still yet to fall (and probably never will).

This is the guy who scored the most important goal in franchise history on the magical run to its first Stanley Cup.

But as for my favorite moment: it came not when he lifted the giant silver chalice for the first time, but soon after. Pierre MacGuire got to Teemu and asked him if he wanted to talk, Teemu nodded his head, tears in his eyes and overcome with emotion. Even in the midst of him accomplishing his lifelong dream, Teemu took time to talk to the media, and to the fans watching around the world.

And even in the most tear filled emotional moment, he had a little laugh in responding to the first question.

Just like we've come to know and love from him.

Liz: My favorite Teemu moment is from the 2009-2010 season, more specifically in March. The Ducks were 33-29-9 with 12 games remaining in the regular season, and Anaheim was set to host the Colorado Avalanche. Teemu Selanne had tallied his 599th career goal one week prior in Anaheim's 4-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Finally, the Finnish Flash tallied his 600th NHL goal, and the subsequent celebration was one I will never forget witnessing. The pure elation exuded by Selanne and his entire team was second only to their celebration over winning the Stanley Cup. I also have to point out that Getzlaf rushed to pick up the puck, making absolutely sure that Teemu can add it to his collection of milestone pucks.

Cory: I've seen a lot of Teemu Selanne goals throughout his career, but the one that I remember most is his game tying goal against the Dallas Stars on March 23, 2011. I don't think I've ever seen him happier after scoring a goal. He jumps up and down behind the net like a crazy man. The game itself was exciting and Teemu tying the game that late in the third period was amazing. Cam Fowler's overtime goal to win the game is a nice bonus too.

Kristen: As someone who became a Ducks fan within the last five years, I don't have any first hand memories of the Selanne and Kariya years, or the 2007 playoffs. But even fans who did observe Teemu's heyday understand that his greatness is more than the thousands of points that he scored in the NHL.

My 'Teemu moment' is Great Eight's decision to withdraw from the 2012 All-Star Game and name Corey Perry in his place. At first, this might sound like a career low. But consider the circumstances: Teemu was enjoying a career resurgence, having scored a team-leading 66 points during the 2010-11 season, and this All-Star Game would have been his 11th. Though Teemu is often lauded for his agelessness, he was willing to cede the floor to a younger Duck. He was a great athlete - and an even greater person.

Ben: At the risk of sounding cliche, my favorite Teemu moment (other than the moment he lifted the Cup with eyes full of tears) comes just from this past April. His last regular season game of his career at Honda Center was a special night. He was awarded all three stars of the game and took a skate around the rink to thank the crowd before entering the postseason, where the next game is never guaranteed. The limelight was squarely on Teemu after the Ducks knocked off Colorado in overtime, but what he did next really exemplifies the kind of person he is. He skated over to the crowd of Avs players, pulled out his old buddy Jean-Sebastian Giguere, and brought him along for one more victory lap they could share together. Teemu could have just taken a lap or two on his own; the night belonged to him after all, but he chose to share it with another fan favorite instead, since it was Jiggy's last game as well. And on a stage that was set for one, I suddenly saw my two favorite players of all time, both on their curtain call, receiving a roaring ovation from the Ducks fans in attendance in thanks for all they've done for the Anaheim Ducks organization. Is it getting a little misty in here?

[Ed. Note:  All the feelz.... -CK]

Lois: More than any of the wizardly acts of magic done by the Finnish Flash, it was one of my personal meetings with THE Teemu Selanne that remains my favorite moment. After experiencing one of the most inspiring and tear-jerking moments in my life minutes before when Teemu Selanne brought out Jiggy for a last skate around the Honda Center...meeting the man himself flat out made it one of the best days of my life. I had stayed up all night finish a charcoal drawing of Teemu hoping to get it signed. I was blessed enough to be able to do a meet & greet after that last regular season game with Teemu. I (im)patiently waited while Teemu greeted his other guests. When it was finally my turn, he took my drawing, looked straight at me and asked if I really drew it. He took a second look and said, "Really good. This is really good." Teemu Selanne approved! My life was complete. He signed it and we took a picture together. The best part of the story though was that he was surprised that I took the drawing back. He thought it was a gift for him. If only I had known....

Chris: I have to agree with most everyone else's choices, but since most of the recent career milestones are covered above, I'm also going to go with a personal experience.  It was February 24, 2008, my birthday, and only Teemu's tenth game after having returned from mini-retirement following the 2007 Stanley Cup.

I normally wear a hat to every game I go to, just in case it needs to be sacrificed to the Hockey Gods, but I forgot it at home this time.  And wouldn't you know it, my favorite player of all time had two goals in the first period.  So out of superstition, or whatever, I ran to the team store in the intermission.  They even had a Teemu hat, but it was kids sized, I bought it hoping that I wouldn't have to keep it for long.

In the third period Teemu completed the hat trick and I got my wish.  We were in my then girlfriend's (now wife's) parents seats behind the goal in the lower bowl so I threw it as high as I could to try and get it over the netting.  Not surprisingly it didn't make it.  When it dropped on the people in the front row they asked me if I wanted it back.  Hell No! Leaving a hat trick game with a hat on is a disgrace, so I told them to pass it along the boards for someone else to get it onto the ice.

Eventually it got to a little girl, maybe four or five years old.  Her dad lifted her up to the glass to throw it herself... and she missed.  Try again. missed again, but the third time was the charm.  And by that time the entire section was watching and gave a big cheer for the little girl.

Now, that story doesn't have a lot to do with Teemu, but to quote Dickie Dunn it "captures the spirit of the thing."  On the ice or off, Teemu Selanne is the embodiment of pure hockey joy.