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Teemu Selanne: Forever a Leader

In what was a messy 2011-2012 season Teemu Selanne lead the team in points and into the Bruce Boudreau era.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a disappointing first-round playoff loss to the Nashville Predators expectations were high for a turnaround season. The season started off pretty great for Selanne. The Ducks played seven preseason games and one exhibition game against Jokerit in Helsinki, Finland.

The Ducks opened the season as part of the NHL Premiere in Helsinki, Finland (a tragic 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres) and Stockholm, Sweden (a 2-1 shootout win against the New York Rangers). While overseas the hype was all about Teemu and what many thought would be his last season in the NHL (hahahahaha they were all wrong).

The home opener was a successful 1-0 shutout win over the San Jose Sharks. The Ducks would go on a short win streak earning two points against the Blues and then again against the Sharks in a 3-2 road win. Teemu scored his first two goals of the season against the Sharks, once on the power play in his typical spot below the left circle and then at even strength.

After winning four of their first five games the Ducks' season went downhill. They would finish October with a 5-5-1 record, not horrible but not good either. The next month would be the worst month in recent Ducks history. If there is one image that could describe November, 2011 for the Ducks it would have to be this:

Movember hiller

The Jonas Hiller Movember mask will forever be associated with the worst month of hockey for the Ducks. While the team struggled in the month of November, Selanne managed to play very well earning 5-7-12 over a span of 13 games. He had a two-goal game in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals in the first game of the month, but even Selanne's success couldn't help the Ducks. After earning their first win of the month on Nov. 11 (a 4-3 win over Vancouver), the Ducks would go on a 0-6-1 losing streak. By this time the fans had had enough of the losing and horrible play as depicted below.


Carlyle bag people

Giving up numerous leads through the skid didn't help, and after a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens the Ducks fired head coach Randy Carlyle and hire Bruce Boudreau. November was over, Selanne was still awesome and the Ducks had a new coach. Their record entering the month of December was a terrible 7-13-4 (18 standings points through two months of the season, yikes). Bruce didn't turn the Ducks around overnight. Over the next two games, Selanne scored1-2-3 under before the team won it's first game with the new head coach. Selanne would play a key role in Boudreau's first win as head coach, earning two assists in the game (one of those assists on the game winner in the final minute of play).

Let's take a second and talk about this assist. First of all, Selanne is taking the faceoff which is weird in itself. On his wings he has Saku Koivu and Bobby Ryan. Selanne doesn't even win the draw, but Ryan manages to fight his way to the puck and score oddly from just below the right circle. This was the third of a nine-game point streak for Teemu, and as he would say the ketchup bottle had opened up in the month of December. The highlight of the month came in a Ducks loss, however. Teemu Selanne's first return to Winnipeg was an emotional event. He tallied an assist on the first Ducks goal of the game, and the fans cheered for Selanne every time he touched the puck, and to add emphasis booed all of the rest of the Ducks players.

By the midway point of the season the Ducks had 26 standings points and Selanne had 11 goals and 25 assists (36 points and team lead). On Jan. 6, 2012 - Feb. 29, 2012  the Ducks would go on a complete turnaround. The team went 17-5-4 to rebound its season and join the talk among the bubble teams in the West. Unfortunately, the team could not keep up the momentum and lost a number of games down the stretch of the season (7-9-2), officially eliminating themselves from playoff contention.

Teemu Selanne, however, finished the season with 26 goals (third), 40 assists (second), and 66 points (first) to lead the team. His final goal of the season was the only goal of fan appreciation night (a 2-1 loss to the Oilers), a score that accurately defined the Ducks' season.

Teemu Forever